11 February 2021
Always be prepared for death
Hare Kṛṣṇa! We have devotees from 788 locations chanting with us.
om namo bhagavate vāsudevāya!
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī
By regular attendance in classes on the Bhāgavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact. (ŚB 1.2.18)
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam ki jai!
At the end of the 19th chapter of Canto 1, King Parikshit and Śukadeva Goswami met each other. King Parikshit asked Śukadeva Goswami,
ataḥ pṛcchāmi saṁsiddhiṁ
yogināṁ paramaṁ gurum
puruṣasyeha yat kāryaṁ
You are the spiritual master of great saints and devotees. I am therefore begging you to show the way of perfection for all persons, and especially for one who is about to die. (ŚB 1.19.37)
ataḥ means therefore, pṛcchāmi means beg to inquire. King Parikshit is having his darshan. Śravana means having darshan. When we hear from devotees or ācāryas, it means we are taking their darshan. Their identity and their character is revealed by hearing them. We would take Śrīla Prabhupāda's darshan in Bombay where I took sannyāsa. In the evening, Śrīla Prabhupāda would give darshan to everyone. Therefore, darshan does not only mean to see, but hearing also. Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “To see whether he is a fool or a wise man, give him a microphone. When he speaks, everyone will come to know him and his way of thinking. We will get to know whether he is a fool or a wise man, pious or a demon." This is having darshan. In the Vedic literatures of our Sanātana dharma, shad darshan is famous. Although King Parikshit was taking darshan of Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami with his eyes, he would get complete darshan of him when he hears from Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami.
Therefore, King Parikshit is asking Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami a question before hearing. King Parikshit is praising Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami. yogināṁ paramaṁ gurum, "You are the spiritual master of great saints." When we say Prabhupāda, it means one, whose shelter is taken by many saints and masters. King Parikshit asked Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami, "What should be done by the person who is going to die?" Every conditioned soul is mriyamāṇasya, one who is going to die. It's not like only King Parikshit was going to die within 7 days, but everyone is mriyamāṇasya, going to die.
jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ’rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi
One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament. (B.G. 2.27)
If we have taken birth, sooner or later we will surely die. One may die now or some years later. Once Śrīla Prabhupāda was asked by a journalist in an interview, "Why are you giving sannyāsa to your young disciples? According to Varṇāśrama-dharma, one has to go through all the stages like brahmacāri, grihasta, vānaprastha and when he turns 75 or becomes old or is going to die, then he has to take sannyāsa." The sannyāsi disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda were around 20 to 30 years of age at the time of their sannyāsa initiation. Śrīla Prabhupāda asked, "Who do you call elderly? When a person is going to die, is he called elderly? Is there any guarantee that my disciples will not leave this world before me? The journalist said, "It is quite possible that they might leave before you." Then Śrīla Prabhupāda said, "It means they are old. That's why I gave them sannyāsa initiation." In English people ask, "How old are you?" No one ever asks, "How young are you?" Therefore, everyone is old. They may die at any time. Better to take sannyāsa on time or before you die.
King Parikshit asked Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami, "puruṣasyeha yat kāryaṁ, What should person a person do who is going to die?" Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami narrated the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in response to this question by King Parikshit.
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva
kim akurvata sañjaya
Dhṛtarāṣṭra said: O Sañjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu assembled in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukṣetra, desiring to fight, what did they do? (BG 1.1)
This 1st Verse of Bhagavad Gīta is also a question asked by Dhṛtarāṣṭra. The entire Bhagavad Gīta is an answer to this question. Similarly, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is an answer to the question asked by King Parikshit. Now at the end of the 3rd chapter of the 12th canto, Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami is giving the answer to the question which was asked in the beginning.
Śukadeva Goswami has used the same word, mriyamāṇasya, to answer the question. He says, "You were asking what should a person do who is going to die, so I have already been speaking on this, but I shall repeat the essence again." When this question was asked, it was the first day of the narration of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Now it has reached the 12th canto, it means the katha is reaching its end. Only the last chapter is left, which will be narrated by Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami. There are a total of 335 chapters in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Śukadeva Goswami had spoken around 300 chapters. He didn't say anything in the first 19 chapters. He had started narrating Śrīmad Bhāgavatam from the 2nd canto. Out of the 13 chapters of 12th canto, only 5 chapters are spoken by Śukadeva Goswami. In the third chapter of the 12th canto, Śukadeva Goswami will give the answer. He is going to speak 2 more chapters only, that is the 4th and 5th chapter. That is only a few more verses. The 5th chapter of Canto 12 is the shortest of all chapters of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with only 13 verses.
