A man jumped off the 114th story of the Empire State Building in New York City claiming that he would survive the fall. As he hurtled by each floor people inside could hear him say, "So far so good! So far so good!"
It is unfortunate that many people think they're going to live forever - only awakening to their mortality after the age of 45 when arthritis and serious debilitating illnesses such as heart disease set in. It is usually only then that people start wondering what life is all about - whether they have missed something, whether any of the things they had really strived for and achieved were really worth it. The recent earthquake at Gujarat awakened millions of people to the intrinsic hollowness of life's achievements. In December 1997, a Silk Air Boeing 737-300 suddenly exploded in midair. All 104 passengers aboard died in the disaster. The irony was that a famous book author who was aboard the flight - Bonnie Hicks - had just written an article in the Sunday Times at Singapore on the recent death of her grandmother. "The brevity of life cannot be over emphasized," she wrote. "I cannot take for granted that time is on my side, because it is not. Granny's death has put that sharply into focus." Shortly after, Bonny Hicks boarded the ill-fated Silk Air flight! Such incidents happen everywhere. No one is truly safe - however advanced the technology and safety procedures being taken. For instance, the Alliance Airlines crash in India took the lives of nearly 60 people. Their deaths were blamed on the age of the plane or a failing of the pilot or airport staff to adhere to basic safety procedures. Then, a few days later, the most advanced commercial aircraft in the world with the most stringent of safety regulations - Concorde - caught fire and crashed into a hotel in France, killing all of its 113 millionaire passengers! What do we conclude? At billionaire fashion designer Gianni Versace's funeral, Princess Diana cried profusely. A few days later, she herself died in a terrible car accident. At the hospital, doctors tried for two hours to save her life. But her time was up. Surrounded by the most advanced medical facilities in the world or even a thousand doctors, one will still have to go. By hook or by crook everybody has to go. Even a doctor has to go. This is the way of the universe. The Romans thought their empire was invincible, therefore they named it Roma Eterna - "Eternal Rome". But today it exists no more. The British built New Delhi thinking they would be here for another thousand years. But they had to leave and return home. Says Bhagwan Swaminarayan, "One day even this Earth shall be no longer. The Sun will be no longer; nor will there be a record that they ever existed." This is the sealed fate of absolutely everything in the universe. In fact one day, even the universe will be no longer.
But, if one has led a life of goodness and philanthropy, one has no need to fear death. In fact, one can welcome it, because one will be making a transition to a higher, eternal place in God's lap. So, let's live our lives in such a way and make it as pleasant as we can for others so that they will remember for years afterwards? And what have we to lose in doing so? We brought nothing with us when we came, and we won't take a single penny with us when we leave. In fact, we will all leave a little extra behind. An ill-mannered and selfish person refused to vacate a seat for a disabled traveler aboard a bus. When the ill-natured passenger finally disembarked, the conductor called behind him, "Sir, you've left something behind." "What?" asked the man turning around. "A bad impression," replied the conductor.
Said Sant Kabir, "When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.".