Essence of the story


On the surface, the story of Ajamil talks about last minute redemption.  At death’s door, the man calls out and God answers, rescuing the sinner from certain hell.  Like the Christian idea of proclaiming faith in Christ for assured entrance to heaven, the story asserts that even a lifelong sinner can get to heaven provided he recites the name of God on his death bed. 

People often use this story to illustrate two things -
1) You should name your children after gods and goddesses so that everytime you call them, you are reciting the name of God.
2) If you turn to God, even on your death bed, you will be redeemed and be rescued by God.

Story of Ajamil is often cited as an archetypical tale of last minute redemption offered to anyone, no matter how sinful he / she is, provided they declare their faith in GOD !

Facts of the story are a little more complicated than that.  What most people forget to notice is that Ajamil used to be a conscientious Brahmin before he fell in love with a courtesan.  Ajamil followed scriptural injunctions for a good part of his life.  Indeed, his karmas must have been consistently good for him to have been born in to a high brahmin family in the first place.  Upon seeing a courtesan, he fell in love with her and wanted to marry her.  Society being what it is, refused to let him follow his heart and excommunicated him.  Fed up of social boycott, he turned his back on rituals and organised religion.  But, at no point did he loose faith in God.  So much so, he named his son Narayan.

When his end came, he returned to his religious roots.  He remembered the love he bore for God.  God totaled up his karmas and saw that the balance was on his side and rescued him from hell.  The balance was there.  OK - so for a few decades he did not practice brahmincal ritual, but what of the decades he did practice it ?  Wouldn't that count ?

Karma being what it is, nothing ever goes to waste.  If you have done good work, it will be remembered and it will be credited to you !  God’s grace came through for all the good work Ajamil did in his life rather than what he missed out on.  This is the true power of Ajamil's story !


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