Seminar on Art of Dying
HH Bhakti Charu Swami Guru Maharaja
THE FOLLOWING IS A CLASS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI ON THE ART OF DYING ON 29 MAY 2003.
Transcription : Lalitamadhava Dasi
Editing : Hemavati Radhika Dasi
Thank you all for coming here very much, this evening. Actually the seminar, I originally thought of giving this time was on Srimad Bhagavatam and the other day in New Vrindavan. When we were in New Vrindavan, I was discussing with mother Krsna Priya about the seminar, then I realized to cover or to do justice to Srimad bhagavatam in four days, two hours sessions will not be possible. Therefore I was thinking, I have to give a seminar on some topic rather instead of presenting the entire Srimad Bhagavatam, I thought of selecting some specific topic from Srimad Bhagavatam and give the seminar on that. Then it occurred to me that recently, in South Africa, I saw there was a big advertisement, many billboards and many posters announcing the seminar that to be given by someone from India, a spiritualist from India and the title of that seminar was "The Art of Living". When I saw that posters, I was thinking a Sadhu’s business was not to give seminars on Art of Living, because whenever one takes to spiritual life, one thing one realizes is that the real goal of life is not here, it is beyond this material nature and then it occurred to me why don’t I give a seminar on Art of Dying and then it occurred to me that actually Srimad Bhagavatam is extensively deep dealing with this topic the Art of Dying and that Art of Dying is actually leading to the way to immortality. If one knows how to die, then he attains immortality, he attains immortal life. So that is the ultimate objective of spiritual persuasion, spiritual pursuit. It occurred to me at that time, that actually this would be an appropriate topic, to give a seminar on, the Art of Dying, the way to immortality. And Srimad Bhagavatam is actually teaching us that art. Although Srimad Bhagavatam originated when Vyasadeva was summarizing the teachings of the Vedas and trying to present it in such a way that the disturbed and distressed short living entities of this age of Kali could understand the purpose of Srimad Bhagavatam or the purpose of the Vedic wisdom and he systematically analyzed the Vedic wisdom. First he divided the Vedas into four then he wrote different aspects of Vedic wisdom like dharma Shasta, Itihasa, Puranas and Upanishads. These are different branches of Darshans and these are all different branches of Vedic wisdom and finally he presented the summary of the essential understanding of the entire Vedic wisdom in the form ofVedanta sutra, the aphorism of Vedanta and still when he was not feeling totally content, then Narada Muni appeared to him and instructed to him to present Srimad Bhagavatam which is the unalloyed glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And in this way, Srimad Bhagavatam was presented by Srila Vyasadeva as the summary and the essence of the entire Vedic wisdom. ‘Nigamaha kalpa tarur’ the ripe fruit of the desire tree of the Vedic wisdom. So that is what Srimad Bhagavatam was, as it was presented by Srila Vyasadeva. But then this Srimad Bhagavatam became further, God’s nectarean aspect due to the presentation of Sukadeva Goswami. So the real presentation of Srimad Bhagavatam was actually made by Srila Sukadeva Goswami. But what was the occasion? It’s very interesting. What was the occasion of the presentation? The King of this planet Maharaja Pariksit, he was cursed by Kali, the personality who is predominating this age, whose business is to establish irreligiosity, whose business is to introduce sinful activities and promote sinful life. That personality, Kali, considered Pariksit Maharaja, to be the arch enemy; his arch enemy and he realized that in order to establish his purpose, in order to establish himself, or his objective, he has to get rid of this King Pariksit Maharaja. And he did not have the means or the ability to get rid of Pariksit Maharaja, but Pariksit Maharaja was too powerful for him. Therefore he arranged that a Brahman boy for cursing and this boy were so powerful although he was just a boy of seven or eight yrs old but he cursed Pariksit Maharaja. That’s a long story and I am skipping the details and I am sure all of you know what the occasion was and so this Brahman cursed Pariksit Maharaja that he would die within seven days and when Pariksit Maharaja got the news that he has been cursed, that he is going to die in seven days or he has only seven days left. So Pariksit Maharaja did not try to counteract the curse, he just left everything, left his kingdom, left his palace, left his family, left everything, and he went to the bank of Ganges in order to prepare himself for this occasion of dying. He has seven days to die so okay, let me take advantage of the seventh day and prepared myself to die. And he just sat down, although he was a king and not just a king, he was a king of the entire earth planet including the ocean. That is how it has been described sa sagara, sagara means ocean, sa means along with or including. So he was a ruler of the earth planet including the ocean, the entire planet. But he became completely detached because he knew to begin with, he knew that some day he has to leave this world. A person who is situated in knowledge, he knows that one day he will have to die. One who is born is bound to die. The word druva means fixed, unwavering, or you can say absolute, truth. This truth is unavoidable isn’t it? In the material nature, although this material nature is a relative reality, here everything is relative. But there is only one absolute truth in this material nature. What is that absolute truth? That everybody has to die. So even in this relative reality, there is one absolute truth that is death. So one who is situated in knowledge knows that he has to die. But those who are ignorant, they try to avoid death. Well, it’s natural, one does actually in reality, and one does not want to die. But in order to understand how to attain immortality, one must first know what death is. What is death? Then only we can understand how to conquer it. If you don’t know who your enemy is, is there any question of defeating him. Can you defeat or conquer an enemy whom you do not know? Therefore in order to conquer your enemy, what do you have to do? First of all you have to recognize who he is, what he is, what his strength is, and how he can harm me and then you take the action to counter that influence. So those who are situated in knowledge, they know that death is inevitable some day or other. Therefore one who is situated in knowledge he does not get bewildered with this issue of death. Rather he prepares for that. Just like Pariksit maharaja did, and this is an indication that he was situated in knowledge. Pariksit maharaja was a king; he could have made so many arrangements to counteract that. Actually if he wanted, he could have.
You know how, just to give one example: Pariksit maharaja was cursed that he would be killed by being bitten by a serpent, celestial serpent called Takshaka. So there was one, you can say, a snake doctor, the expert of counteracting poison, his name was Kasyapa, a sage, a saintly person, a Brahman. So he heard that the king was going to be bitten by a snake. So he said fine, I will come to counteract. So he was going to Pariksit Maharaja, at that time Takshaka was also coming, so Takshaka came in the disguise of a Brahman, although he is a serpent, although he is a snake. But he has, the celestial serpent, the celestial being having the ability to transform themselves in different forms. Takshaka took the shape of a Brahman and he was coming and on the way they met. Takshaka and Kasyapa said, ok let’s travel together, so then they started to talk Takshaka: "Where are you going?" Kasyapa: "I am going to Hastinapura." Takshaka: "Why are you going there?" Kasyapa: "I heard that the king is going to be bitten by a snake and he is going to die, so I am going there to save the king." Takshaka became very angry. He immediately assumed his form as a serpent, a snake, a huge gigantic snake and he said "I am Takshaka; I am going to bite him. Do you think you can counteract my poison?" Takshaka immediately, he just bit, a banyan tree, a huge banyan tree. And the tree immediately turned into ashes and he said: "See this is the power of my poison, and do you think you are going to counteract that? Immediately the king’s body is going to burn into ashes as soon as I bite." So Kasyapa did not say anything. He took some water from his water pot, did his achaman, and cleansed his mouth before chanting the mantra and then he took some more water on his palm. He chanted some mantras, sprinkled some water, on the heap of ash and immediately it came to live. The tree was regenerated. So Takshaka was surprised. And then he took another course to convince him, he said: "Look, you may counteract my poison, but you won’t be able to counteract the curse of a Brahman. So you go back home. And I will give you all these most precious gems. So you go back home." So Kasyapa considered that is true like the curse of a Brahman is irretraceable. So he went back. And now we can see that there are more personalities who could have counteracted the curse. But Pariksit Maharaja did not take that course. He considered that "Whenever the Lord will desire me to leave this planet, I will leave. So, now if that is His desire then in seven days time, I am going to die, ok, at least, I am fortunate that I have got the information that I am going to die in seven days time. I have seven days to prepare myself." He considered that to be a very very great fortune that he had seven days to prepare. We can consider that most of the time, we don’t actually want to prepare and sometimes death comes without our knowing about it. All of a sudden we die. So in that respect, Pariksit maharaja was fortunate and he considered himself very fortunate that at least he has seven days to prepare himself. So he did that. He, as I mentioned earlier, he left his kingdom, he went to the bank of Ganges, he sat down without taking any food, water, without sleeping. He just was preparing himself for his final moment. And at that time, all the greatly saintly persons from the universe gathered there. They all came there in order to help the king at a difficult time like that. So many saintly personalities gathered, assembled there and many of them gave different advice to Pariksit maharaja, but Pariksit Maharaja was not interested in their advice. They, with all good intention tried to give him good advice but Pariksit Maharaja considered that these advices were pertaining to the material facilities, material benefits. What kind of benefit? The benefit of elevating to higher planetary system. The earth planet is not the only planetary system in this universe. There are many higher planetary systems. Now, there are possibilities of elevating to higher planetary systems where the facilities are better. But Pariksit maharaja was not interested in these kind of advices because he considered the ultimate goal of life is not to enjoy this material nature, whether in higher planetary systems or lower planetary systems, because this www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com material nature is temporary, no situation in this material nature is going to be permanent and this material nature ultimately is a place of misery. So what’s the question of enjoyment in a place of misery! Jaya Sri Sri Radha Golokananda ki Jai! Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki Jai!! Sri Prahlad Nrsimhadeva ki Jai!! Srila Prabhupada ki Jai!! So he was not interested but, at that time Sukadeva Goswami appeared there. A very wonderful personality. He was a sixteen year old boy, very handsome, very, very handsome, a personality who was endowed with all the symptoms. He was so absorbed in spiritual consciousness. He was so absorbed in thinking about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and his pastimes that he did not have any external consciousness. He did not have any body consciousness so much so that he did not care to wear anything, he was naked. And he just arrived there and when he arrived there, everybody, all the exalted saintly personalities could immediately recognize that this is a very special person and they stood up out of respect. Although he was a 16 year old boy. And then they considered that this is the most exalted personality meaning, this personality has the highest spiritual knowledge and Pariksit Maharaja also recognized him and he offered him the exalted seat of a teacher and he questioned him. Pariksit Maharaja asked him many relevant questions dealing mainly with this particular topic. His main question was: I’m going to die within seven days, tell me how to prepare myself for that occasion. I have only seven days left and how must I utilize these seven days and then Sukadeva Goswami started to instruct him. And that is what Srimad Bhagavatam is. Therefore while we are covering this topic, we are actually covering Srimad Bhagavatam. The essential teachings of Srimad Bhagavatam. Generally, when I give a seminar, I like to write on the board and walk about and I thought of doing that and I got this board here but I am little concerned that many of you are taping and if I stand up then you won’t be able to tape. Therefore I thought of one simple solution to this problem. Babai how is your hand writing on the white board? I am making some points, the points that I make, you can just write them. I will just make these few points, those who are taking notes, so the few points that I was making, I already made, I will just give you those points. Like one point is Pariksit Maharaja’s approach to death. How did Pariksit Maharaja approach his imminent death? Did he try to call some doctors and try to save himself? No, rather he faced, he prepared himself to face it. And, then when he decided to face it, he was confronted with two possibilities. One is the apparent goal and the other is ultimate goal. So what is the apparent goal? The apparent goal is elevation to higher planetary systems and what is the ultimate goal? Ultimate goal is total freedom from material bondage, and elevation to spiritual world. The higher planetary system is also part of this material nature. Like if we consider this material nature to be a prison house, then elevation to higher planetary systems are something like from lower grade of prison existence to a higher grade of prison. Like, I don’t know if you have it here, but in some countries in India, they have things like you know third class prison. The worst I think is vigorous prisoner. They have to work very hard. I mean, then, in this way it comes to second class prisoner, and then comes a first class prisoner. Now, if a prisoner, thinks, I am in third class, let me be elevated to second class and then to first class. Is it an intelligent endeavor? To try to be elevated to a higher level of prison systems. No, what would be the intelligent thing to do? Get out of the prison, who wants to be in a prison? So, what did you write Babai? So, maybe you can make a point here. The material nature is like a prison house, for some and to some others, this material nature is like a boarding school. Ok we will discuss about this point now. Now, who are put into prison? The prison is design for whom? The criminals. Does a gentleman go to a prison? He may go for an occasional sightseeing, but he does not go to live in the prison. The prison is meant for the criminals. What is the definition of criminals? What is crime? Breaking of law, to break the law. The state or the king has given www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com some laws. And those laws are meant to be followed or abided by. Now, those laws have to be followed. Why? Because, the law is actually meant for peaceful and prosperous living of the citizens of the state or the kingdom. When somebody breaks the law, it creates some disturbances. People who have perverted mentality of not abiding by the law of the king, has