Monday early morning, Singapore just lost her founding Father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew who passed on at the age of 91 years old. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was revered by many in the world as one of the most visionary leaders of our time. Not only did he fight for self-Government from the British colonial masters, he also later led Singapore into merger with Malaysia believing that this was the best option for Singapore’s future. When the merger fell apart, he took Singapore out of Malaysia and built a nation from nothing during the most difficult years.
He built up a strong defence capability to protect Singapore’s sovereignty, a vibrant economy which created many jobs, a sound education system and world-class infrastructure, housing and environment. Literally he transformed Singapore from a Third World to a First World country. He was known for his working style – meticulous, persistent, with tremendous drive and spirit, never quitting. He also ensured a successful transitioning of Singapore beyond him through leadership succession.
Through his life, I learned to live a full life with drive and spirit and as an extraordinary leader, I learned to appreciate the importance of a grand vision and a pragmatic approach to administration and attention to details.
Every death has many lessons for us. When witnessing the world mourns for the loss of a great leader, I actually feel that Mr Lee Kuan Yew would be at peace if we celebrate his life in a way that his legacy lives in the hearts of the future generation.
In Vedic tradition, we know that death is a passage. Death is inevitable for the born and birth is certain for the dead. Whether the spirit lives on after the body perishes and locates itself in another body may be a debate point to some, but in Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that this is not a reason to lament death. Since death is inevitable, yet for many it remains a wonder. He revealed that to be truly complete, joyful and eternally blissful, is to cognise the truth that we are indestructible, that our spirit lives on and that life and death are nothing but a mere passage.
Death is not an end or discontinuity, it is a passage of sorts. Whether you believe in God or not and accept your inner divinity or not, is irrelevant to how you understand life after death. Even if you choose to believe only in science, you still need to accept that there are no answers to what you were before you were born and what you will be once you exit this body. It is still an unknown, a mystery.
People who are authentic enough to accept and be complete with the truth of the eternal nature of the spirit are the fortunate, the blessed ones. They get over the fear of death and instead they will be celebrating death as another climax of life. Everything is in a state of becoming something else. At every moment we die and are reborn; millions of cells in our body-mind system die every day and are reborn. Yet, through this change, there is continuity which we cannot see, touch or feel. What we see as manifested as this body and mind, hides from us the process of constant change that happens within us, as well as the continuous thread that holds the whole life process together. This understanding can only come with the understanding that we live on in spirit.
Those who fight and grieve are the miserable and the incomplete ones. We cannot fight life or death because they are both beyond our control. We can only marvel at them and be happy and joyous. Some choose to keep questioning and doubting and be miserable. This is the choice and free will we all have.
Another important lesson I learned about death is that it is not death that frightens us, it is leaving our incomplete desire and unlived life that frightens us. Any hangover from the past incomplete desires will continue to chase us till we complete with it. So it is very important to live a fulfilled or complete life in the space of completion. Completion means feeling empowered, powerful without any hangover or powerlessness, during and after every situation of life.
Dear Mr Lee, let us celebrate your extraordinary life journey from the space of completion. Namaste 😀