The picture captures a poignant moment of truth. The two persons are holding a lump of matter which once was thought to be Nitai Das. Any sane individual has to admit Nitai Das at the end of the day cannot be that what is shown in that picture- lump of ash? Unfortunately, modern science has convinced every one that ultimately we are that matter!
The picture was taken in Mayapur this month. The two individuals are holding the final remains of Nitai Das who died in a car accident this month in Florida. He was 31 years old. The final remains is the ash left over after the body was burnt. The two individuals are going to immerse the final remains into the sacred river Ganga. This is a traditional custom for people following Vedic culture. This is the most auspicious and spiritual act one can do to a departed soul. Nitai Das is very fortunate that his own spiritual master is performing his last rites.
While my deepest condolences go to the family, at this moment we have to be grave and philosophical. Every one of us, one day, will have to die and leave this body and that means we have to leave behind our money, house, car, spouse, children, grandchildren, jobs, everything. What we have worked so hard all our life, at the end, we have to just drop everything and move to our next destination and start from scratch. This is the law of nature. No one is exempt from it. Yet, when great souls such as Srila Prabhupada try to preach this truth, people think it is not important. More important for people is to settle in life, and increase one's wealth and social prestige and not worry about what happens after death!
Death always has the last laugh. However that statement is true only for individuals who are material minded. But for devotees of Krishna such as Nitai Das, death actually is an elevating moment. At death Krishna surely remembers His devotees and this bond between Krishna and devotees gives the devotees the strength to face life and also death with an open heart, never discouraged and always happy.
Vaishnavas never lose in life or in death as this famous poem reads;
He reasons ill who says that Vaishnavas die,
When thou art living still in sound!
The Vaishnavas die to live, and living try
To spread the holy name around.
By Srila Bhaktivinod Takur - saint, philosopher and poet - 19th century
The glories of a Vaishnava are unlimited. The glories of Krishna are unlimited.