The word ‘Life’ connotes activeness and consciousness. When a seed germinates, we say it has life; otherwise, it is dead. The absence of life in an organism or part of it is referred as death. When a branch of a tree might be dead while the tree remains alive. A person can be alive physically with the heart beating, but the brain remains dead. Any life comes to an end through natural and unnatural ways. When a person dies of old age or poor health, it is a natural event. If he dies by the strike of thunderbolt, it is unnatural. The latter is also known as untimely death. Whatever be, death is the destiny and inescapable as well. Death happens in many unimaginable ways like war, accident, disease, and natural calamities. Nevertheless, death plays a vital role in Nature’s scheme of things. There are many reasons to justify it. The important ones are presented here.
1) Paucity of resources: Imagine a situation of Earth when no death takes place but birth alone. There will be a shortage of land, water, and all other things required for maintaining the bulging population. Chaos will rule the scene through the ever-growing conflicts and competitions for sharing the limited materials. All sorts of crimes and malpractices would emerge decimating the law and order.
2) Renewal: Like changing the old cloth with a new one, death provides a lease of life to the soul that supposedly enters a new body. In case there is no death, a soul remains in the same body that becomes weaker over the years. An old machine will never perform with the same efficiency even if fitted with a new motor.
3) Relief: Chronic illness and inability make many people feel dejected. They prefer to die for escaping the hassles and troubles of life. One Tamil poem on Lord Shiva aptly brings out the need for death as “Worldly life is the greatest disease intertwined with pains and pleasures, and that can be wiped off only with the grace of God. So, seek Him through devotion.”
4) New entrants. In any sound business, the old stocks need to be disposed of before ordering the new stocks. Or else, the logistics issue will crop up. Even in an airport, the aircraft that arrived first have to be either moved to the hangar or flown out to another destination. Moreover, old and unusable stocks need to be discarded to make way for the new and efficient entrants.
Death is certain to all living things, but its incidence is unpredictable. Yet, poor humans crave for wealth and power that never accompany them beyond death.