Do you donate clothes or food to the poor?
Who is the friend of a diseased person?
Yaksha posed this question to Dharamraja, to which he replied: “Only a doctor can be a genuine friend of a diseased man.” It is needed that the patient has faith on the doctor, for disease to fade away. Initially, family doctors were in demand and they used to have a deep bond with every member of the family. Due to the faith developed in the course of interaction, treating patients would become a play for the doctor. Today we no longer see family doctors. Medical students clear their examinations, excelling in a specific field of Medical science like pediatrics, ENT, cardiology, etc. Patients address specific problems and treat it by consulting its respective doctors. The drawback following this approach is discontentment. People keep wandering in search of the best doctor to cure their disease. Many times, we aren’t able to instill faith on the doctor for two reasons:
1) Our mind is bombarded with too many choices of doctors, some recommended by friends and relatives and some through own research. Too many doctors are enlisted, which eventually sets our mind on an endless search.
2) We keep eying the result. We expect instant results without co-operating with the doctor. The faith on the doctor and the faith on his treatment and medicines are inspected by the glass of suspicion, by us. Hence, our faith on doctors has reduced dramatically due the onslaught of modern-day approach and lifestyle.
There are some people who’re dissatisfied with the treatment because the intake of medicines has reduced compared to his previous treatment. Moreover, people, exponentially grow skeptical about the doctor when he claims that they have no apparent disease. Today, people want to be diagnosed with some disease to accomplish their visit to the clinic. But, we must pause and ponder whether it is really nice to have disease or stay healthy, devoid of disease? Instead of being at ease with the news of good health, people start criticizing doctors for not having diagnosed the disease. But, what can doctors do if there is no disease?
There are complex patients who appreciate their deteriorating health condition because they expect to gain respect from others. But, such a wild imagination vanishes without leaving trace, when reality strikes them. Seeking respect is a far-fetched dream. People end up disowning the diseased and even relatives refuse to render service. This is the most grievous experience and therefore nobody should engage in petty desires (of attention seeking) at the time of disease. Instead one must focus on recovering and not display laziness when asked to take various scans, and blood test reports. Only faith on the treatment yields good health. If we keep this in mind, surely the disease shall disappear.
The deeper significance of this supposedly known answer is Bhagawan. Doctors are many due to the existence of multiple diseases. But, death is perceived as disease by many and therefore the only doctor specialized in this field is, none other than Sri Narayan Hari Bhagawan. We consult doctors to continue living on the material planet, while Bhagwan is the only doctor who helps transcend the material plane of existence and graduate to the spiritual domain. This doctor, unlike the rest helps us sail through the inevitable life process, death.
Bhagawan is the Supreme doctor
We can grasp the position of Bhagawan as a doctor better by reading Kulashekhar Alwar’s poushukam which says: “A patient reaches the peaks of surrender while undergoing a surgery. The doctor cuts open his stomach, blood flows out and he himself is in a drowsy state, yet he does not object the doctor. A doctor is given respect for cutting open the stomach while a criminal is sentenced imprisonment if he partners bloodshed. Similarly, I am the patient and You (Bhagawan) are my doctor. Just like the patient surrenders, I have relinquished all complaints issued, regarded my life-situations. You might rip all my parts and blood oozes, but I know for certain that you are the revered doctor who saves life and not a criminal who takes away life. You do it all for my good alone. I cannot doubt your intentions.”
Further, Namalvar describes that Bhagawan is the only doctor for the disease of material existence. He might test us in every life-situation, by posing obstacles and unpleasant situations. But we must hold tight the rope of faith and never doubt His intentions. Everything is a process. Suffering is also one of the step stones to realize the futility of life. This symptom makes it easy for Bhagawan to cure us. Therefore, developing distaste for the world is one symptom by which we can approach Bhagawan as a doctor. Kapila Mahamuni also describes the suffering of material existence and the necessity of spirituality.
Who is the friend of a dying person?
What difference will it make for a dying person, if he has a friend or not? He is bound to leave his body, friends and relatives. But, to this Yuddhistira, replied: “Daana or Charity is the friend of a dying person.” Charity attracts Punya or Good Karma. After death the soul sojourns in Punya Loka, owing to his good Karma and the possibility of returning back to Earth increases. It is said that ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’. But, at the time of death all friends fail to keep up their friendship and the soul travels alone. The Shastras point out charity as the ideal friend of a dying person, because, it counts as good karma, thereby helping the person progress by granting him/her a suitable body.
Charity comes along with the soul
When we go to our neighbor’s house we wear our slippers. When we go to the market, we wear our slippers plus we carry cash to purchase goodies. But, when going for vacations, we additionally carry luggage. Our load keeps increasing when travelling to farther places on Earth. When we shift to a new residence, we almost carry the entire house with us. In, the longest journey, which neither from our neighborhood to the market nor from one country to another, but from Earth to other lokas, we carry nothing unless we donate selflessly. Based on our good and bad deeds, we are sent to specific lokas. Good deeds reserve our stay in lokas like Swarga loka (heaven) while bad deeds attract suffering in Pataal loka (hellish planet).
Only in this journey, instead of carrying articles with us, we end up discarding our body itself. So, the Shastras suggest Daana Dharma. Not only it accompanies us after death, but it also grants us a suitable body for subsequent lifetimes.
Daana Dharma in spiritual context
It is simply understood that Daan is a Dharma (or a fundamental principle) to live a peaceful life. Dharma relates to Varnashrama Dharma. Varnashrama Dharma grants purity of intention and thought to the practitioner. By following it we get purified at the mental and physical platforms. With this purified mind and body one can engage in spiritual activities or Upasana. By doing upasana we further purify our mind from its impurities and flood it with Pure Knowledge (Jnana) and Spiritual Emotions (Bhakti). These clubbed up together pave our way out of this body and sets us on the Archaradi Margam (or the path leading to Vaikunta, spiritual world). Thus, Daana Dharma is the step stone of spirituality.
However, people procrastinate Daana by assigning it as a task to be met at the time of death and this is the greatest prank that people play on themselves. Without practicing Daana early in life, it is impossible to donate when one is on his/her death bed. In fact, this is the most difficult thing to do at the time of death as one is unable to accept death as the ultimate reality. Even when confronting death, one has the false ray of hope that again, this time I might survive. This notion itself indicates that one will never selflessly donate as acceptance of death, or impermanence is nil. We attach emotions on our house, spouse, children, friends, etc. and thus fail to look at the other side of life as we are in the tight clasp of attachment. Thus, Daana is not a ritual to be performed on deathbed. It must be practiced from childhood if possible. We cannot keep Daana for the future as our own attachment stands as a roadblock towards the path of our well-being. What we followed throughout our life, comes to fruition at the time of death.