The urn is heavy as I attempt to tip it over the parapet of the bridge. The ash flies out of it in spurts. I am scared I will drop it, and hand it back quickly. I watch bits of the ash catch the light and glint like graphite. It falls and merges with the swift flowing water beneath. Element joining element.
This is it. This is where we all end. Whether in soil or in water, in fire or in ether.
All of a person’s life; his joys, his sorrows, his upheavals,his successes are contained in this urn. And once emptied, the urn is cast aside. Life continues. Yet one has just ended.
A circle that carries on ad infinitum.
We head to the temple to pray for the departed soul. Later, the lunch that is served is simple but nutritious. The priest ticks my daughter off for letting the scarf slide off her head. She is nine. All at once, I am in the moment, ready to challenge his pugnacious authority. I check myself. This too shall pass.
The evening prayers are held in a different temple. We are in a small antechamber. I lean back against the wall, and let the priest’s melodious voice wash over me. The Shabd are beautiful. They talk of life, of life hereafter, of being in the service of God, and accepting His will. A calm descends upon me. With a certainty, the origin of which I cannot determine, I know that all is well. Our time on earth, limited as it is, is a very small part of a very long journey. Someday, I will meld into the unknown too. The thought doesn’t frighten me anymore.
I bid a silent adieu to the departed one, and in my heart, create a special corner that will house all the memories that made his time on Earth special to us. That is his legacy. One that I am glad to be a recipient of.