a perverted mentality. When somebody has a perverted mentality, then that mentality has to be rectified therefore the prisons are designed. Prisons are the place to rectify the perverted mentality of the law breakers, criminals. In the prisons, the individuals get punished. They not always get punished. They also get rewarded. In this way, they know what is right and what is wrong. And when they do the right thing, in the prison also they appreciate the rewards. And when they do something wrong, then they get a stick. So the purpose is to rectify, to correct and to reform them. Now those, who are the law breakers, and whose law is it here? There is the ultimate law that has been given by the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And the law given by the Lord is actually called religion. Whenever we consider religion, whichever religion it is, whether it is Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindus, whichever religion we approach, we see in all the religion, we are speaking about God and the laws that He has given and how should one abide by those laws isn’t it? Doesn’t all religion speak about God? Doesn’t all religion give the injunction of what the Lord’s instructions are? Or motivate one or direct one or instructs one to follow those instructions of the Lord? When somebody abides by the laws of the Lord, then actually they become rewarded but when they break them, they become punished. That is the ultimate consideration of imprisonment. For the criminals, this material nature is like a prison. But the material nature also, has another aspect or another side of it. And that side of it is something like a boarding school. In the boarding school, parents sent their children to the boarding school. They are away from home. But what they learn in the school, they learn how to become qualified to live in the free world, a life of prosperity. Those who abide by the law of the Lord, for them, this material nature are like a boarding school. Those who are there in the boarding school, they are away from their home. But actually, they are preparing themselves to go back to home and lead a life of prosperity, become successful individuals there. Now, it’s up to us, to turn this place into a prison house or a boarding school. The advantage of a boarding school is when you finish your term, when you finish your education, then you go back home. It is just taken for granted. And that we will go home. You are not here to stay forever. So, the Lord, also, is present in the hearts of every living entity and he is actually considering or determining how an individual is living his life or what is going on inside. Inside, means what is going on in his consciousness. Externally, we may bluff, cheat or fool others, but internally we can’t. Now the Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated in everyone’s heart, as the Super soul and He is witnessing everything. Now, there as the super soul also , the Lord has two ways to deal with the individual, like to the criminals, He is acting as a witness and He is seeing how they are acting accordingly and punishing them or rewarding them. And those who have accepted this place as the boarding school, the Lord sitting in their heart are acting as the teacher. He guides them from within. Now those who lead a materialistic life, those who think that the ultimate goal of life is to enjoy in this material nature and do not really want to accept the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or another reality beyond this material nature which is the spiritual reality and those who do not have any information about the spiritual reality and they do not know, that they actually came from the spiritual reality, therefore the spiritual reality is actually their home. They simply keep on wandering in the material nature from one cell to Another and the Lord in their heart acts as the witness. The Lord is seeing every action of every individual. Those who are fortunate enough to understand that beyond this www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com material nature are another reality, the spiritual reality. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the center of that reality. He is the Supreme Creator, the Supreme Proprietor, the Supreme Maintainer, and that Supreme Personality of Godhead is our dear most friend or He is our dear most Father. When you recognize the individuals, those who recognize that, to them this material nature becomes like a boarding school. And they take advantage of the situation in the school by learning, they learn and who is the teacher? The Lord and his associates and his devotees. They are helped by those exalted devotees of the Lord and ultimately they are helped by the Lord Himself. And they simply prepare themselves to get out of the school and go out to their home and become a successful individual. Now that is something like the end or that is the time of final examination. And the life is the span of time, the span when we get the opportunity to prepare ourselves for the exams. We study throughout the year for what? We prepare ourselves for the year in school for what? They sit for the exams, and when we prepare ourselves well, then we pass with the flying colours straight A’s and when we fail to prepare ourselves then we flunk. So now a person who has prepared well, will he be afraid to sit in the exams, rather he looks forward to the exams. A good student, I am sure all of you are, or had been, did you look forward to exams? Well certain degree of nervousness may be there, before the exam, but when you get the question papers, when you get the papers and you see you know the answer to all the questions, then how do you feel? Don’t you feel excited and in bliss, in ecstasy? Therefore those who prepare themselves, they get into ecstasy when the exams come. Although some initials nervousness may be there, and now consider what actually happens, when a person who has prepared himself well, preparation means what does that preparation means for this exams? This preparation is actually preparing to establish our relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The real preparation is to recognize the Lord, to recognize the Supreme Personality of Godhead and establish our relationship with Him. Throughout our life, we are actually preparing for that, how shall I face the exams? Throughout our life if that becomes our only concern and then the time comes for the final exams and what is that exam? That is the time when we are going to leave this body. So at that time what do we do? We are waiting for this moment to come and we are out of this body. Will it happen or will it always remain in this body ? Well, there is another consideration; a third possibility is losing your consciousness. Lose your consciousness means something like you fall asleep, no more consciousness, no more awareness. Now to a devotee, that is the most undesirable situation. A devotee doesn’t want to lose his consciousness, rather at that time, he wants to fix his consciousness onto the lotus feet of Krsna. That spiritual endeavor has been described as Krsna consciousness. So throughout our life we are trying to be Krsna conscious. And then the final moment comes and then we see Krsna, how will you feel? How will you feel that your entire endeavor, throughout your life has been successful? Now you are face to face with Him. Or you are in a situation, when you have been taken to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Anyway these aspects we will discuss tomorrow, today we are just, today we won’t get into the examples of individuals leaving the bodies and how they left their body. Like today, we are just covering the basic understanding of this aspect of what life is, what death is. Now let us again for clarity, let us go back to that point what is life? What is the definition of life? You are alive what makes you think you are alive? Consciousness. What is consciousness? Consciousness is the awareness of being. I am, therefore I am alive. When I fall asleep and I do not have any awareness, whether I am alive or dead, then, what happens? do I exist? No. When you are fast asleep. Sleep also has two aspects. One is dreams and the other is dreamless. Like in dream, dream is actually a situation in a subtle existence. When the subtle body is active, that is called dream. When both the subtle and gross bodies are active, then it is www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com called wakeful state. When you are awake, then both the gross bodies and the subtle bodies, anyway for clarity I was saying gross body, we have two types of material bodies. Cintamani can you tell us what are those two types of material bodies, gross and subtle? What does the gross body comprise of? Earth, water, fire, air and ether. And subtle bodies are comprised of? Radhika do you know subtle body? Ok I will ask your mother. What is the subtle body? Subtle body is made up of mind, intelligence and false ego. The mind is also matter, subtle matter. These are the three subtle elements. Earth means a solid substance; water means liquid, fire means fiery, air and ether. These five are gross material elements. With these five gross material elements, we have this gross body. Beyond this gross body we have a subtle body made of mind intelligence and false ego. When you are awake, then both the gross and subtle body is active. Like, our body is also active or aware and we are also aware of our subtle body. When you fall asleep, then the gross body becomes inactive. We become unconscious of the gross body, but the subtle body remains active and the subtle activities of the subtle body appear to us like a dream. When the subtle body also becomes inactive that is the state of deep sleep. At that time we don’t have any consciousness of this material nature. Let us consider the situation between death and sleep or the other way round. Sleep we know what sleep is like. Sleep and death. What is the relationship between sleep and death? When we are asleep, although we are not conscious of our existence, our consciousness is completely inactive that state is sleep. Even at that state the soul is in the body. And in sleep we wake up in the same body. Death also is like sleep. But it is a prolonged sleep. And in death we don’t wake up in this body. We wake up in another body. And that is called the transmigration of the soul. The soul transmigrates from one body to another. The body is constantly changing. In this body also, the soul is going from One body to another for example continuous changes are taking place and since the changes are taking place in the body continuously, we don’t register it. But we do, when we somebody after a long time. Like you see a little child, and then you come after seven years, what will you see? That he has completely changed. Does he have this child body anymore? No he has got another body, his body has changed completely. Then you see him after another ten years. Now he is a man, it is impossible to recognize him, he has got a beard, moustache, he has got long hair, and he has got a big body. So in this body also the soul transmigrates from one body to another. The body changes from boyhood to youth, to old age. So Kardama Muni you agree with me? Do you remember yourself when you were a 5 year old? So when you were 5 years old, what kind of body did you have? Do you have a picture? So where is that 5 year old body today? It is not there? Today you have a completely different body. Are you the same person? You are the same person, although your body changed but you are the same person. In spite of the change of the body, the soul is the same. But will it be a logical conclusion that in spite of the change of the body, the soul doesn’t change? The existence of the soul has nothing to do with the body. Now let us consider, when the soul leaves the body, then what happens? That is what is called death. Death is actually the soul’s departure from the body. When the soul leaves the body, the body becomes dead. When the soul leaves the body, then what happens to the body? To begin with this is the dead body. This body is made of what? Earth, water, fire, air and ether. Is earth just regular earth? Is it dead matter? Or earth is alive. Earth is dead matter. Earth, water, fire, air and ether, all these are actually inert matter. Now this body is made of inert matter or dead matter? Will it be illogical to conclude that this is a dead body? Actually it is a dead body, but why this body is alive because of the presence of the soul. So it is due to the presence of the soul that the body is alive. So now who are we? So let’s make a very simple consideration who are we? Are we this body or are we the soul? We saw the body changes, but I remain the same so who is that I? When I say I, who www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com do we actually indicate? Due to our conditioning of this body, we identify ourselves with the body. But actually we are the spirit soul. When the spirit soul leaves the body, and I am the spirit soul, would I continue to exist? Do I continue to exist or do I die with the body? When the body dies, do I die? No, rather when I am in this body, the body became alive. The body remains alive. So birth, life and death, they actually indicate, the birth is the soul’s acceptance of a new body. When the soul accepts a new body, we call it birth, and when the soul leaves the whole body, what do you call it? Death. And the period of the soul existence, from the time of birth to death is called life. So do you understand now what life is? Sitarani describe what is life? So now let us consider, we are in boarding school and when the exams will be? And preparation time is? Lifetime is the time to preparing ourselves for the final exams. And when we fare well in the exams, then what happens? We find that Krsna is standing there. He said ok, you did very well. All your life you have been trying to understand Me, recognize Me and establish your relationship with Me, so I am very happy with you, so come on, let’s go home. My boy did very well. I am very happy that I sent you to boarding school. So that is our ultimate objective of existence in this material nature. Now this has been very wonderfully described through an allegorical story that was the story of Puranjana in Srimad Bhagavatam. How many of you remember the story of Puranjana? Ok how many of you don’t? I explain briefly. There was a great personality, a great king called King Pracinabarhi. So King Pracinabarhi had ten sons. When his children grew up, King Pracinabarhi advised them to get married and take up the royal responsibility. So, the children felt that in order to enter the household life, in order to take the responsibility we have to prepare ourselves properly. So they went to the forest to perform austerity. Then they came across a beautiful lake. The lake was filled with, decorated with many beautiful flowers like blue, red and white lotus and there were beautiful and colourful singing birds that were there, flying around. And then to their great amazement they saw Lord Shiva coming out of the water. And then Lord Shiva gave them the instruction how to meditate, how to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead and meditate upon Him. So in this way being blessed by Lord Shiva, they got absorbed in meditating upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And at that time Narada Muni, considered that these ten boys are becoming so serious about their life and look at the father, he is completely absorbed in sense gratification, performing all kinds of materialistic activities, to acquire piety so that he can enjoy. So, Narada Muni thought that I must give example, good advice, but he also considered that this king, he is so gross. When people become absorbed in sense gratification their intelligence becomes quite blind. A person with blunt intelligence, in English there is an expression called dunderhead. So dunderhead cannot understand the necessities of life. So Narada Muni instead of giving him a straightforward advice, he told him a story. And the story