Meditation on Death

by Haridhama dasa

(from Sept. 1981 Issue of the Brijabasi Spirit)

Today, while walking, chanting,
a leaf, recently fallen,
wafted by a gentle breeze,
drifted across my path.
Red, golden, sepia hues
nearly glowing…
I thought, ‘Ah, there’s beauty
even in death.’
Walking on, sometimes chanting,
sometimes thinking,
death on my mind…
sunlight twinkling through the trees,
splashing me with warm rays of light,
brilliant yellow flowers
beckoning my vision from the roadside…
then a cold breeze comes, momentarily
bursting my bubble of pleasure.
I think, ‘Maya is so subtle…
this tissue of lies-not lies,
but not what we think it is…
Death nearby, His cold hand
on the shoulders of those
who know him not.
His face, pale and grim,
staring with glazed eyes
at those who serve Him
Walked a little further,
thinking like this.
A big German shepherd
leaps from the shadows,
eyes blazing, teeth gnashing–
Remembering Prabhupada,
I said, ‘Hut! Hut!’
He barked, looked bewildered,
then went away,
his attention drawn elsewhere.
Death is waiting in the shadows,
unseen by the fools.
Yudhisthira said
“It’s the most wonderful thing, everyone is dying, but it is not for me.”
There’s no beauty in death
for the worldly.
Beauty awaits only those
who remember Krishna
Prabhupada once said,
“For the devotee,
death is like going to sleep
and when he wakes up,
there are Radha and Krishna,

tvayi me’nanya-visaya
matir madhu-pate ‘sakrt
ratim udvahafad addha
gangevaugham undanvati

‘O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges forever flows to the sea, without hindrance let my attraction be constantly drawn unto You without being diverted to anyone else.’S.B.I.8.42,

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Reader Comments

Thanks for posting this. I printed it out to show my kids. Browsing this site has brought back a lot of sweet memories.

Is that you, Haridham?

Yes, O Holy Ghosh!

So nice to hear from you. Been a long time.

If you have any memories of Old New Vrinadaban you would want to share, please do so.

Do you even remember writing that poem? That was a long time ago.

I remember writing it, but not the details. The walk from Bahulaban to Old Nandagram was always interesting, with the ever-threatening dogs, the delightful stench of the pig farm, and the dive-bombing mother bird that would go into attack mode as soon as anyone got within 50 yards of her nest.