Did you know that in India, in a place called Kashi or Varanasi are 3 Guest Houses of Death! It’s a place where dying guests are promised freedom for their souls.
In Hindu tradition, it’s believed that irrespective of how you have lived, if you leave your mortal coil in that town, you bear “the fruit of Kashi” or moksha, in other words, salvation; meaning you are released from the cycle of rebirth and as a result, your karma.
Hindu tradition is rooted in the laws of karma i.e. you shall reap what you sow. Hindus believe a person builds up karma or a culmination of deeds during their lifetime. Karma can be good or bad, and it affects your future lives.
Believers and tourists alike, from the world over, want to touch the soil here and bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganga, also known as the Ganges River, in an act of purification.
For the curious, there are a few guesthouses for those awaiting their death in this town which have been established over 100 plus years ago. The well-known ones are Kashi Labh Mukti Bhawan, Mumukshu Bhawan, and Ganga Labh Bhawan.
People check in to die here. And, each of these guesthouses is managed by a manager who has seen thousands check in here and die, irrespective of whether they were rich or poor. Guests check-in and wait, wait to die, and find peace, their salvation.
Many of these guests and the managers who have seen several thousands die here, have been interviewed to understand their feelings and thoughts as they prepare for their final journey and a few themes stand out that can teach the living a lesson or two, on how to conduct your life so you don’t regret anything in your final days.
Here are a few takeaways:
- Resolve all conflicts before you go — No grudges are worth holding on to as they take a toll on you as much, if not more than those you hold them against. You tend to suffer from the bitterness you hold more than the ones you hold against. Better to let go and live peacefully.
- A simple life is the best way to live — There is no better way than living simply and with sparse possessions. The more you accumulate, the more you have to manage. The more you manage, the more stressed you are. Needs are elastic, it’s up to you how much you create. For those in pursuit of contentment, less is the secret to having more.
- Don’t ignore others, ignore the bad traits in them — All of us have the good, bad, and ugly sides of our personalities. Don’t hate bad people, hate the badness in people. Help them get rid of their bad qualities. Focus on their goodness and help them grow in that angle. Eventually, you will love them more for who they are.
- Never hesitate to ask for help when you need it — Always be willing to help others and ask for help when you need it. You may feel invincible when in control, but there are possibilities you may be blind to unless you allow others to help you.
- Beauty lies in simple things — Stop and smell the roses, as they say. Growth is always not about being the biggest, strongest, or the fastest. It’s about stopping to take a breath and observing to find beauty where others do not see it. Joy is inherent in small things, things that we often take for granted.
- Learn to accept things for what they are — Accept what you are experiencing. Don’t deny yourself the experience of your emotions. Acceptance leads to freedom which relieves stress and helps you act productively to tackle any situation you are in. Solutions are best sought with a free mind. Become victorious over stress and anxiety to find rationality.
- Treat everyone equally — All men and women are made equal. Live by this principle and you will be served well. Complexity is so easy to manage when you melt the walls between people.
- Find your purpose and act on it — To search for and find your purpose helps you find the reason for your existence. But, its only worth it when you take action based on your purpose. Dedicate time and effort to act on what truly matters and make a difference in your own life and those of others.
- Habits become values — Cultivate good habits so you enshrine good values. And this happens when you nurture good habits time and again, over time through conscious practice.
- Make wise choices in what to learn, absorb, and take action on — Knowledge abounds all around us and you may be inundated by it. Seek your interests out and choose what to learn, where and from whom. Be mindful of your choices and the progress you make. Delve deeper in what your heart and mind rejoice in for there lies true happiness and fulfillment.
- Don’t distance yourself from others but from the negativity, they may harbor — When you do not agree with something, do not distance yourself from such people. Be open to discuss, deliberate, and help get them on the right track. It helps you as well as them. It frees you up from being bitter as well.
- Carve out a portion of your earnings for doing good to others — Charity starts with you and in your home. More than what you give, you gain tremendously from it, in terms of peace of mind and a joyful heart through the ability to make a difference. Empathy breeds more of it and we all know how much the world needs this. After all, what you need in a fulfilled life is the companionship of loved ones, blessings of unknown strangers, and an aura of goodwill surrounding us all around.