Saturday, May 3, 2014


                          The jack fruit tree (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a large, gorgeous evergreen tree with smooth, shiny, glossy, oval, leathery, and dark green leaves. Jack fruit is the largest edible tree-grown fruit in the world. The fruits are very popular in India and throughout South East Asia. Its flesh has a fine flavour resembling a combination of apple, pineapple, mango and banana.

                          The evergreen leaves of a young jack fruit tree lived in harmony till one of the leaves showed signs of changing its colour. Its colour slowly changed to golden yellow. It did not realize that the change was a result of withering, a symptom of inevitable aging. But the foolish leaf became boastful and told the green leaves that its golden hue was a special sign of its superior status. But some of the more intelligent green leaves observed the withered and dried leaves lying at the bottom of the neighbouring trees and concluded that the colour of the haughty leaf was an indication of an impending fall. They conveyed the message to the golden leaf but it was blind with pride and laughed at the other leaves.

                          One day, during a stormy night, the leaves trembled with the wind. The golden leaf lost its link with the tree and fell down helplessly. It was carried by the wind and it landed at the base of the tree. Lying there, it looked at the young, healthy and green leaves on the tree. The leaves appeared to dance in delight, possibly laughing at him, seeing his fatal fall. The withered leaf sadly withdrew into itself, silently accepting its final fate. It was slowly disintegrated in the soil to become manure for the tree.

                          King Philip of Macedonia had appointed a servant in his palace, with the duty to meet him every morning and greet him with the words, “Philip, remember that you must die.”

                         'Death' is the Damocles' sword for all mortals. Death often appears unexpectedly. At every moment of life, we must be prepared for this impending end. Life is short and all worldly riches and luxury have to be left behind when we die. They give only a temporary joy. Sinful indulgence in worldly pleasures may lead to everlasting agony in a hell of horror.

                          Death is the universal equalizer. Everyone is equal before death as death comes to all - great and small.

                          At his deathbed, Alexander the Great instructed his close associates to leave his hands hanging free on either side of the coffin during his royal funeral procession. That was to teach the world that he could carry nothing with him on his final journey.

                          We fail to realize this truth till we reach the last moments in life. We waste a major share of our time, health and energy to amass fame, wealth and glory. Let us save our riches in heaven.

                           There is a meaningful hymn sung at the home of the dead during the funeral rites of the Syro-Malabar Catholic church. In Malayalam, the words are:
“Maranam varumoru naal; Orkkuka marthya nee.
Koode porum nin, jeevitha cheythikalum.
Salkrithyangal cheyyuka nee, alasatha koodathe.”
The hymn may be translated as follows and sung in the same tune:
“Death will reach you once,
Bear in mind, mortals.
Actions done by you
Come along with you.
Do good deeds and be ready
Do not be lazy.”

                           Man’s way leads to a hopeless end while God’s way leads to an endless hope. Let us plan ahead for the unavoidable departure from this world.

© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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