Nigeria: The Enigma That Is Death

opinion

There have been so many deaths in the land in recent times. These must naturally necessitate questions being asked. I must hasten to separate the deaths into different categories. There are deaths which are natural; there are deaths that occur through illness, some through upheavals or violence; there are deaths caused by disasters such as floods, earthquakes, cyclone, landslide, hurricane or tornados. There are those brought about through bloodletting, murder or through suicide. A 400-level student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, for example, with the prospect of making first class, has been reported to have committed suicide. The latter three are being excluded from the discourse for now.

It suffices to say those who are involved have heaped so much burden on themselves such that upon their eyes being opened in the Beyond, they would regret they were ever born. It is thousands of years of torment. Even if they were now to come to recognition of their guilt and the harm they have brought on themselves, the time for atonement shortens by the day. In the time in which we are, it is revealed in higher knowledge available on earth today that it is now either, or; salvation or damnation! It is a subject for another day. I am concerned more today with death which occurs naturally, through old age or through one form of illness or the other.

Some of such deaths have been in public domain, involving prominent and not so prominent persons. Newspapers are filled with reports of such deaths through obituary announcements.What is death? Death is when a person discards his earthly body, which we may also call cloak or garment. The soul that bears the body then returns to its nativeland, the Beyond and later the real man, after a long or shorter time in the Beyond depending on the intensity of his longing for the Light, his pace of development towards maturity and self-consciousness, the spirit radiant and beautiful human form, heads for his homeland, the proverbial Paradise, the Realm of Light. By the time he is heading home in Paradise, it is expected that he would have shed finer coverings around him that make him soul in the planes to which these coverings belong. They are bodies of these other planes for manifestation thereon. Each of the bodies carry their own sense organs--to see, hear and speak. The spirit, the real man, carries the organs as well to be able to function and swing in joyful activities in Paradise. Indeed, being the only living entity in man, the only one that bears life, that animates the soul in the Beyond and our body on earth is the spirit.

Now back to the beginning: A typical scene in the chamber of death, using hospital as an example? Doctors, their faces drawn and feeling defeated, walk in and announce to relations who have been waiting with baited breath: "We have lost him." The relations burst into tears, wailing. One of the relations, says the daughter or the wife throws herself against the wall. Another is rolling on the floor. They have lost a very dear one. Friends and acquaintances lament that the vacuum his death has created will be difficult to fill. His loss is irreparable.

The foregoing is a reconstruction of a common scene in our hospitals. More than anything else, of note and significance to this column is the obituary by the doctors who throw up their hands in resignation: "We have lost him." He was the man wheeled into the theatre and over whom doctors had battled for eight hours--tests here, observation there, injection here, surgery there. And he looked determined to live.

Familiarly, announcement on funeral arrangement will say: "His remains will be taken to his hometown at 9:00 a.m. and those wishing to join the convoy should be at Seven -Up, old Toll Gate area at 8:00 a.m. Burial will be 2:00 p.m." The questions we may ask are: Whose remains? Remains of what? The living themselves talk about 'my body', the crucial word being the possessive pronoun, "My", "My body" means the body that belongs to me. Who is the "me?" The doctors announced that they had lost him. Whom have they lost, after all, the body over which they had battled for eight hours lies on the stretcher right before them? The doctors certainly realize that something has left the body on which they had been working and it is no longer necessary to continue to work. What has departed is the "him" the doctors say they have lost , the animating core, the real man in a person who can be seen standing aside by one who whose inner gaze may have opened to behold him. He is out of the body, battling the doctors to drop their knives, unable to bear seeing them plunge these knives into his body in an attempt to certify him dead.

At first , the doctors don't feel his presence; they don't even realize that he stands there battling to remove the knives from their hands. Suddenly they sense something. It is inexplicable. They see nothing; they don't see anybody, Yet, they drop the knives one after the other. The doctor with some inner richness among his colleagues' experience some feeling he cannot explain, sometimes bordering on fear. He drops the knife and leaves the theatre!

The departed himself does not realize that he has left the earth. He looks at himself and finds he is alive, same person, same look. He then moves to his wailing relatives to convince them that he is alive and urges them to stop weeping and punishing themselves. He sees his friends streaming in shocked, and dejected at his passing. He tries to reach them, too, but they are oblivious of his presence. Perplexed, he makes a strenuous effort to re-enter the earthly body he has laid aside, which only goes to prolong death struggle. He sees everyone around him, relations, friends, and hears their comments. He is able to read their thoughts even before these thoughts become statements. He sees the pretenses of friends and relations who pass unsavory remarks about him. On the day of his burial, he follows his body, sitting on the coffin until it is laid in the grave and covered up.

I have gone this far to demonstrate that life continues after life on earth. A person who is murdered, if he is not yet sufficiently mature, awaits when his murderer would depart this earth, if he has not already started to appear before him in dreams to torment him! The mature one, who has attained a certain level of spiritual maturity leaves the killer for the automatic mechanism governing life to take charge while he makes progress in his ascent! It should go without saying, therefore, that the first duty of all of us human beings is to seek knowledge of life and existence!

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