is the story of Puranjana. Actually when Narada Muni was describing the situation of a living entity in this material nature. Puranjana means one who dwells in a body. So this body is like a city, Pura means city or dwelling place. Puri means a house. So the soul lives in the house, this body. Not only this body. This is one type of body, the human form is one type of body there are four hundred thousand different types of human bodies and there are eight millions other types of bodies, aquatics, plants, worms, insects, reptiles, birds, animals and then finally human beings. In the process of spiritual evolution, not organic evolution, the process of spiritual evolution, the human form, is the highest form of existence in this material nature. So Puranjana means a spirit soul, he told the story as I described first, there was a prince, he was wandering around in different places, then finally he came to a land between the tract of the Himalayan mountain and the salty water ocean. That’s the land of India. While wandering there he came across a city, a beautiful city with nine www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com gates. Then he saw, there was a beautiful woman, an extremely beautiful woman and she was attended by ten very powerful and efficient attendants and there was a five headed serpent that was protecting this lady, this queen. She was the queen of the city. And then Puranjana came so attracted by her beauty that Puranjana approached her and wanted to marry her. Eventually they got married, they started to live in the city of nine gates and Puranjana was quite happily living. Sometimes he used to feel very depressed, sometimes he used to fight with his queen. Sometimes he had different types of adversaries. Once a very big onslaught came upon the city. The Javana king attacked the city. And a very very big fight ensured and they were fighting to protect the city and the serpent who was actually used to protecting the city was becoming gradually weaker and weaker, couldn’t really withstand all onslaught. And then the Javana king’s sister Talakanya came and embraced Puranjana. And when she embraced Puranjana, he lost completely all his power. He lost all his ability to fight. And then all the soldiers of Javana king dragged him out of the city. And the Puranjana took birth as a woman in his next life. So here Puranjana died. So next life Puranjana is born as a woman. So when her Husband died. Her husband at some point left home. She was a princess; she was married to a king. But the king left her kingdom and went to vanaprastha, went to the forest. So when the king died, this Puranjani, Puranjana is now a woman. She lit the funeral pyre. Placed her husband there and lit the fire and then she was also considering to enter into the fire and give up her life. So at that time one Brahman came and told her that he was her friend from the long past and at this time of difficulty, he came to help her. So in this way the Brahman actually rescued Puranjani and led her to the ultimate goal of life. So the king could understand that it was an allegorical story. So he asked Narada Muni why did you tell a story like that? What is the hidden meaning behind this story? So then Narada Muni explained that this Puranjani is actually a spirit soul and the spirit soul wanders in different types of bodies. Sometimes he is elevated to the higher planetary systems. Sometimes he goes to lower planetary systems. In this way, he is wandering around this universe and then he comes into the land of India or we can say the land of wisdom. A land where knowledge is available. And there he comes across this city of nine gates. And the city of nine gates is the human body. So the human body has nine gates means there are nine holes through this gate one actually goes out to enjoy the senses, derive enjoyment from the objects of the senses like two ears, two eyes, two nostrils, mouth, anus, and genitals. So these are nine gates in the human body. And the queen is the intelligence who actually makes all the arrangements for the soul to dwell in this human body and try to enjoy. The queen has ten attendants and they are the ten senses, five knowledge acquiring senses, and five working senses. The serpent that protects this city is the five types of air prana, apana, saman, vyan and udan. These five types of air is actually sustaining this body and making this body function. All the actions and functions of the body are controlled by these five types of air. And then, there is an attack from the Javana king. Javana king is the king of death. So a king of death comes along with his soldiers and his sister. then in his next life he became a woman. Then at the time of funeral of her husband, he came across this Brahman. Who is this Brahman? The Brahman is the Supersoul, the spiritual master. The spiritual master guides one towards the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead which is the ultimate goal of life and which indicates our ultimate freedom. So in this way very beautifully through many many anecdotes and incidences recorded, Srimad Bhagavatam is teaching us what is life and what is death and how to conquer it. So the Art of dying actually means how to conquer death. When we conquer death, what do We achieve, we achieve immortality. So I will stop here today if anyone has any questions please feel free to ask. Question1 HH Bhakti Charu Swami answers: You see, before death when you are alive, the question of mortality does not come. You are www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com already immortal at that time. But immortality considers actually one, we are already immortal. In reality we are immortal. But the problem starts when we forgot our spiritual identity and began to identify ourselves with the body, and then when the body dies, we think that we are dying or we are dead. But when we are situated in our spiritual identity then there is no death, then actually by nature we all are immortal. The first instructions of the vedas are: "O son of immortality listen to the wisdom of the spiritual reality." To begin with, we are the children of immortality. If our father is immortal, then we are also immortal. And only thing is that unfortunately we are trying to identify ourselves with the body and that’s the problem. Now we have to realize that we are not this body. The body is just an external covering. We are actually spiritual being. We become situated in our spiritual identity, and then there is no death. There is no consideration of death; there is no question of death. Question Two HH Bhakti Charu Swami answers: How do we become situated in our spiritual identity? When we become connected to the Supreme spirit, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then we automatically becomes situated in our spiritual identity. So to make this point clear, very nice question you brought up and I will answer it a little elaborately. A living entity, we, the spirit soul, we are very minute spiritual entities like a spark. Spark is a part of fire, a tiny little fire, but when the spark flies out of the fire and falls into a heap of ash, what happens to its fiery qualities? It loses its fiery qualities, it becomes ash. That aspect of fire that spark that it was, it loses its fiery qualities, it stops to be a spark and becomes ash coming in contact with the heap of ash. When that aspect is taken back into the fire then what happens, it automatically regains its fiery qualities. Similarly we are all spiritual beings, but we are tiny, spiritual sparks. So when we get out of spiritual reality, spiritual nature and coming in contact with the material nature, then we lose our spiritual quality and become materialized. Just as a spark coming in contact with the heap of ash becomes ash. So that is the condition, we are spiritual but we are considering ourselves with the material, fighting to get our spiritual identity. Now tell me how can we get our spiritual identity back? If we go back to the fire again, then again we become spiritualized again when we go back to the spiritual. Therefore the way to become re-spiritualized is to re-establish our contact with the supreme spirit, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By forgetting him we are falling into this material nature and lost our spiritual identity. Now if we re-establish our relationship with Him, then we will again regain our spiritual identity. I told you by re-establishing our relationship with Krsna; we develop our relationship with Krsna. Now the way to develop is by love. Love is the thing that brings us together, hates separates us. When we develop our loving relationship, then that love is actually a force that unites us with Krsna. Yes Sailesh. Question three HH Bhakti Charu Swami answers: I briefly touched this point before, anyway we will try to elaborate it let’s see. Consciousness is in simple words, it can be identified as awareness. That I am aware, that I am sitting in this room, surrounded by so many people. Question Four HH Bhakti Charu Swami answers: The thing is if the consciousness comes from the soul. Just as light comes, or heat comes out of fire. You see when there is fire; heat comes out or light comes out. Now just as light comes out of fire, similarly, one can say that consciousness comes from the soul, now that consciousness becomes subjective or effective by various factors of this material nature like three subtle elements and five gross elements like those subtle elements are mind, intelligence and false ego, the mistaken concept of our identity. So when that happens, then the soul consciousness is projected towards the material direction. Just let me take one step backwards and try to elaborate it little more. The soul is from the spiritual world. The soul is not generated in the material nature due to some chemical combination. Soul is from the spiritual world. Now the spiritual world is the world of the reality. God is the center. So when we look toward God, www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com when we have our relationship with God, then we are in the spiritual world. But when we look away from God, then we look at his external creations, external energy, which is the material world and when we come in contact with the material nature. When we turn our face away from the spiritual reality and look towards the material nature and material nature being inferior and we being superior we develop a tendency to lord over the material nature. Now in reality our relationship with God is that he is the Supreme Master and we are his eternal servants. That is our identity actually. We are eternal servants of the Lord. But when we look at the material nature, then we forget our identity as servant but we resume the identity of the master now that is the mistaken identity and that is called the false ego, the mistaken concept of our identity. And then we begin to plan how we are going to exploit this material nature, that gives us the second covering of the subtle matter called the intelligence how we are going to exploit this world for our enjoyment and then through the mind, the consciousness constantly flows towards the material direction. So in this way, we get our subtle body or covering of mind, intelligence and false ego. Then according to the state of our subtle body, the material nature provides us with the gross body. Now through this body we virtually or practically try to exploit or enjoy this material nature. In this way the soul becomes entrapped in these two bodies, subtle and gross. As a result of that, the consciousness begins to flow towards this direction, material direction, through subtle body and the gross body, through the mind and through the senses. Our consciousness is going out to its different directions and trying to enjoy. That is the state of affairs in our material existence. We recognize the facts that it is not a desirable situation here. We want to enjoy but we can’t enjoy. Enjoyment is an illusory concept. A poor man wants to be a rich man and a rich man wants to be a king. No one is satisfied in his present existing situation. Either he dwells in the past or dreams about the future. But the real situation is that we are in a miserable condition here. If we are miserable here, then why should we stay here? Let’s find the right place where we can be joyful that’s why we have to make the spiritual endeavor, to go back to the spiritual world. To become situated in our natural joyful state of existence. Thank you. Hare Krishna. Questions Five HH Bhakti Charu Swami answers: Maya means the material energy of the Lord, the illusory energy which actually is manifested in the form of this material nature. It is illusory. It is not there. We are trying to enjoy, but is there any enjoyment? Like a mirage. In a desert, you see a mirage and it gives you the impression that there is water and you are very thirsty, dying of thirst. So you run after the mirage. So what happens? The mirage runs away from you. No matter how fast you ran after the mirage, the mirage will constantly ran away from you. Our situation in the material nature is like that and it’s been created by Maya, the illusory energy of the Lord. Question Six HH Bhakti Charu Swami answers: As long as you remain in material consciousness, you will be in Maya, But once you take shelter of Krsna then you are not in Maya. Thank you very much. So I will stop now, and I will see all of you tomorrow. Hare Krishna. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!!!
SEMINAR ON THE ART OF DYING : PART 2
THE FOLLOWING IS A SEMINAR CLASS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI ON THE ART OF DYING PART TWO.
Transcription: Devina Editing: Hemavati Radhika Dasi
Srila Prabhupada Ki Jai!
So, we are discussing about the art of dying – the way to immortality. Yesterday, we discussed quite extensively about how Srimad Bhagavatam is dealing with this topic. As a matter of fact, Srimad Bhagavatam begins with this problem. Parikshit Maharaj is about to leave his body and Parikshit Maharaja is considering he has only seven days left; now what should he do? And then, Sukadeva Goswami came and instructed him about what he should do, and in this way we can see that Bhagavatam is actually teaching us this specific topic.
The main purpose of Srimad Bhagavatam is actually this art of dying. Now, when one masters this art of dying, then he does not die; that’s the wonderful thing about this art. You master this art, but when you master this art of dying, then you do not die; you achieve immortality. So, immortality is actually the natural consequence of one’s spiritual situation.
When one becomes properly situated in his spiritual identity, then he becomes immortal. To begin with, the living entities are immortal, but we have become subjected to this cycle of birth and death, which is considered to be like a whirlpool. When one falls in a whirlpool, it is very difficult to come out of it – very difficult, I mean practically impossible. He is helplessly drawn into it and this is the whirlpool of "samsara" – "samsara" means the cycle of birth and death; birth and death is cycling constantly. One is born to die and then one dies to be born again. In this respect, Krishna tells in the Bhagavad Gita that "jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyur dhruvam janma mrtasya ca"- "jatasya" means one who is born; for him, "dhruvo mrtyur", for him death is inevitable. For him death is the absolute truth – one who is born must die.www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
Therefore, we see that the atheistic people try to be immortal, but they can’t; they can never become immortal. No one will ever be; no one will ever become immortal in this material nature. They are trying in so many different ways. One classic example of this endeavour to attain immortality is Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu performed such severe austerities that his whole body was eaten up by termites and ants. They made an anthill around his body and his body was within this anthill; and there are many examples in the Vedic Scriptures, of such austerities.
