Yesterday, the students of Rishikesh Yog Peeth were delivered some crushing and surreal news. Manish, one of our asana teachers, had passed away after a sudden and serious motor biking accident.
On Friday morning, Manish had taught me and the rest of my asana group, a two-hour lesson. At only 22, Manish emanated peace, wisdom and a huge amount of compassion and kindness. After, we all left talking about how much we had enjoyed his style, presence and teaching methods. We continued with our day, attending our anatomy, philosophy and teaching methodology classes, whilst Manish went with his father to a friend’s wedding. That evening, as we all sat waiting in Yoga Hall 1 preparing for our second asana class of the day, we had no idea something horrible had just taken place. A teacher we had never met walked into the hall and sat down in Manish’s position. All of us instantly began questioning him on where Manish had gone. Jeet was overflowing with emotion. He managed to tell us that they had just received a call saying Manish had been found in a critical condition and had had to be taken to hospital. Jeet’s grief was palpable and I found myself welling up, along with many others of the class. The asana practice went as well as it could, we dedicated the two hours and some prayers to Manish, sending him healing energy and completely believing it would all be ok.
Then, yesterday morning, after we had all dragged ourselves out of bed at 6am, the news from yesterday seemed more like a bad dream. However, we were devastated to find out that Manish had in fact passed away during the night. Incredibly, our asana teachers taught us for the usual two hours and then announced that the rest of the day’s lessons would be cancelled.
No music was played during the day, shops along the street were closed and numerous families sat outside waiting for Manish’s body to be returned to his home. All the students were in shell shock, unable to process that less than 24 hours previous we had all been talking and chatting with Manish, who was incredibly healthy and strong as an individual and a yogi.
It is incomprehensible what Manish’s family must be going through currently. I cannot even fathom what such a sudden loss must bring. Yet the resilience of the Indians and yogis surrounding us is quite incredible and the words they keep on repeating to us and to themselves is ‘Death is the only Truth.’ Reminding us that death will come to everyone and that is the only thing we can ever be certain of. So, there should be no anger, nor should we dwell on the event too long, for this is something that was always going to happen and none of us would have been able to stop it. Yes, we may grieve, yes we may remember Manish’s qualities and lessons but we should not linger on something which is certain and unchangeable. Perspective instead has been provided. Do no worry about the future, do not obsess about the past, try to focus on and give yourself wholly to the present and feel privileged that we were lucky enough to have shared in Manish’s presence and positive energy.