The gift of life is to be used to serve

The gift of life is to be used to serve

By DAVINDER P.S. SANDHU | 26 November, 2017

Between 998 AD and 1030 AD, Mahmud of Ghazni gathered an empire, based on cruelty, and plunder and loot. His influence extended from Kandahar to Central Indian sub-continent.

He ultimately died of malaria and tuberculosis, a sick and troubled soul. His kingdom faced a bleak future, as his two sons were defeated in battles with Turkic invaders from Central Asian tribes. When he heard news of the lost battles, he ordered his entire plundered wealth laid out in the field. For a whole day, he inspected the ill-gotten treasures from his chariot. He alternated between happiness at seeing the riches, and grief that this may be lost soon to invading armies, and that he may soon die from his illness, and be separated from the treasure.

That night, he suffered a terrible nightmare. He was still on a chariot, and a very high one. But as far as his eye could see, the treasure had been replaced by a sea of people. He saw rotting bodies, and wounded people crying. Their hands wanted to reach out to him, and he rode about trying to evade being smeared with blood.

On waking, he called for the scribe, and asked that instead of his will, the wasihatnama, he would like to leave a guidance note, a pandhnama. After his death, his hands should be left outside the shroud, and the pandhnama be read aloud:

See my hands as I leave:// I go empty handed, even as my hands were drenched in blood.// My hands curse me:// I could have used them better in my four days of life.// Curse me, and learn from me.

Life is a gift to be used well, in service of others, and in moving on His path. Saint Kabir reminds us thus in the Guru Granth Sahib:

Kabeer, this body shall perish; save it, if you can.// Even those who have tens of thousands and millions, must depart bare-footed in the end.

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