This is a story from the Mahabharata. (s’Antiparva) bhISma narrated this to dharmarAja yudhisthira.
There was once a lad called mEdhAvI.
After he completed his learning, he asked his father how a mAnava (person), should order his life given that the life of men continuously ebbs away.
His father responded with the traditional structure of brahman’s life : “Having studied Vedas by brahmacharya, having obtained sons to purify one’s ancestors, having performed yagnyas having placed the fire as per the vidhi, he should enter the forest and become a muni”.
Medhavi did not like this answer. When people are being assailed by death and old age on all sides, when death can pounce on anyone like a tiger on an unsuspecting sheep, how can can anyone take a long life for granted and plan for what to do in various stages of life?
He said,” What has to be done tomorrow, do it today. What has to be done in the afternoon, do it in the morning, because mrutyu (death) will not ask you, whether you have completed your work or not completed it”.
He said that death was not a sudden end that stops all life. Death is born with life and just as we are living we are also dying, everyday. A fear of death is a fear of life.
He decided to follow ahimsa, throw out desire and anger, treat pleasure and sorrow equally, become a satyArthI (seeker of truth/reality) and laugh at death till he died. (be unafraid of death).
Both mrtyu (death) and amrtam(non-death/nectar) live in the dEha (body). mOha (attachment/fascination) transforms into death and satya transforms into amrtam.
Therefore, satyavrata-AcAra, satyayOga-parAyaNa – practice the vow and yoga of satya. Chant the agama (veda) of satya. Through satya you will be victorious over the antaka (the one who causes the end – death).
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