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  • Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

The First and the Second Life

When a human being takes birth in this world, it is what you could call his ‘first life’. Without having to make any effort at all, a new-born infant finds that everything that it needs has been carefully arranged for. It has a loving family that cares for it. The world around it is incredibly finely-tuned to make it favorable for it to live. It is enveloped by an amazing life-support system that provides all that it requires for survival. All these things the infant gets without having to do anything at all!

This new living being passes through various stages, and, finally, one day, it dies. Death is not its final end, however. Rather, it is the start of a new journey.

After death, man enters a world where, once again, he is all alone. This time too he is a living, conscious being, but now he has been parted forever from all the many things that he possessed in the world that he came from.

After Death:

Almost no one wants to die. Most people want to live long, till a ripe old age. Yet, everyone has to die some day or the other. We all want to set off on a long journey, to travel to somewhere really far-off, but before we reach our hoped-for destination death stops us in our tracks and carries us away.

Why does this happen? Why is it that we want to live long, but yet death arrives, suddenly and without our permission, and blots out all our dreams? Every person has definitely asked himself or herself this question and has tried to find an answer to it. We all want to know why we have to die. We all seek answers to existential questions about life and death.

We can get some clues about the answers to these questions from modern scientific discoveries about DNA. Every person has a certain DNA. Your DNA is a complete encyclopedia of your personality. It contains information about many things, big and small, related to your personality. If you decode this DNA, you will find that it is much bigger than the most voluminous encyclopedia.

Yet, intriguingly, the DNA does not contain information about one major aspect of our personality. If you study someone’s DNA, you can get an idea of everything about him except for one thing. And this one thing is when precisely this person will die.

This, then, is nature’s announcement to the effect that man is an eternal creature, a creature that will never die. Man has eternal life. Death does not put an end to him.

Among all living beings, it is only man who has a conception of ‘tomorrow’. Animals live only in the present moment, in ‘today’. No animal has a conception of ‘tomorrow’. Because they have a limited or lower-level consciousness, animals are born in ‘today’ and they also die in the same state. But man is an exceptional creature in this regard. He is the only creature who has an understanding of ‘tomorrow’.

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