saw this old lady today. Coming to me as an in-patient, she was Age itself
personified. Or was she Suffering in person ? Well, with so many years behind
her, it hardly made any difference. Perhaps, with advancing years, age and
suffering become confluent-- synonymous, so to speak.
So there she was lying helplessly on the trolley. Pain was writ large on her
face and she begged me to relieve her of the agony it was causing her. It was as
if she was beseeching me to relieve her of life itself; those long, very long
years of treacherous living seemed to be weighing heavily on her stooping, frail
shoulders. She appeared to want that final peace, that ultimate rest which comes
with death itself. But then, as a doctor, as a surgeon to be precise, I have
been taught to fight till the last. This is my Hippocratic oath. Life is
precious. It is a gift from the Lord God Himself, I have been told. Suicide or
abetment of the same is a sin.
Her looks told me that in some distant, misty past she must have been young and
beautiful. She must have been bubbling with lots of hope and enthusiasm with
many a young man wooing her. But this is what all that had come to. This is what
her wonderful life had boiled down to– smelly flesh wrapped around a bunch of
bones, holding the entity precariously with the delicate ribbon of life which
was going to snap any moment.”Oh God, this is what you do to your most
beautiful creation”, I wondered,” what a waste, how utterly meaningless !”
So then, I have the same old questions drilling big, bleeding holes in my soul:
How to solve the riddle of Suffering?
With age, disease and death all around, how can I say it is unreal, a “Mithya”?
O God, do you exist? If yes, where are you ?
And I do not want to sink into the convenient lassitude of mediocre answers.
I want to understand everything in a flash of profound understanding that sears
me through—a zen moment, as it were. No short-cuts. No half-truths.