Poetry is the language, which leads to Life

“Keep me not in the Darkness (of Ignorance), but lead me towards the Light (of Spiritual Knowledge),
Keep me not in the (Fear of) Death (due to the bondage of the Mortal World), but lead me towards the Immortality (gained by the Knowledge of the Immortal Self beyond Death)”.
The philosophy of indigenous people involved the understanding of life, death, and life beyond death. There were two elements which disturbed them from the very beginning. One was ‘death’ and the other ‘diseases’. It was very difficult for them to understand death but to understand death caused by disease was even more challenging.
They tried to handle both situations in their own way. It was not easy for man so closely related to nature to fathom death as the end of life. That is the reason why the tribal people never accepted death. They believed that dead people disappeared from the earth for a short while only to return later.
We can see a beautiful prayer of a native American Crowfoot (black foot), regarding life
“What is life?
Is it a flesh of firefly in the night?
Is it the breath of a buffalo in the winter night?
It is a little shadow which runs across the grass
And loses itself in the sunlight.”

Atharvaveda expresses the thoughts of the common man. That is why aspects like death, marriage, childbirth etc. are explained in this book.The Rig-Veda and the Atharvaveda narrated the story of the love between Yama and Yami which shows the connection between love, life, and death. It is believed that Yama was the first man who had gone to heaven to take care of the dead. That is why ceremonies conducted after death emphasised on the offering of sweets and sesame seeds to the dead souls.
In the 8th chapter of Atharvaveda, there is a very interesting hymn in which the prayer starts with praising death but towards the end, the seer is seen praying for the well-being of the patient and wanting him to be saved from death.

“Oh, Death!
The end of life salutes you
But this man strong   
His Prana Apan dwells in you
This earth where the sun shines
Is the place for him
Oh man!
Let your strength and intelligence
Your mind and life
Stay here
We shall remove your black luck
With the power of our words.”

with best wishes

Rati Saxena


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