On the subject of Steve Jobs and “WOW”
By Nrsimhananda dasa
I’ve noticed some articles about Steve Jobs on the Vaisnava websites during the past year. There seems to be a lot of devotee interest in him. Perhaps because he honored a lot of prasadam in his hungry days as a college student/dropout/entrepreneur? He definitely gets a human birth in his next life. Maybe because his life’s work has impacted nearly all of us in some way. But what he saw at the time of his death was certainly spectacular. Steve was not “wow’ed” by anything less than the highest standard of excellence; that we know about him. He was a consummate perfectionist. We’ve heard from his co-workers, fans, and detractors that he was not easily impressed. Yet, something he saw in the last moments of his life elicited not only one “wow,” but three in rapid succession:
In a touching eulogy about her late brother at his memorial service on October 16, Mona Simpson described the Apple founder’s last hours and the enigmatic words he uttered before he died.
She told the group of mourners at the Memorial Church of Stanford University that Steve Jobs looked at his wife and children, then beyond them, before uttering: ‘OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.’
Describing his death in the eulogy reprinted in the New York Times, she said: ‘Steve’s final words were monosyllables, repeated three times.
‘Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them, before saying his final words.’
I wonder what he saw. Was it the Visnhuduttas? Could have been the “white light” (effulgence of the Supersoul) at the end of the naga? Doesn’t appear to be the Yamadhuttas or he would be deathly afraid. We’ll never know for sure, but one thing we do know, “Oh, wow” is not the recommended mantra for deliverance from this material world. I don’t think anyone can be sure what the sound vibrations of “Oh, wow” transliterated into some sanskrit syllables may evoke at the time of death. Some joke that he was seeing the next generation of the ipad or iphone. Whatever, let us hope and pray that our last words will be “Hare Krishna” and “Hare Rama” a few times before we make our final flight from the present body. As for Steve, may Srila Prabhupada include you in his pastimes somewhere in your next life. You certainly exemplified through innovation that Krishna’s material energy is “endlessly mutable” (BG 8.4 1972 ed.) For us, in this material atmosphere, your products, were, well, “wow,” but compared to the mercy of the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada, and the gorgeously dressed deities in temples around the world, it’s a wimper of a “wow”. They are ” OH WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW….” ad infinitum.
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