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Literature - 12 October, 2020

‘Preparing For Death’: Arun Shourie’s latest guides to dying peacefully

‘Preparing For Death’: Arun Shourie’s latest guides to dying peacefully

The one certainty in life, the one appointment which everyone will face, is the one for which we do the least to prepare — death. A new book by writer Arun Shourie takes a cue from major religions, philosophy, and the spiritual train of thought to help people face their end with equanimity.

The book, aptly titled Preparing For Death, is studded with insights, novel interpretations, practical suggestions and ways to attain “peaceful dissolution of our minds” at the moment of dying. It will hit the stands this month, announced publishing house Penguin Random House India.

“Death is a perennially current subject! And given the current circumstances — a million have died from Covid-19 in just ten months — it is currently a very current subject. There are facts in the book which most of us would not know about. There are some interpretations which are new: for instance, like some others, I feel that ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead’, is actually for us who are living,” Shourie told PTI.

Shourie, 78, who has worn multiple hats — editor, economist, politician and author — with equal ease is well-known for his intellectual prowess on a wide range of issues.

After studying spiritual traditions for three-four decades now, his latest book is a continuation of some of his earlier works — especially of Does He Know A Mother’s Heart: How Suffering Refutes Religion and Two Saints: Speculations Around and About Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharishi.

For the book, he picks incidents from the final days of the Buddha, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharshi, Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave, along with teachings from religious texts and great meditation masters. He also lays down what one must do “if rituals, pilgrimages and mantras are to help us”.

“Every chapter, every instance contains practical lessons. I have also summarised some of the teachings on meditation which I have found useful, which, in fact, helped me when I was in ICU a few months ago,” he added.

Shourie was hospitalised on December 1, last year after he suffered a head injury while out on a walk near his home in Lavasa, Maharashtra.