it is said in ayurvedic scriptures that a person's life is like a brass oil lamp. gee. what does that mean? you see, when a brass lamp is sparkled and shiny it is the metaphor of a strong and clean human body. melted butter is the pure nourishment that is being fed into the body regularly with moderation. the wicks are the organs, systems and tissues that digest the nutrients and turns them into forms that the body can assimilate. together they create the vessel in which the life force blazes. the lamp burns high and bright until the oil runs out. meanwhile great care is taken to keep the wick standing tall, remove particles of dirt and ash from the melted ghee. and this is the way how a person lives his/her life. a clean, simple and full way. only then the person lives life with a natural force that is filled with peace and joy. when oil runs out the flame goes out quickly and quietly. therefore, as far as i know, in all ancient traditions, jewish, chinese, indian, one thing is agreed. it is a sign of great blessedness in a person who dies in his sleep. in fact, rabbi abraham joshua heschel, a universally respected and admired teacher, passed away during sabbath in his sleep. now, that is going out in sublime style. why am i going on and on about all this? my step-father, as i type this, is lying in hospital, in his final days. we discovered him in coma the morning after we had dinner together. i prepared him a plate of food. as always, he ate in quiet. now as i look back i did recognize a tiny signal. he was kind of subdued. given this was the first time i have seen him in over a year because we live a pacific ocean apart, i thought he was a little less excited that i expected him to be. so what did i do? i just let go of the expectation and enjoyed the dinner, enjoyed being with him. less than twenty hours later, i walked through the door. i saw his face before my mother said a word. honest to god and my innermost and highest self, i took a glance over his face as he was lying on his bed i felt this message within me. HE HAS NO WRINKLES. HE LOOKS YOUNGER. HE IS GONE. soon i recall my sister's face as i dressed her body for funeral. the same thing. SHE HAS NO WRINKLES. SHE LOOKS YOUNGER. SHE IS GONE.
indeed. when the flame of life force has gone out, the brass lamp body looks the same. yet something is different. the light is no more. and this is what death really is. the light of life has moved on.