- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
The Reality of the Present World
If you are an employee of the government and you take long leave without approval, the government has the right to term this as what is called ‘break in service’. It will cause you to lose your seniority. In fact, you might even be demoted to the same position where you started off from when you joined government service. A break in service is a separation from employment status.
The same principle applies, but on a wider scale, in the case of every human being. This general principle can be called ‘break in history’. In other words, your ‘history’—your life in this world—is, one day or the other, going to come to a complete stop. The ‘history’ that you have brought into being through all your many actions while you were in this world will suddenly come to an end with your death.
In this world, each one of us stands on the foundations of this ‘history’ that we have constructed for ourselves. We all avail of different resources and opportunities— in the form of family, wealth, friends, fame, influence, power and so on—which we use to construct our own individual ‘histories’. This ‘history’ that we create for ourselves establishes our identities, through which we know ourselves and others know us. Each of us is engaged throughout our life in efforts to build up our own ‘history’, the basis on which our sense of our identity rests.
Yet, none of us gets to remain living in our ‘history’ for too long. Within a hundred years or so, death suddenly arrives and whisks us away. Death is a decision that cannot be revoked. It separates us from our predeath period and takes us into the post-death period of our lives. In this sense, death can be said to mark a ‘break’ in our ‘history’.
In this world, we spend all our energies trying to build a little world of our own, a world of our many hopes and desires. All of us are living in these little worlds that we have ourselves constructed, till death carries us away. Death forces us to leave our worlds behind and takes us into a different world, a world for which we may not have made any preparations at all. Behind us is the world we have left for good, and in front of us is an endless world, which we may not have been at all prepared for.
The pre-death period is for every one of us the opportunity to prepare for the eternal life that is to come after death. If you spend this opportunity simply on worldly pleasures and in accumulating material wealth, you will have to spend the post-death period of life in complete deprivation. Death is bound to separate you from your pre-death ‘history’—all the worldly things and name and fame that you had accumulated.
How tragic it is that people are wasting the precious opportunities that they have today to shape their ‘history’ in a manner that could help them after they die! How terrible will that deprivation be that people who have wasted these opportunities will face one day, and which they will not be able to save themselves from!
Source: Reflections on Life & Death