There was another example that has been described in the Ninth Canto – Chyavana Rishi. Chyavana Rishi was performing such austerities that an anthill was created around him, and a princess who was with her father while he was hunting, came across this strange looking anthill. She saw these two holes and there were some bright lights coming out of them and out of curiosity, she poked that with a hairpin and then blood started to come out from there. So, the father was very worried when he came to know and realised that she had hurt some great saintly personality.
So, not only Hiranyakashipu performed great austerities in such a way that an anthill was created around his body. There are many examples of the performance of such austerities. Also, we come across the example of Narada Muni who, when he was travelling, came across a yogi who was performing such austerities that an anthill grew out of his body, not grew, an anthill was created around his body. And then this person asked Narada Muni, "When you go back to Vaikuntha, can you please ask the Lord when He is going to take me back?" So, when Narada Muni came back from Vaikuntha, this yogi asked him, "Did you ask Narayana when He is going to take me to Vaikuntha?" Narada Muni said, "Yes, Narayana said that you have to come back for another lifetime," and this yogi was very upset. He said, "Another lifetime? How can that be? I performed such severe austerities."
So, in this way we can see that through this kind of austerities, or this kind of materialistic endeavour, one can never achieve immortality. Same was the case with Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu’s austerity was actually a classic example of austerity. His whole body was eaten up; only the skeleton was standing. That means his intestines, his lungs, his heart, his brains, everything was eaten up; there was nothing left and his life air was sustained within his bones, in the marrow.
Now, still then Hiranyakashipu could not attain immortality. He was performing such austerities in order to become immortal and then, as a result of his austerities, Brahma became perturbed and Brahma himself came down and asked Hiranyakashipu, "Hiranyakashipu, what do you want?" and Hiranyakashipu said, "Please give me the boon that I will become immortal." Brahma said, "I can’t give that boon because I, myself, am not immortal, so how can I grant you this boon?" So, this is the situation; even up to Brahma, everyone is mortal in this world – "Jatasya hi Dhruvo Mrityu", "whoever is born must die" – there is no exception to this rule.
Brahma is born, but in a very special way. Brahma came straight from the Lord’s navel; directly he came from the Lord through His navel. Still, because he was born, although directly from the Lord, in that sense Brahma is considered to be "aja"- unborn. But still, because he is in the Universe, he is in the material nature, he took birth. Although it is not an ordinary birth, but it is some kind of birth, therefore he must die.www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
And Brahma Samhita describes what is Brahma’s life span; from our calculation, it may appear to be very, very long – but, what is the life span of Brahma? "yasyaika-nisvasita-kalam athavalambya jivanti loma-vila-ja jagad-anda-nathah" Jagad-anda" means "brahmanda" – the Universe and "jagad-anda-nathah" means the Brahmas, not just one Brahma; there are millions of Brahmas. And what is the lifespan of these Brahmas, apparently who live for such a long, long time? What is the duration of Brahma’s day – one thousand chatur yugas. One day of Brahma is one thousand chatur yugas; one chatur yuga is 4.32 million years. And thousand, multiply by one thousand, what have you got – 4.32 billion years.
So, actually, we can’t figure out the difference; at least I can’t figure out the difference between a million and a billion. It’s so big an amount, or big a number, that we can’t figure out the difference. But that is the thing, like it is after all a huge lifespan. But compared to Krishna, not even Krishna – Vishnu, Krishna’s expansion’s expansion’s expansion’s expansion. So, "yasyaika-nisvasita-kalam athavalambya" – one breath of Vishnu is the duration of Brahma’s life. One breath – he exhales and he inhales; that’s it. And then it is said that "visnur mahan sa iha yasya kala-viseso" – he is an expansion of an expansion of Krishna, Govinda.
So, this is what material nature is like; it’s a relative reality. We may think that our lifespan is so short, only a hundred years at the most, but consider if an ant is told, "You know human beings live for such a long time; this is the lifespan of a human being." What will the ant think? He will say, "Come on, I have had enough of that. You know, just go and tell these fairy tales to someone else, not me."
So, this is the meaning of relativity – relative. Now in relation to us, Brahma’s life is very big, but when you go to Brahma, or Brahmaloka (Satyaloka), there you will find they are lamenting, "Oh, we have got such a short span of life."
So, therefore, a person situated in knowledge will not be affected by this consideration of life and death. He is not interested in attaining immortality; rather he says, "Yes, I will die, I will die – but let me master the art of dying." A devotee does not want to avoid death, but he learns; he practises to die the right way. And when one dies the right way, then what happens? He goes back to Godhead, he goes back to Godhead. Like Parikshit Maharaj is one such example; when he found out that his life is going to come to an end soon, he just started to prepare himself for that moment. Another such example is King Khattanga. He fought with the demons on behalf of the demigods. The demigods were pleased with him and they asked him, "So, tell me, what do you want?" He asked, "Tell me, how much time do I have, how am I going to die?" They said, "You only have forty eight minutes left." He said, "Fine, thank you very much for the information," and he went and prepared himself for that moment. So, this is the real intelligence, this is the example of individuals who are situated in knowledge.
Another wonderful way of dying we see are the Pandavas. Pandavas, specially Yudhisthira Maharaj, when he got to know that Krishna left the planet, he felt, "Ok then, what’s the use of staying on this planet any longer? Krishna left, so what am I going to do here?" So, although he was the king of the entire earth planet, when Krishna left, nothing really meant anything to him. Everything became totally insignificant and he decided and just made arrangements, coronated Parikshit Maharaj in the throne and he said, "Ok, I am quitting." "Where are you going?" "I am www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
going out in Mahaprasthan." "Mahaprasthan" means "a great departure" – "a great departure". This is done in a way like one starts to walk towards the Himalayas and he keeps on walking and walking and walking without eating, without drinking, without sleeping – just to make this body totally, totally exhausted, so that the soul would leave the body. And when his other brothers said, "Ok, then we are also going to join you", Yudhisthira Maharaj said, "Do whatever you want, you know, I am not interested. Don’t ask me for permission; if you want to do it then just do it." Then Draupadi said, "Then, I’ll also join you all. You are all leaving, so what am I going to do here?" So, she also left and they started to walk. And one after another, their bodies fell. Draupadi was the first one to fall, then Sahadeva, then Nakula, then Arjuna, then Bhima.
And where did Bhima leave his body – high up in the Himalayan mountain, near Badrikashram. Even by car, it takes a good ten hours – ten hours means, of course it’s a windy mountain road, a very wonderful road. There is nothing on the side of the road, no railings, nothing. And sometimes, this goes five thousand, six thousand feet deep. And sometimes, some cars just go that way and anyway, it’s a long way and mind you, there was no road at that time. And they just kept on walking, they just walked and walked until their body fell. So, what are they doing while they are walking? They are simply absorbed in the thought of Krishna. So when the body fell, they left their body thinking of Krishna.
This is what happens when one masters the art of dying. And Krishna Consciousness is actually the art of dying, in reality; it teaches us how to die. And tomorrow, we will discuss how Prabhupada left his body. And how, many devotees are leaving their bodies. Anyway, today we are going to discuss about the different individuals, different personalities who mastered the art of dying, from Srimad Bhagavatam.
So, one beautiful example is Dhruva Maharaja. When we consider Dhruva Maharaja’s life, it is very interesting – a six year old boy, he wanted to sit on his father’s lap and the father was henpecked by his other wife, Suruchi, Dhruva’s stepmother. She was upset that he was letting him sit on his lap. So, she wanted that her son should become the favourite and although he was young, he should actually succeed the throne. So, she was making all the arrangements; since she was the favourite of the king, the king just listened to her words.
Dhruva was denied the right to sit on his father’s lap and his stepmother actually insulted him and said, "Look, if you want to sit on his lap, then you have to take birth through my womb." Sometimes, some women can be vicious and she was hard – stepson, just a six year old boy, but she is so cruel towards him. Dhruva was a Kshatriya; although only six years old, he was very upset and he decided to take revenge. "Ok, you said that; I will show you." He went back to his mother and told her that this is what happened and he was crying due to this insult, so Dhruva Maharaj’s mother, Suniti, told him, "Actually, Narayana can save you from this situation. He can fulfil your desire to become the king." He said, "Ok, I will get a position from Narayana, even higher than that of my grandfather." That is the situation which is even higher than the situation of Lord Brahma.
Apparently, Dhruva is so attached, but then we see how gradually he is becoming detached. He performs severe austerities; he went to the forest and he was searching for Narayana. He did not know who Narayana was and he was asking everybody, "Are you Narayana?" In the forest, who www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
do you come across – tigers, lions, snakes. And he was asking everybody, "Are you Narayana?" "Are you Narayana?" And then finally, Narada Muni seeing his intensity, seeing his sincerity, came over and told him how to get Narayana. He gave him the mantra and asked him to meditate on the mantra and Dhruva Maharaj was meditating on the mantra in such a way that here also we can see another kind of austerities, but this is a positive austerity – positive, because it is for the sake of Narayana.
Hiranyakashipu’s austerity was negative because it was for his own immortality. Now, this is the advantage of approaching Narayana. So, he approached Narayana; in order to find Narayana, he performed great austerities. He became so absorbed in meditating on the Lord that he stopped eating and he would just eat some dry leaves whenever he had to eat. But, that also, he stopped. He was sustaining himself just by drinking some water; that also, he stopped – stopped drinking, then he stopped breathing.
And then, Narayana came to him. But when Dhruva saw Narayana, then he realised the futility of what he was going to ask from Him and Dhruva said, "What I was actually hankering for and what I had been performing such great austerities and approached You for, appears to be just like some broken pieces of glass. I don’t want that, I simply want Your association. I simply want to be engaged in Your devotional service, I don’t want anything else."
A six year old boy had such profound realisation. But, Narayana told him, "No, since that desire was there in the heart, go through it, go through it." and he became the king. And not only a king, he became so powerful that he defeated the Gandharvas. He was slaughtering the Gandharvas in such a way that Kuvera became worried. He came and said, "Please, stop doing that. Why are you unnecessarily killing?" and that also we can see his younger brother, who was actually his rival to the throne, when that brother was killed by the Gandharvas, he became so angry that he started to wipe out all the Gandharvas. And then Kuvera came and gave him some advice and Dhruva desisted. And then Dhruva Maharaj retired from his household life and he went to the Himalayas to spend the rest of his time in the association of devotees of the Lord in Badrikashram, which is a very holy place and many saintly personalities were residing there.
Dhruva Maharaj went there and he spent his time in the association of those devotees. And then one day, the chariot came from Vaikuntha with two Vishnudutas, Nanda and Sunanda and they came and told him, "Please come, we have come to take you to Vaikuntha." So, Dhruva Maharaj went, took a bath, bade farewell to everybody, circumambulated the chariot three times and when he was about to climb the chariot, he saw death standing with folded hands, "Please bestow your mercy upon me." And how did Dhruva Maharaj bestow his mercy upon him – he put his foot on death’s head to climb the chariot. Now, this is the art of dying; death comes, but how does death come, not as an object of fear, not as someone who is something very, very undesirable but, he just took him in his stride, okay, put his foot on his head to alight the chariot from Vaikuntha. Now that is what actually happens for a devotee. It’s not that a devotee does not die, or we can say it seems that a devotee also dies, but how does he die; how does a devotee die? How does a devotee approach death? Death comes to him, but how – with folded hands. Therefore, it has been described that, "jagbiredhi swayam bhayam" – the personified fear actually is death and it is said that the personified death is afraid of Krishna. So, if we want to conquer death, what is the safest way, the easiest way to do that? Take shelter of Krishna – just www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
take shelter of Krishna, and death will be conquered, death will be overcome. So, this is actually the real art of dying.
Now, another very wonderful example is Prahlada Maharaj; his father wanted to kill him, but what did Prahlada Maharaja do? Did he make any endeavour to struggle against his father’s onslaught? No, he just depended upon Krishna. His mood, or his attitude was, "Well Krishna, if You want me to die, that’s fine." – as Bhaktivinode Thakur is describing, "marobi rakhobi jo iccha tohara" – "whether You want to keep me, or You want to kill me, it’s simply up to You, because I am Your eternal servant," and the servant does not have any free will.
A servant is just sold out to his master; whatever the master wants, he will do that. In that respect, I heard one incidence that the king of Saudi Arabia went to France and they took him to a kind of a tour and showed him a guillotine; they explained how it works and he wanted to have a practical demonstration of how it works – he wanted someone to be placed there and chop his head off and they said, (whoever was taking him around, probably some big government official or minister) "how is it possible?" He said, "Well, in my country there won’t be any problem because their understanding is the slave does not have his will; the master can do anything with the slave."