etat te kathitaṁ tāta
yad ātmā pṛṣṭavān nṛpa
harer viśvātmanaś ceṣṭāṁ
kiṁ bhūyaḥ śrotum icchasi
Beloved King Parīkṣit, I have narrated to you the topics you originally inquired about — the pastimes of Lord Hari, the Supreme Soul of the universe. Now, what more do you wish to hear? (ŚB 12.5.13)
Śukadeva Goswami asked King Parikshit, "Do you want to hear something else?"
siddho ’smy anugṛhīto ’smi
śrāvito yac ca me sākṣād
Mahārāja Parīkṣit said: I have now achieved the purpose of my life, because a great and merciful soul like you has shown such kindness to me. You have personally spoken to me this narration of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who is without beginning or end. (ŚB 12.6.2)
Parikshit Maharaj did not want to listen to more as it was the last day, 7th day. Now the snake would come to bite King Parikshit as per the given curse. King Parikshit was very thankful to Śrīla Śukadeva Goswami. Thank you in Sanskrit is aham anugṛhīto ’smi. ‘Thank you’ is not our country's language. Our original language is Sanskrit. This language has a close relationship with our culture. King Parikshit also said anugṛhīto ’smi to Śukadeva Goswami and siddho ’smy, "Now I have attain perfection by hearing Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. I am ready to go."
janma-lābhaḥ paraḥ puṁsām
The highest perfection of human life, achieved either by complete knowledge of matter and spirit, by practice of mystic powers, or by perfect discharge of occupational duty, is to remember the Personality of Godhead at the end of life. (ŚB 2.1.6)
This is determined when you remember Lord Narayana at the time of death. This is perfection. King Parikshit said, "This remembrance is possible only because of bhavatā karuṇātmanā, your mercy." You narrated the pastimes of the Lord and I have been listening with full faith and devotion. Thus now I have become a perfectionist.
naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā
sthito ’smi gata-sandehaḥ
kariṣye vacanaṁ tava
Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions. (BG. 18.73)
Arjuna also said towards the end of Bhagavad Gīta that now he has become stable He says, sthito ’smi. gata-sandehaḥ, "My illusion has been destroyed and I have developed remembrance by Your mercy."
The speaker of Bhagavad Gīta is Śrī Krsna. Like Arjuna, King Parikshit is also saying this. Śukadeva Goswami narrated the essence in the end. We shall discuss that in detail tomorrow. This is a very popular verse. We get to hear it repeatedly in many classes of Śrīla Prabhupāda and many other speakers.
kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann
asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ
kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya
mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet
My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom. (ŚB 12.3.51)
How many of you have heard this verse? It is a very common one. Is there anyone who hasn't heard it before? This verse is an answer to the question. What should be done by the one who is going to die. We all are going to die.
If we aren't old, doesn't mean we will not die. If we are not sick, doesn't mean we won't die. If we are corona negative doesn't mean we won't die. Many people die young and untimely. We don't know when we shall die. We should be ever ready. We should not postpone our bhakti till we get old. We can die at a young age also. Then how we will be able to remember the Lord at the time of death. Therefore we should be ever ready. There is also a battery brand name Eveready. Always ready, you can use it whenever you need. Such should be our preparation.
mām upetya punar janma
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ
After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection. (BG. 8.15)
We live in a world of sorrows that is temporary and uncertain. Therefore be prepared. Be ready. We shall discuss the verses in detail tomorrow.
Parikshit Maharaja was hearing till the last moment, then when did he explain Brhad Bhāgwatamrta to his mother Uttara?
In the time between the end of the narration of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and the time when takshak came, he narrated Brhad Bhāgwatamrta to his mother. The time period was very short. It is inconceivable. He narrated the essence of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to his mother who arrived there and expressed her discontent as she could not get to hear Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Time had stopped and the moment was expanded. In that period, he explained to his mother.
You also study Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. It's homework for you. We all are going to die. It's not that we are some astrologers and we are telling you. We are born with a death certificate in our hands. We have to prepare for our death. We have to remember Lord at the time of death. That's victory. Then we will go back home back to Vaikuntha.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
This mahā-mantra is a key to Vaikuntha. One who connects with this paramparā gets the key or visa to Vaikuntha. ISKCON gives you that visa. ISKCON temples are the embassies of Vaikuntha and Śrīla Prabhupāda is our ambassador. You could also be an ambassador.
yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa
āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa
Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as they are given in the Bhagavad Gita and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land. (CC Madhya 7.128)
Those who instruct the orders of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa are ambassadors. Our goal is not to go to any mortal place. Our goal is to go back to Godhead.
Nitai Gaura premanande hari haribol!