Peremptory is the summons of death; none can resist it. When the hour sounds and death knocks at the door, nothing in the world can keep it out. Not priest, nor prince, nor peasant can ever retard the hour of death. Grim death is ever at man’s heels. It is closer to him than his shadow.
A sudden shadow falls upon the house and, prowling with padded feet and walking with stealthy steps, Astovidhotu, the deadly bone-divider, comes lurking in every corner of the house. He pounces upon his unfortunate victim, unaware of his impending doom, and carries him away from his happy household.
Let me not forget that my present life is a prelude to the future life and that it is a pilgrimage of short duration to a higher life, soon to begin. Let me not in my ignorance and intoxication of the pride of youth, remain encircled in the heat of passion and enchained in the bond of desires, and forget the transitoriness and death of the body. Let me not be indifferent to my fate when I see my fellow-beings snatched away daily from the earth. Help me to remember, O Thou unerring Reminder, that my own turn may come at any moment and, though faring sumptuously in the forenoon, my fall may come in the afternoon.
Vouchsafe, O my Companion in death as in life, that I may count every day as a forward footstep towards death and live every day as if it were my last, that, fully prepared to face death, I may meet the end of my life upon earth with a calm and placid face and with a smile upon my lips.