Of course, it’s very brutal because the masters are not really genuine masters; they are a bunch of idiots – but, when you have a genuine master, he does not subject his servants to torture, or any kind of unpleasant situation; he rather takes care of him. He protects his servants like the Gopis are praying to Krishna in Gopi Gita, "We are Your unpaid maidservants – ashulka dasike – but see what You are doing to us. You are killing us by not appearing in front of us. Our separation from You is going to cause us to die and when we die, what will people say? They will say, "neha kin badha" – look at Krishna what He did; He killed some innocent young girls, who sold themselves up completely to Him without demanding anything in return, without any salary, without any payment." As it is, to kill a woman is bad and to kill a woman who has completely surrendered to oneself and who does not expect any price for that servitorship, to kill that woman is thousand times worse.
So, that is how they were actually provoking Krishna – actually, that was the feelings of their heart, "We are going to die due to Your separation," so in this way we can see that devotees do not want to become immortal; devotees do not want to become immortal – rather, they would prefer to die if necessary, "Krishna, we are dying due to Your separation," so, that is the attitude of a devotee.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is saying, "mama janmani janmanishware," – Mahaprabhu is not saying, "This life I will become Your devotee so please give me liberation," – no, Mahaprabhu is teaching us how to pray to Krishna, or in the mood of a devotee, Mahaprabhu is praying in a perfect way. Like, that life after life we can become your servants, we can be engaged in your service life after life. "Janmani janmanishware", not one life – "janmani" means many, many lives – plural. So that is the mood, that is the attitude for devotees. Like liberation or the prospect of not taking birth again is not at all desirable to a devotee; rather, a devotee is prepared to take birth again and again and again, in order to serve Krishna. So the art of dying actually is to become totally surrendered to Krishna; and then automatically, immortality is achieved – to www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
begin with, one does not die because as we explained or as we discussed yesterday, death is to the body; death is pertaining to the body.
The soul never dies, but actually through death, we change our situation. Like somebody is engaged in serving Krishna; now if Krishna wants him to become situated in another kind of service, Krishna knows what is the best way to serve. So if there is another kind of service, then Krishna makes the arrangement that he takes another birth – takes another birth – he becomes situated in another body, in another kind of environment, another situation. Just like in Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is telling Arjuna, "bahuni me vyatitani janmani tava carjuna" – "many a times I have taken birth and so did you," "tany aham veda sarvani na tvam vettha parantapa" – "but I know about all those births; you don’t." Now, that is the situation of a conditioned soul, spirit soul, not conditioned soul. The spirit soul’s perception is minute; so is his memory – when he changes from one body to another, he generally forgets about his past life. But a devotee simply surrenders unto Krishna; he does not worry about remembering the past. That is not a big deal for a devotee.
Like Bhaktivinode Thakur is saying, "Forget the past that sleeps, never future dream at all; live with the times that are with thee and progress thee shall call." Forget the past because it’s gone, let it sleep. "Forget the past that sleeps, never future dream at all," – don’t dream about your future – just live with the time, that is, what can I do for Krishna now? Not, tomorrow I will serve Krishna, or yesterday I served Krishna, and today let me take a holiday. No, that is not the attitude of a devotee; devotee considers that every single moment is a wonderful opportunity, a golden opportunity to render service unto Krishna, and that is how he actually continues with his life. "Be here now," and only the devotees can properly situate themselves in that understanding.
People may talk about it, but they don’t know how to be here now; because the material platform – this is also an important consideration- the material platform is the platform of time, which is transient. Transient means fleeting – constantly moving. In the material nature, time exists in three phases: past, present, and future. But, when we analyse it carefully then we see that in material nature, time is actually existing in the form of past and future; present is just a fleeting concept. So that is how the time is in the spiritual world, because Krishna is absolute, time related to Krishna is absolute, and those who are related to that time, they are also absolute. Now, how is it possible – we won’t be able to figure out unless we go back to the spiritual world. It’s impossible for us to understand that.
But, that is how it is; in the spiritual world, time is eternal, so when time is eternal, everything and everyone in relation to the time is also eternal. So there is no past and future there; it’s all present because everyone is totally absorbed with Krishna. They are so absorbed with Krishna that they don’t have any time to think about the past, or dream about the future.
In a way, Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur is giving an understanding, some concept – he is saying that when one perceives Krishna, like when he sees Krishna, then all his senses become his eyes. He just sees and he doesn’t have any other senses; he doesn’t smell, he doesn’t taste, he doesn’t touch – all his senses become one sense: vision, eyes. And then the fragrance from the flowers from Krishna’s Lotus Feet somehow enters into his nostrils and then he becomes all nose. He is completely absorbed in just smelling the tulasi leaves, and the flowers at Krishna’s www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
Lotus Feet. Then the sound of Krishna’s flute enters through his ears and he becomes all ears; then he does not see anything, he does not smell anything; so that is how one actually becomes completely absorbed in the present and he does not have any consideration for past and future. Like in the spiritual world, everyone becomes so absorbed in Krishna that he does not have any other perception whatsoever.
Anyway, to go back to our point, Prahlada Maharaj was subjected to the onslaught of his father. His father ordered to kill him. He gave many examples; one of the examples he gave to justify his killing his son – he said, "Disease generates from the body, a disease generates from the body, but one tries to get rid of that disease so that somebody born out of that body is not important. But what he does, that’s what’s important. He said look what this boy is doing; the person who killed his uncle, he is siding with him. He is a traitor; he is a disgrace to the family", and he ordered his big, big generals – Shambhara, Namuchi – they are big, powerful generals; and he said, "Kill this boy," and they immediately took their swords, their tridents, took their other weapons and attacked Prahlada Maharaj, shouting "Kill him, kill him"; just that shout must have been frightening.
Prahlada Maharaj was completely unperturbed and as a result of that, nothing happened to Prahlada Maharaj. Like, what could have happened – they were just trying to cut his body with these weapons, but the weapons went through his body and nothing happened to him; and some weapons just broke – the heavy metal weapons – just by touching Prahlada Maharaj’s body, they just broke into pieces and they were completely surprised. And why they couldn’t do anything to Prahlada Maharaj; because Prahlada Maharaj mastered the art of dying – isn’t it? What is the mastery, what is the way to master the art of dying – meditate upon Krishna, just depend upon Krishna. And Krishna has given His promise that nothing will happen to His devotees, "mad bhakta na pranashyate" – My devotees will never vanquish. So this is how Krishna takes care of His devotees; but of course sometimes we see that devotees die, but when we see that a devotee is dying we have to understand that death came to him like death came to Dhruva Maharaj – with folded hands, begging to receive his mercy – and the devotee put his feet on his head and stepped into the chariot to Vaikuntha.
Now, an interesting thing to note here is, "Have you ever seen a devotee leaving his, or her body?" "No, ok." "Mark one thing, you will see that his or her face looks so, not only serene, but blissful, as if there is a smile on his face. He is completely unaffected; he left the body as if he was seeing Krishna standing in front. Now, as opposed to a devotee’s body, watch a non-devotee’s dead body and from that you know, you can make out who they had been seeing at that time. The non-devotees had been seeing the Yamadutas and the devotees saw Vishnudutas, or Krishna Himself. Now, how can one see Krishna at a time like that? Because one quality of Krishna is that He is grateful; Krishna is grateful.
Those who have dedicated their lives to Krishna, Krishna remembers that these devotees have offered everything to Me; they have sacrificed everything to Me, for My sake. So Krishna is so grateful and we also know that a friend in need is a friend indeed. So what is the greatest need for our friend; when do we need our friend the most? At that time, when we are about to leave this body.www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
So won’t Krishna who is the friend of His devotees; in this respect, one important thing to remember is that Bhishmadeva is addressing Krishna at the time of leaving his body as a friend of Arjuna – "Vijayasakhi". Why he is addressing Krishna with that name, the "friend of Arjuna"? He is actually addressing that point; Krishna is friend; Krishna, You are a friend of Your devotee, so if ever I rendered any devotional service to You, then please become my friend and show Your friendship towards me at this very, very critical time. So this is how Krishna is established as "Vijayasakhi" – the friend of His devotee and Krishna is grateful; one of the qualities of Krishna is He is grateful. Like if we had done a little bit for Krishna, then Krishna will never forget that and He will reciprocate, He will reciprocate. And that’s the advantage of becoming a devotee, and that is the art of dying, and that is the way to conquer death, and that is the way to attain immortality.
Now, another beautiful example of an individual who mastered the art of dying is Gajendra, an elephant; an elephant, he was attacked by a crocodile when he went to sport in the water. Although an elephant is very, very powerful but he was fighting on a foreign place – in water – whereas the crocodile belongs to water. So, although from the normal calculation, an elephant is much stronger than a crocodile, but in the water, the crocodile is stronger; and they fought and fought and fought for a long, long time and then the elephant realised that his strength is now waning and he realised he doesn’t have any chance to rescue himself from this situation. So what did he do; at that time, when he realised now the time has come for me to leave my body, I am going to die, he realised this is the time to remember Krishna.
And as soon as the elephant remembered Krishna, what did Krishna do? As soon as Krishna realised that His devotee is in distress and he is remembering Him, Krishna immediately came there, riding on Garuda. He released the Chakra and chopped the head of the crocodile and rescued Gajendra. So this is another example of an individual who mastered the art of dying. Even an elephant can master, even an animal can master this art; and the result is – what is the result of this mastering this art – he attains immortality.
The benefit of remembering Krishna has been very wonderfully explained through the story of Ajamila. Ajamila actually did not remember Krishna at that time; he saw Yamadutas and he was scared – he was scared to death. He realised, "Well now my time is up; now I have to leave," and he called out to his youngest son, whose name happened to be Narayana; and as soon as he called his name, it was not a pure chanting of the holy name of the Lord – it was "namabhasa" – it was chanted in a clearing stage and as a result of that, immediately Vishnudutas came.
And Prabhupada said that Vishnudutas are actually patrolling around all over; Vishnudutas are flying around in their spaceships. And whenever they hear a devotee is remembering Krishna, immediately they come to their rescue and that is the potency of the Holy Name of the Lord – even if we chant unconsciously, unintentionally.
There is another such example; according to yavana language, a boar is called haram, a pig is called haram. So this guy had been attacked by a boar; he saw the boar coming and just called out haram and what did the Vishnudutas hear? They heard "Ha Rama" and came to his rescue. So this is how the Lord – the Supreme Personality of Godhead – made His divine arrangement to take care of those who have become His devotees.www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
Another wonderful example from Srimad Bhagavatam about a person who mastered the art of dying is Chitraketu, who became Vritrasura. Chitraketu was a king, a very powerful king and although he had everything, he was unhappy because he did not have a son. Angira Rishi was visiting him one day and noticed that the king was looking very morose, very unhappy; so he asked him, "What happened, you have everything, you are such a powerful king, you have subdued all your enemies and you have everything to enjoy – how come you are still unhappy?" Then Chitraketu confided in him that he didn’t have a son, he didn’t have a successor to the throne.
Although he married so many beautiful princesses, none of them could bear a son for him. So then Angira said, "Ok if that is what you want, I will fulfil your desire but be sure that while your son will be the cause of your joy, he will also be the cause of your distress." And he thought you know just as sometimes children are naughty and cause some distress, but after all I’ll get a son, so he was very happy. In due course of time, he got a son, but Chitraketu became so attached to the son and the mother of the son, Kritaduti, that Chitraketu started to neglect his other wives and not only did he neglect his other wives, but he also started to neglect his royal responsibilities.
So, the queens became very envious, ministers became concerned about how the kingdom will go on like this. And then these envious queens one day decided to poison the boy and they thought that if we kill this boy, then the king’s attention will be reverted towards us, so they poisoned the boy and when the boy died, the king was submerged in an ocean of agony along with the queen, Kritaduti.
At that time Rishi Angira came along with Narada Muni and the king was begging, "Please do something, please bring my son back to life." So, Narada Muni said, "Ok, I’ll do that," and he went and called the boy, "Why are you leaving? Don’t you see that your parents are in such anguish?" Then the boy came back to life, he sat up and he asked Narada Muni, "Which parents are you talking about? I had so many parents, but which ones are you talking about?"
