Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sorga Vasal- Doors of Heaven

Dad, even a fleeting memory of your loving smile is enough to light up my darkest days. I love you. Dad quotes

It has been months since I wrote anything. And I have not even been visiting other bloggers.
Somehow, I could not do both these things, and I have no excuse, other than being very lazy.
Maybe, it was a writer's block, I don't know. I am sure we all go through this phase sometime or other in our lives.

On December 26th 2015, my father was finally released from this world. He passed away without much struggle.

Before he passed away, he had his wish fulfilled: that is visiting his home town Srirangam for the Vaikuntha Ekadasi, which is very auspicious for all Tamil Brahmins. He has been visiting his home town ever year for this festival. My brother made arrangements to take him by Taxi and also stay in his ancestral home there. My father was very happy, and was extremely talkative with all his near and dear ones who came to visit him. He could not place any of them very clearly, but he was vaguely aware of some of the events in their lives and was happily recounting them. He stayed in Srirangam for about 5 days, and kept telling to my brother, that he would die within a week or so.

When the day came for them to leave for Madras, he became very adamant and would not leave his house, holding on tightly to the railing of the staircase. With great difficulty, my brother had to carry him to the waiting taxi to go back home.

When he arrived in Madras, there too he created a big drama saying he will not climb up to the house holding with iron grip the gate of the house. However, he was finally carried upstairs. Dealing with Dementia patient can be very, very tough, and we must give full marks to my brother and his wife for bearing everything .

21st December 2015 was Vaikuntha Ekadasi and my father was there in Srirangam by 18th December. They were there till the 23rd December.
The significance of Vaikuntha Ekadasi:

There are 24 Ekadasis observed by Hindus during the year. Of these Vaikunda Ekadasi celebrated in the Tamil month Margazhi (Dec-Jan) is considered very auspicious. On this day people accompany the Lord to the doors of Heaven (SorgaVasal, Sorgam - Heaven/Vasal - Doors). In all temples the Sorgavasal will remain opened on this day. People remain awake the previous night and go to the temple early in the morning to enter the Sorgavasal. People take up fasting on this day for all their wishes to come true. It is believed that one who worships Lord Vishnu on this day will reach Vaikunta (Heaven). This festival is of great significance at all Balaji Temples especially at Tirupati and also at  Srirangam.

 We all feel so happy that the wish of our father finally got fulfilled, even though he did not die there, still he had the good fortune of being there at that auspicious moment, and just as he had predicted he left this world within a week. I believe only very good people are taken away by God in this manner.

My chithi (my mother's younger sister), too had a very dramatic and good death many years ago on this Ekadasi day. She was absolutely normal on that day and had gone with her daughter in law to visit the famous Parthasarthy temple in Triplicane Madras, and after darshan, she suddenly felt very uneasy, and just dropped dead right there (silent heart attack).
 Back to our father. 
On the 26th morning he seemed very normal, had his morning tea, and since he doesn't take breakfast, he was about to have his lunch as usual at around 10 am. However on that day he told my brother that he was not hungry, but my brother persuaded him to at least have some curd rice. While my brother went to bring  it to him, he suddenly heard my father wheezing very violently. He was shocked for our father never had any kind of wheezing problems, he suddenly was not able to breathe properly also. My  brother immediately took him to a big hospital which is just 2 minutes from our house, and there the doctors tried giving him Oxygen, but our father was in no position to take it also. They tried their level best, but he kept on struggling to breathe and finally had an heart attack and died there within minutes.

To think it was the same hospital, where our father had taken our mother to get her treated for her chronic knee pain, and had to see her get a massive heart attack without any warning.
Our father's death although was sad, we still feel, he was finally free, which is what people of his age (94 years) yearn for. And also in his condition, death was welcome.

  He would always say in his dementia affected state, that he could see people coming and eating after his death, the house is full of relatives and friends, the priests doing the puja for his safe passage from this earth and so on... that amma (our mother) is waiting for him.....
We are sure that wherever he is,  he is safe and peaceful with his creator: he has passed through the "Sorga Vasal".

Your life has ended, but your legacy of wisdom, integrity and courage will go on forever. We miss you Appa.


  1. My hearty condolences. He was a nice person. May his soul rest in peace.

  2. I am very to hear about the sad demise of your dear father.You had mentioned about his ailment and about the care,patience and affection shown to him by your brother and his family.It was touching to note how your brother fulfilled his last wish to visit his home town at a festival time.
    My heartfelt condolences to you all on this sad bereavement.

    1. Yes, my brother made it a point to take him to Srirangam, a few months back also he had taken him there as my father always wanted to go there. That time he had very good darshan of the Thayair also whom he wanted to visit.
      Thanks KP.

  3. Our heartfelt condolences, Rama. I remember you talking about him, a few months back. He is a good person.

    He was happy before he left this world. That is important. Your brother and his wife are great.

    Take care, Rama.

    1. Thank you Sandhya. Yes, Sandhya we were all so worried that he was lost somewhere, by God's grace, he was found and taken care by another good person. My father's life was full of adventure, and if he had his memory, he would have laughed and joked about .

  4. Deepest condolences, Rama. Your father had a long life and left this place happy and content to see his home-town and birth house. His death reminded me very much of my mother's death (in 2004, at age of 820. She also seemed to predict her death, through signs and shouts, as she couldn't speak anymore during her last 6 months of life. May that our dear one will meet the other family members, in peace.

    1. Thank you TH.Yes, we also believe he must have reached the place from where he came from. Life was never easy for him, with too many adventures and very little time to be happy.

  5. My condolensces mam.. So sorry to hear that ..

    You brother and family are so good .. and good of them to make sure they took your father around...

    Take care mam and may god give you and everyone the strength to bear the pain


    1. Thanks Bikram. Very sweet of you to come here despite my not visiting your blog for a long time. Well, you are the perfect example of a good friend.
      It was quite a strain on my brother and his wife, for they too are old, my brother is 68, and my sister in law is 64, at a stage when they should be relaxing and doing their own things, my father had dementia and they had to put aside their plans and look after him. Since there are no proper facilities to look after such people it falls on the children to do whatever is possible. Thank you.

  6. Sorry to hear about your loss! Your father surely must have had a blessed life. With a wonderful family to take care of him until his last day on earth. Take care...

  7. That was very poignant . May he RIP.

  8. My condolences to you and your family Rama. He was lucky to have fulfilled his wish of Srirangam darshana on Vaikuntha Ekadasi before leaving to a better place. Stay strong.

  9. We have missed you Rama. Welcome back. I'm sure your Appa will be in safe hands, happy to be reunited with your Amma. Prayers for his soul.

  10. i read each line of your's which show that how much loving and caring daughter you were dear,with tears in my eyes i am saying to you that i am feeling really sorry for your damage but i am glad for your father who got freedom of his body and will surely find good place in heaven may his soul rest in peace amae

  11. My heartfelt condolences Rama.
    I am in the same boat and going through my painters block. I lost my father in January. Since then I have not be the same and I think I will never be. Losing a loving father needs a lot of time to heal I guess.

  12. Oh my condolences Rama! i remember you commenting about your father on one of my posts on aged people as to how independant your nonagenarian dad was by driving his own moped in SriRangam. Let his sould RIP.

  13. My heartfelt condolences Rema. May he be with Lord Vishnu.

    A lucky father that his son stayed with giving him care and concern.