And just these words of wisdom from this boy enlightened the king. He realised the futility of material existence, we are here only for a short while. We take birth, stay here for some time, then we go and then again we come back and in this way it goes on and on and on, or it is going on since time immemorial. We all are travelling "yantrarudhani mayaya"; we are travelling in some machines that have been designed by maya.
This body is actually a machine, like a very wonderful motor car – far superior to a motor car. Motor cars are replicas of this machine. This human body has such incredible ability that no machine, no matter how sophisticated that machine is, will compare as nothing to this human body or any body as such. If we think about it a little deeply, we can see what a wonderful machine this is, and after all it is a machine. To give an example what a wonderful machine this is, the two machines get together and a third machine is produced, right? And in this way, it goes on and on and on.
Another kind of machine is the trees, one little fruit and inside the fruit there are thousands of seeds; like consider a fig and how many seeds are there in that fig and in each seed there is a tree, www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
there is a fig tree. In that tree, there are innumerable fruits and in each fruit there are thousands of seeds.
This is what Prabhupada told me once – Prabhupada had a prune and after eating the prune, Prabhupada held the seed in his hand and he told me, "Inside this, there is a tree, and in that tree there are innumerable fruits, and in each fruit there is a seed, and in that seed there is a tree, and in that tree there are innumerable fruits, and in those fruits there are seeds, and in that seed there is a tree," and then Prabhupada said, "Can any scientist produce something like this, can they manufacture something like this – and still they want to compete with Krishna."
So, anyway this is how wonderful Krishna’s creation is and this is how wonderful our bodies are and in these bodies the soul is situated and then the soul travels according to the modes of material nature, "urdhvam gacchanti sattva-stha madhye tisthanti rajasah jaghanya-guna-vrtti-stha adho gacchanti tamasah" – those who are situated in the mode of goodness they go up, those who are in the mode of passion, they remain here, and those who have become affected by the abominable mode of ignorance, they go down to the lower species of life.
So, in this way, living entities are constantly travelling – sometimes going up, sometimes going down, like in a Ferris wheel. So, Chitraketu realised that, that living entities are just travelling in this body, in different bodies, in this way and we, due to our ignorance, become attached to those bodies, thinking that they are our children, or relatives, friends; so Chitraketu begged Narada Muni to bless him with spiritual knowledge and Narada Muni gave him the mantra and Chitraketu started to meditate on the mantra and by chanting on the mantra, Chitraketu was so elevated that he became the king of the Gandharvas and then he was travelling. He had the ability to travel throughout the universe in his personal spaceship, not spaceship, personal travelling planet; he had a planet of his own and the planet was travelling around.
And then while he was flying around in that way on his own planet, one day he saw Lord Shiva sitting with Parvati, surrounded by all exalted personalities; very, very exalted sages and brahmanas. And Lord Shiva was naked and Parvati was sitting on his lap. So Chitraketu smiled and said, "Look at him, he is sitting in such an exalted assembly but look at his state." Lord Shiva did not mind that Chitraketu thought that way because Lord Shiva knew Chitraketu’s exalted position, so he didn’t mind that, but Parvati couldn’t tolerate that. Parvati immediately cursed Chitraketu, "Look at that impudent fool, he dares to speak like that, so I curse him that he will become a demon."
Of course before that Bhagavatam also explains that Chitraketu was actually so exalted that he could counter curse Parvati, because Parvati’s curse was not fair; because of the way Chitraketu perceived the behaviour of an exalted personality, from his point of view, he was right and that’s why Lord Shiva was silent; he didn’t say anything.
But Chitraketu, because he was a devotee of the Lord, just accepted it and that is the situation of a devotee – whether he is blessed, or he is cursed, he accepts both as the mercy of the Lord and then Chitraketu became a demon – Vritrasura – but he was so powerful a demon that he defeated Indra, he defeated Indra – took away his kingdom.www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
Now, Indra was in great distress and he wanted to do something to regain his kingdom, so he approached Vishnu Narayana and then Vishnu advised, "Ok, the only thing that can kill Chitraketu is thunder that can be made from the bones of a great sage called Dadhichi." So Indra went to Dadhichi and asked him, "Will you kindly give me your bones because Vritra has to be killed and the only way he can be killed is by the thunder made out of your bones?" This way we can see Indra, who was not actually adept in the art of dying, behaved in such a way, like his only concern was his own selfish benefit. But, Dadhichi was so exalted a personality (he actually was a person who knew the art of dying) that he said, "Well, after all this body is temporary and eventually this body will become the food for insects and worms, so what if this body can be used in some good cause, why not?"
So he gave his bones – that means he had to leave his body and with his body, thunder was made; Vishwakarma made the thunder and with becoming powerful with this thunder, Indra challenged Vritra to battle and Vritra knew that the Lord’s desire is that now he will die. But still as a Kshatriya, he accepted that situation, he came to the battlefield to fight with Indra, with his soldiers, his army and now becoming powerful with the thunder, the demigods became so powerful that their onslaught was unbearable for the demons – Vritra’s soldiers – and they started to run away from the battlefield and Vritra was standing alone in the battlefield still, ready to fight with Indra. And with his mace, he hit Indra so hard that Indra’s elephant, Airavata, took ten steps back and thunder fell out of Indra’s hand and Indra was completely baffled and embarrassed.
He was just standing there unarmed; Vritra could have killed him at that time but Vritra said, "It is not to be, like I know I am going to die in this battle, the thunder has been created to kill me. So Indra pick up the thunder; this is not the time to become baffled, pick up the thunder and come fight."And then Indra picked up the thunder and the fight ensued and the fight was so terrible that Indra cut Vritra’s right hand; Vritra was fighting with his left hand – Indra cut off his left hand with his thunder. Then Vritrra was fighting with his legs and Indra cut off the legs of Vritra; then Vritra assuming a huge form, swallowed up Indra and Indra from within Vritra’s belly, cut open the belly with the thunder and came out and then he applied the thunder to cut Vritra’s head.
It took thunder three hundred and sixty five days to cut Vritra’s head. Now Sri Vishwanath Chakravati Thakur makes the point here, he said, "Actually, Vritra didn’t die, it’s Indra who died." When Vritra swallowed up Indra, then he considered, "Well my job has been finished so now let me leave my body," so he left his body and went to the abode of Shankarshana in the spiritual sky. So, this is another wonderful example of an individual from Srimad Bhagavatam who mastered the art of dying.
Now, what is the result of mastering this very special art from all these examples, all these anecdotes – what did you learn – that when one masters this art, what happens to him? He becomes immortal. And what is this art ultimately – remember Krishna all the time and never forget Him; especially at the time of difficulties, remember Krishna. Now one may be practising devotional service, one may be practising the art of mastering this subject but if he practises properly then he will be able to practically apply this art when the time comes. Thank you all very much. Hare Krishna.
SEMINAR ON THE ART OF DYING : PART 3
THE FOLLOWING IS A SEMINAR CLASS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI ON THE ART OF DYING PART THREE.
Transcription : Kalindi Dasi, Ranga Radhika Dasi, Mohanlal Krishna Dasa, Archana Dasi, Shyamal Krishna Dasa
Editing : Hemavati Radhika Dasi
Audio Reference :
Hare Krishna. So the last couple of days we have been discussing about ‘The Art Of Dying’, the way to immortality. If we know how to die, then we become immortal that means if we know how to die, then we can conquer death. And that is what Srimad Bhagavatam is teaching us. Srimad Bhagavatam or the Vedic scriptures are actually showing us the way to immortality. So Amrtitataya kalpate. Amritatya means immortality. Amrita means non-death, or immortality and amritattaya means the way to achieve that immortality. So the first day, that is the day before yesterday, we discussed about what death actually means and we concluded that death is to the body but the soul never dies. Therefore, as long as we indentify ourselves with the body we become susceptible to death. But when we recognize ourselves as the spirit soul, then we immediately transcend death or conquer death. And that is what Srimad Bhagavatam and other Vedic scriptures are teaching us. One of the first things that the Vedas are teaching us is that there are two things that we perceive in this world. One is inert matter and the other is living beings. Like if we analyze the world around us, then we can immediately consider that there are these two things. Some things are inert, and some things are living. BCS: "Right? Are you living, or are you inert?" Devotee: "Living." BCS: "Very good. And this table is it living or inert?" Devotee: "Inert." BCS: "Now what makes something inert, and what makes something living? Okay, let us put it this way. Say somebody is alive, somebody is living. And when that person dies, is he living or is he inert?"www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
Devotee: "Inert" BCS: Yes, the body becomes inert. Now what causes something to be alive and something to be dead? The presence of the soul and absence of the soul. Now this is a science that we must try to understand. And this is what the Vedas are actually teaching. The Vedic wisdom is mainly dealing with this science. The science of the spiritual reality. We have informations about material nature – like in different schools and colleges and the universities, we learn about this material world. But there is an acute lack of the informations about the spiritual reality, which is the most important thing. The Vedas consider that that is the most important knowledge. And not only the Vedas, the wise men, the wise people in the past, both in the East and West, both went to that area, like the science of the spiritual reality. Beyond this material nature there is another reality that is the spiritual reality. And the Vedas and other scriptures provide information about that reality. And when you receive proper information from those realities or when you understand that reality then we become situated in real knowledge. And what that knowledge does to us? That knowledge gives us immortality. Just by getting proper information we can very easily conquer death and become immortal. Nobody wants to die, nobody wants to die, but no one can avoid death. That is the mystery. Everybody or rather nobody wants to die, but everybody will be subjected to death, everybody will die. Now one simple question here is, or one simple consideration here is that why nobody wants to die? Why nobody wants to die? What will be the simple answer to that question? Why nobody wants to die? Yes Sita [Inaudible answer.] Right, because the soul is immortal. Soul never dies, and we are spirit souls. But the problem is that when we identify ourselves with the body, when we begin to think that this body is ourselves, and then we cannot avoid death. But the simplest way to avoid death, or conquer death, is by recognizing the fact that we are not this body but we are spirit souls. Our bodies are alive because the soul is in the body. As long as the soul is in the body then the body remains alive. As soon as the soul leaves the body, the body becomes dead. Isn’t it? I presume that everyone present here believes in the existence of soul. Does everyone believe in soul, the existence of the soul-please raise your hand. Okay, so it becomes easy for me to make my presentation. Okay, then yesterday we discussed about, we actually narrated the incidents or anecdotes of different personalities from Srimad-Bhagavatam who have mastered the art of dying. Do you all remember who they are, who are the ones that we discussed yesterday? Yes, Sita, Gajendra-very good. Gajendra is an elephant – isn’t it amazing – even an elephant can master the art of dying? Right? Cintamani? Ajamila. Ratnavali? – Citraketu or Vrtrasura Tulasi. Prahlad Maharaja – very good Lalita? Druva Maharaja-okay (laughing).
So in this way we can see that Srimad Bhagavatam is actually giving a very very definite understanding of the individuals who conquered death and how they conquered death. Now comes the next question; what is the way to conquer death? What is the art of conquering death? Remember, the surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord. When we take shelter of Krishna, then we immediately conquer death. And Krishna takes care of that. We cannot take care of death-he is too strong of an enemy for us. He is too strong an enemy for us. So when you have a very strong enemy what’s the best way to defeat him? You join somebody or approach somebody who is stronger than your enemy and ask him to fight for you, right? Then very easily you can defeat your enemy. So the best way to defeat and conquer this enemy death is by taking shelter of Krishna.www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
So today we are going to discuss about, I will tell you about how Prabhupada … How we saw Prabhupada teaching us how to master the art of dying and conquer death and attain immortality. And I’ll also tell you some other incidences that we have practically experienced and then, you all remember what I suggested yesterday. Then I will request you all to narrate some experiences that you may have. Like yesterday mother Krishna Priya narrated one incidence of some devotee’s mother how she actually conquered death. How many of you prepared yourself? Please raise your hands. How many of you have some stories to tell? Mother Krishna Priya, who else? Yes? Okay. Devaki, you have? Okay. So Accordingly I will make my presentation.
So we actually learned about this science or this art because of Srila Prabhupada. Personally, I can say that if I didn’t come across Srila Prabhupada I wouldn’t have known anything about this subject. Immortality of soul, surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, these were all very strange topics to be even been considered. But then somehow or other we came in contact with Srila Prabhupada and then by coming in contact with Srila Prabhupada and his devotees and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books we have been able to master this science. So Prabhupada is the first person who actually taught us this science. And Srila Prabhupada was a perfect teacher. How does a perfect teacher teach? The perfect teacher teaches by his own example. That’s why he is called ‘Acharya’. Acharya: acharan means to act, and one who teaches by his own action is called Acharya. He just doesn’t simply say do this and do that, but he practically demonstrates how to act. I will first narrate how I saw Srila Prabhupada teaching this very important subject.
In 1977 Srila Prabhupada’s health condition became quite bad and it started to deteriorate. Then one admirer of Srila Prabhupada, not one, two of them, they’re very important people, one was a governor of Madras and the other person was his brother in law, who was a very big industrialist in India. Ramakrishna Bajaj, he is the chairman of the Bajaj industries and his brother in law, Sriman Narayana, he was the governor of Madras. They came to see Srila Prabhupada in Bombay and when they saw Srila Prabhupada’s health condition was not so good, so they just suggested that Prabhupada went to Hrishikesh, on the bank of the Ganges at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Prabhupada liked the idea and they made the arrangement for Srila Prabhupada to go there. They arranged one of the best houses there at that time, right on the bank of the Ganges, called ‘Ganga Darshan’. So few of us accompanied Srila Prabhupada.
And then we were having a beautiful time with Srila Prabhupada there. One night, at about one o’clock, I was attending to Srila Prabhupada. One of us used to be with Srila Prabhupada all the time. Especially at night we used to have our shifts and my shift was from twelve to two to be with Srila Prabhupada at night. Just in case Prabhupada needed something. So Prabhupada called me. He was lying in his bed and he called me and he told me that, "The time has come for me to leave my body, so I want to leave my body in Vrindavana. So please make arrangements for me to go to Vrindavana immediately." So I ran downstairs and woke up Tamal Krishna Maharaja and told him what Prabhupada said. Tamal Krishna Maharaja immediately ran upstairs to Srila Prabhupada and Prabhupada told him the same thing that, "The time has come for me to leave my body and I want to leave my body in Vrindavana. So make arrangement for me to go to Vrindavana immediately."
So that night only we packed everything up and in the morning we left for Vrindavana. On the way we stopped in Delhi and the next morning we left for Vrindavana. The devotees in www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
Vrindavana were very, very happy that Prabhupada came back all of a sudden. There were hundreds of devotees at that time and they were ecstatic that Prabhupada came back to Vrindavana. And then Prabhupada had the darshana of the Deities and after the darshana of the Deities Prabhupada went to his room and went to his house. There was a big room where Prabhupada used to give darshana and all the devotees followed Srila Prabhupada and there Srila Prabhupada broke the news why Srila Prabhupada came to Vrindavana. The ecstasy of all the devotees immediately turned into agony and they started to cry. And Prabhupada very mercifully kept on explaining that how this body is always changing. Prabhupada quoted this verse, Prabhupada first explained how death is inevitable for everyone and then Prabhupada quoted the verse from Bhagavad Gita, dehino’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara tatha dehantara praptir dhiras tatra na muhyate [Bg. 2.13]. This body goes through different changes, from childhood to boyhood, to youth, to old age, but although the body changes, the person remains the same. We do not change. The body changes, but in spite of the change of the body, we do not change. But in spite of the change of the body, we do not change. Similarly, when we change this body all together, we continue to exist. We simply "tatha dehantara-praptih": we get into another body. In this body the body goes through different changes. With time from childhood to boyhood to youth to old age. And then, when the body becomes old, and uninhabitable for the soul, then the soul leaves the body in order to take up another body. Srila Prabhupada explains "dhiras tatra na muhyati". One who is dhira, one who is situated in real knowledge, he doesn’t become overwhelmed with these affairs of birth and death. Death doesn’t perturb a person who is situated in knowledge, in real knowledge.
When everyone left, Srila Prabhupada called me and told me not to force him to eat, and not to cook for him. He said, "what is the use of eating when there is no appetite?" So Srila Prabhupada just gave us the ultimatum, so as to say "don’t force me to eat anything". That means Srila Prabhupada was going to fast. To me it occurred at that time that like Pariksit Maharaja now Srila Prabhupada was going to stop eating and in this way Srila Prabhupada would give up his body. There was nothing that we could do. I told Tamala Krishna Maharaja who was Srila Prabhupada’s secretary at that time, his main assistant. Both of us felt extremely helpless. What can we do, Srila Prabhupada just said that he is not going to eat anything. Srila Prabhupada is going to fast, and in this way Srila Prabhupada is going to give up his body.
Then devotees came from all around the world. The leading devotees gathered in Vrindavan. In just two, three days time they all converged in Vrindavan. They had a meeting. Since I was serving Srila Prabhupada I was not in that meeting. But after the meeting they all came, all the GBC’s and sannyasis, all the leading devotees. They came to Srila Prabhupada’s room.
[- Jaya Sri Sri Radha Golokananda ki Jaya -].
Kirtanananda Maharaja presented to Srila Prabhupada. In a meeting it was discussed and decided that Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee of Krishna. So if Srila Prabhupada desires something or wants something, then Krishna will comply. If Srila Prabhupada wanted to stay, then Krishna would let Srila Prabhupada stay. They considered if Srila Prabhupada left at that time, then what would happen to all of us. Already we were just like a bunch of children. If Srila Prabhupada left, we would become orphans and what would happen to us? Kirtanananda Maharaja presented that to Srila Prabhupada, he as the spokesman of all the devotees told Srila Prabhupada: "We are www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
your little children. We are so young in our spiritual life, and if you leave us at this time, then what will happen to us. Please stay, please don’t leave us. You’re a pure devotee of Krishna. If you want to stay on, then Krishna will obviously grant your desire." Then Srila Prabhupada smiled and said "OK, then I’ll stay". And all the devotees became so joyful. Srila Prabhupada also said at that time "but you all pray to Krishna – that Krishna, if You so desire then let Srila Prabhupada stay on with us."
Srila Prabhupada, for the last three days didn’t eat or drink anything. But from time to time I used to make some fruit juice, just in case Srila Prabhupada wanted something. And Srila Prabhupada sat up and said "give me something to drink". I had some grape juice ready, so I just gave it to him. Srila Prabhupada was very happy. He decided to stay. Srila Prabhupada started to eat also and I started to cook for Srila Prabhupada.
Then one day after eating, taking his lunch Srila Prabhupada was sitting. Srila Prabhupada used to take his lunch sitting on a seat like this and there used to be a table. Srila Prabhupada used to eat from that table. He was just sitting on that table and asked me whether I knew where Gopinath Bazar was in Vrindavan. That was my first visit to Vrindavan. I didn’t know. I never even stepped out of the temple. But I told Srila Prabhupada, tell me what you want, and I can find out. Srila Prabhupada said: "Go to Gopinath Bazar. There is an Ayurvedic doctor called Banumalika Viraja and you ask him to come. He knows me, he treated me earlier. Ask him to come and treat me". I went and found Banumalika Viraja. He was a very old man, over 90, I think at that time he was 92 years old. When I told him that Srila Prabhupada wanted him to come, he said: "look, I can’t go anywhere. I just come from house to my clinic. I just give my prescription and medicines from here, but I can’t go anywhere". I told him, I will take you in a rickshaw. He said: "Rickshaw? With every bump of the rickshaw my bones will crack". He was really a very old man. Then I begged him: "Please come, Srila Prabhupada wanted you to come". Finally he agreed and complied. He came. He checked Srila Prabhupada and then he considered that the medicine that he would give, he will have to make them; make the medicine just before giving it to Srila Prabhupada. I told him: "Then you can stay in our guesthouse. We will make all the arrangements for you". He said: "No I can’t stay here. I have to go back home to my place". Then I told him: "you can show me how to make the medicine and I can make it". He accepted that idea. He took me to the field and he showed me two types of leaves, two plants. One plant is called punarnava, and the other is called patharkuchi. He showed me how to take the juice out of these leaves and then he gave two salts. He asked me to mix the salt in the juice and give it to Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada’s condition started to improve. He got better. But when Srila Prabhupada got better, he was feeling restless. Srila Prabhupada didn’t want to stay in Vrindavan like that lying in bed. He wanted to go to preach to the West. I told that to Banumalika Viraja that Srila Prabhupada is planning to leave. He said: "Please don’t let him go now. The medicine is working. His health condition is improving. During winter I’ll give him a medicine called makaratach and that will rejuvenate him. That will build him up. But it is a very strong medicine. He won’t be able to digest that medicine now. By that time his health will improve and also the cold of the winter will help him to retain that medicine." So I told Tamal Krishna Maharaja that Banumalika Viraja is saying that. Tamal Krishna Maharaja told me that: "look, Srila Prabhupada wants to go, so what to do?"www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
Then Srila Prabhupada finally decided to go. He decided to go to London, and then from London to New York; from New York to the West Coast, and from Los Angeles to Hawaii. He wanted to stay in Hawaii and translate Srimad Bhagavatam. So when Srila Prabhupada decided to leave, one couldn’t stop him actually. But of course later on I often used to lament that why didn’t I become a little more forceful, and tell the other senior devotees, the GBC members that the doctor said this, that Srila Prabhupada shouldn’t travel. But at that time I was very new in the movement. I was very young in that respect. And also at that time there was no way of knowing that Srila Prabhupada’s condition could deteriorate so much. The day Srila Prabhupada was leaving, he asked me. Srila Prabhupada was all dressed up at night, and he was sitting in this rocking chair in his room, and I was sitting at his feet. Srila Prabhupada asked me: "aren’t you coming?" I said: "No, Srila Prabhupada, I don’t have my passport with me". Then Srila Prabhupada said: "ok, then you join me in Hawaii".
So at that time anyway Srila Prabhupada left and I went back to Mayapur. Actually Bhavananda Maharaja came to Vrindavan and he also went to the airport to see Srila Prabhupada off. After that he asked me: "what are you going to do now?" I said: "I didn’t have any plans". He said: "let’s go to Mayapur". So he and I went to Mayapur. I stayed in Mayapur for about 10 days or 12 days. Then I received one afternoon – I was giving a class of Nectar of Devotion to the new bhaktas. I received a telegram that said Srila Prabhupada was in Vrindavan. The same day, the next morning I went to Delhi, and then I went to Vrindavan. Srila Prabhupada went back, his health condition deteriorated in London. So he cancelled his plan to travel and he went back to India. First he went to Bombay, and then to Vrindavan.
When I arrived in Vrindavan, it was evening. Upendra prabhu who was Srila Prabhupada’s servant, he told me that Srila Prabhupada had some cold, and some medicine had been given to Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada was taking rest, he was sleeping. And he [Upendra prabhu] said : come in. So he took me to Srila Prabhupada’s room. The room was quite dark, there was a dim light and it was full of frank incense. I saw Srila Prabhupada was lying on his bed, and I could see his body became so thin, that it looked as if it was on the same level with the bed. His head was propped on that pillow. At one time Srila Prabhupada woke up coughing. Upendra prabhu went to Srila Prabhupada and told him that I came. Srila Prabhupada told him to ask me to come to him. I went there to Srila Prabhupada’s bed. Srila Prabhupada asked me to help him sit up. So I helped him to sit up, and then with the pillows I propped him so that he could sit. I could see that Srila Prabhupada became so thin. I told him: "Srila Prabhupada, you became so thin". Srila Prabhupada said: "yes, now this body is just a set of bones in a bag of skin". It was indeed a set of bones in a bag of skin. He became so emaciated. Srila Prabhupada became so thin and weak, at that time he couldn’t even turn to his side. We had to help him to turn to his side. If we were not careful enough, then Srila Prabhupada would feel pain if we did not handle him carefully enough.
But still Srila Prabhupada was translating Srimad Bhagavatam. The last few chapters of Srimad Bhagavatam that Srila Prabhupada translated 10, 11, 12, 13d were actually in that state, lying on his bed. He used to just lie down on his bed and Pradyumna prabhu who was Srila Prabhupada’s Sanskrit editor, he used to write the Sanskrit verses and Srila Prabhupada used to give the translation and the purports of the verses. And one devotee, often it was Jayadvaita Maharaja who used to hold the microphone of the Dictaphone in front of Srila Prabhupada’s mouth. www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
Pradyumna prabhu used to recite the verses and Srila Prabhupada used to translate. This is how Srila Prabhupada taught us how to serve Sri Krishna irrespective of physical condition. The last drop of his energy was used in serving Krishna, serving His mission. In this way Srila Prabhupada actually taught us how to leave this body; how to prepare ourselves. That time Srila Prabhupada’s health condition did not deteriorate that much. I used to cook for Srila Prabhupada, but Srila Prabhupada could not eat. He used to make an effort – one or two bites, but he couldn’t even swallow that.
One day Srila Prabhupada told me: "why are you wasting your time cooking for me while you have so many things to do?" He said: "let somebody else cook, you don’t have to cook". I told Srila Prabhupada: "I cook with an expectation that someday you would like to eat something. Some day you would feel better and you would like to eat something". Srila Prabhupada said: "I will only get better when I die". And just that statement was so, it came to me with such a shocking effect that I broke down. Very affectionately, full of compassion, Srila Prabhupada started to speak. He said: "Is this what I taught you? Didn’t I teach you that this body is perishable but the soul is eternal, and the soul never dies"? In this way Srila Prabhupada spoke, explaining the immortality of the soul.
When Srila Prabhupada left his body, also it was very exemplary. But I don’t want to get into that. But a few things that Srila Prabhupada told, I want to mention here. One thing Srila Prabhupada said that if I become unconscious I don’t want to be taken to the hospital. And he said that nothing should pierce his body, no needle, no drips, nothing should pierce his body. His body should be completely untouched. And sometimes some very strange things used to happen. Like one doctor was treating Srila Prabhupada, his name is Damodar Prasad Sastri, he was brought from Kolkata, and he was also an ayurvedic doctor. So Damodar Prasad once was telling to Prabhupada: "Prabhupada, I can’t understand you." He said; "Sometimes your heart is so feeble and faint that it seems that it is going to stop, but the next moment I see your heart is strong as a young man’s heart."He said this is all your pastimes. So in this way, this doctor also made us realize, that all Prabhupada was doing his pastimes. He was not subject to the condition of this body. This is how we can understand that a pure devotee although dwells in his body, remains in his body but he is not affected by the body; rather his body becomes spiritualized.
In this way what Srila Prabhupada thought us is actually how to die, how to leave our body. His whole teaching was based on that. His most emphatic teaching was you are not your body, you are a spirit soul. Time and time again, Srila Prabhupada made this point very clear, you are not your body you are spirit soul. Prabhupada would just stick to this one point, tenaciously. You are not this body, you are spirit soul. And now we see if we understand just this fact, if we can realize this fact, so most of our problems will be solved, and we will become situated in our spiritual identity.
And we see how different individuals have been affected by Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. I want to mention just two incidences. One is a very simple Gujarati lady in London, she is not a big scholar, she is not a front line devotee, and she is just a simple house wife. In 1998, the doctors detected that she got cancer and it was quite at an advanced stage, and the doctor told her husband and daughter, and did not tell her and they were quite worried how to break the news to her, that she had cancer and she had at the most six months and finally when they told her she www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
was completely unaffected by that. Her husband was more affected by this news than her, he was completely devastated actually. Then her condition improved from time to time and when her condition improved, she would go to the temple and render some service. Although she had cancer, she did not have much time and it was in a quite advanced stage, but she was completely unaffected by that. Not only that she travelled to Vrndavan and Mayapur and she wanted to just stay in Mayapur, then they phoned me and told me that she is planning to stay in Mayapur but the problem is, she has to go back to London to continue with the treatment, because those treatments were not available in India. So I told her and she complied, she went back to London. She was still with us till the summer of 2000 and at that time I was in New Vrndavan, shooting for Abhay Charan, New Vrndavan’s episode. I used to speak to her from time to time. I used to phone her from time to time, and I was told that the doctor said that she had maximum about 7 days, that is what her daughter told me. When I was speaking to her she just mentioned that the night before she had a dream and she saw that I came, that I was there. And when I heard that it was her last desire and she was going to leave her body, I decided that I will go to see her.
So I dropped everything and I took a flight to London. So when I arrived there, those who came to pick me up, they told me that they are driving me to the place where I will be staying then I would see her at about three o’clock in the afternoon after I have rested a little. I said: "No. I will just go straight, I came to see her let me just go and see her." So I was going there, I thought she will be bed ridden and completely unable to move, but when I arrived there she just got out of her bed to offer obeisances. I tried to stop her but she would not stop. She just got out of her bed and offered obeisances. Her main consideration was that she is not the body, so she does not care what happens to the body. This is the profundity and the effect of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. She realized although she is not a very educated person, although she is not a big devotee in that sense, although philosophically she is not very knowledgeable probably, but she understood this point that she is not her body, she is a spirit soul. So she was not at all affected by the body’s incompetence’s.
I went there on 27th of July; finally she left her body on the 20th of August. I was not there; I had to go back to New Vrndavan because we were in the middle of the shooting. I stayed there for four to five days and then went back. I was told and I saw the picture also that, when she was leaving her body, she was chanting the Holy Name. At the time of leaving her body, she had a bead bag in her hands, and she took the bead bag, placed it on her forehead and she left her body. Now what kind of, not only conviction, but spiritual realization I would say, one must have to leave one’s body in this way?
Another person that I often think of, who also left her body in a very exemplary way; a young girl she was probably 23 to 24, a girl from Pune. They used to live in Bombay before and then they shifted to Pune. She is a disciple of Radhanath Maharaja. Her name is Shyama Sundari. She was a very very vibrant young girl. I first met her in 1997 and she was like enthusiasm personified; at that time probably she was 16, she was still in school, 16, 17 maybe even younger and she had an elder sister who was very sober , calm and grave, but the younger sister was completely opposite, she was extremely vibrant and full of life, full of enthusiasm. Recently about 2 years back, she developed some sort of complication of the stomach. There was no cure for that, there was no allopathic cure. They tried everything, and then ayurvedic, homeopathic; I think there was some result from the ayurvedic or homeopathic treatment and her condition www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
improved a little bit. And few months ago and then when that happened to her, she had completely changed, she became very grave, very profound also, she used to. One day I was talking to her and she was telling me, that well I have accepted that it is going to happen, I know I am going to die and it does not really matter, I am not afraid; and it was so enlivening to hear such words of wisdom from such a young girl then her condition improved; although her condition improved, but her nature, she remained the same. Like she did not get back to her vibrant self anymore, she was very composed and very serene. And recently she actually left her body and this happened very suddenly. She was alright and she appeared in her exams. She did her final year at university, that day she got her result and she was telling to her mom and her mother was telling how she was proud of her. She did very well in her studies. And all of a sudden she got this pain in her stomach, she was taken to the hospital; they could not do anything because her internal bleeding started and they could not do anything. They put her into intensive care and she was unconscious with oxygen and everything and then she came back to her external consciousness, she asked them to take off the oxygen and all that she had in her body, like drips, "Please take this out, I don’t want that." She asked the devotees who were there at that time to chant the Holy Name and just for that brief moment of consciousness she gained she just made the arrangement, ask everybody to chant, she took off the oxygen, she took off the drips and she also started to chant herself and she left her body. Now this is the real proof of the authenticity of what Srila Prabhupada gave and this is how one actually attains immortality, conquering death.
There are many such others instances, two other instances. I was not there when he passed away, like is Upendra Prabhu. Upendra Prabhu was Prabhupada’s servant, we served Srila Prabhupada together and he was a wonderful, wonderful servant, but he had a wild mind, he was quite wild that Prabhupada sometimes would chastise him and anyway he had problems with his mind and senses. Soon after Prabupada left, Upendra just disappeared, no one knew. Only once I met him, he came to Mayapur and I just saw him. But he felt deep into Maya and then he developed some disease, incurable disease and when he realized he was going to die, although he was far? far away from the devotees’ community, he just arrange to come to the devotees’ community, he went to Murilumba, New Govardhan in Australia and devotees also were very supportive, so they took care of him very nicely and he left his body, hearing the holy Name and chanting the Holy Name.
So we can see although he was so far away from Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet at that time. And this is how the devotees actually make or create the good fortune for others. And that’s why association of devotees is so important. At the time of death it’s going to be very, very difficult. We lose our consciousness, we wouldn’t know where to go, how to direct our mind, how to direct our consciousness. But if we remain in the association of devotees then they will help us. So in this way Upendra prabhu left, chanting the holy name, hearing the holy name in the association of devotees. There are so many such wonderful examples. Another person that I just remember is, he’s a God-brother, he was a sannyasi before; Sudama Maharaja. He also left the association of devotees after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. But when he realized that time is nearing he came back to the association of devotees and I heard that he also left his body in a wonderful wonderful way.www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
Devotee: "I had a question Guru Maharaja. You were with Srila Prabhupada when he left his body and you accompanied him for a long time; you were very close to him. What would you say was the greatest I (unclear) before you personally I (unclear)."
BCS: "That this material nature, our existence in the material nature and our involvement with this material objects is not important at all. Srila Prabhupada, I didn’t get into when Srila Prabhupada left his body; ah like the most important thing that Srila Prabhupada indicated through his final pastimes, was his implicit and total attachment to the holy Name. Anyways I didn’t, I thought that I wouldn’t go into describing Srila Prabhupada’s final pastimes because sometime it becomes a very painful thing to describe and narrate. But anyway I will just try to say it in brief. In the morning we got to know that Srila Prabhupada will leave his body, the doctor who came from Calcutta, Damodara Prasad, he said that Prabhupada will be with us for about ten hours. No I’m sorry, fourteen hours, it was five o’clock. It was quite precise actually, and Srila Prabhupada stayed with us for another fourteen hours; and he said something like twelve to fourteen hours Prabhupada would be with us. Generally Prabhupada’s room was kept very, very quiet and peaceful like very few people were allowed in Prabhupada’s room those days. And in groups some devotees would come and chant and the chanting would also be very soft. And but that morning it was decided that let everybody come. And so the room was packed with devotees.
There were hundreds of devotees in Vrindavan at that time. Many, many devotees were just standing there, those who couldn’t come in they were watching from outside through the window. In my experience that was the sweetest and the most profound kirtan I had ever heard, it was out of this world. And I was actually standing by Prabhupada’s bed, towards the head of Srila Prabhupada and from time to time I was giving him the water, Yamuna water. Prabhupada would open his mouth. See at five o’clock from the morning till the evening for fourteen hours I just stood there. I didn’t feel any other, you know, need of the body and I don’t also know that how time actually went by, as if I was transported to another reality where the body didn’t exist.
And then Prabhupada’s, some of Prabhupada’s God-brothers came and they were sitting near Prabhupada’s bed. And very close to Srila Prabhupada’s bed was Krishnadas Babaji Maharaja. He’s is a God-brother of Srila Prabhupada, a very wonderful devotee, and Srila Prabhupada was very intimate very close with him. And so Babaji Maharaja at one point just pointed out, see he’s still chanting. See, I couldn’t understand that at that time. But when Babaji Maharaja told that then I could see that Prabhupada’s tongue was still vibrating, it was not and I mean that the tongue was moving and Babaji Maharaja pointed out that Prabhupada was chanting the Holy Name. And in this way, chanting the holy Name Prabhupada left his body.
So as you asked what’s the most important lesson I learnt is that ultimately the most important consideration is to be attached to the holy Name and continue to chant the holy Name. And Prabhupada himself used to say that a devotee should chant his, chant the holy Name of the Lord at the time of death. anta-kale ca mam eva , Prabhupada pointed out time and time again. And Prabhupada personally demonstrated that, that he was chanting and also Prabhupada mentioned that the devotee leaves his body through his mouth. The sinful people leave their body through the lower part of the body, and the devotee leaves his body through his mouth. And true to Srila Prabhupada’s statement, we saw that how Prabhupada actually left his body through the mouth. www.bcswami.com www.iskcondesiretree.com
He was chanting the Holy name and his mouth was still open when he left his body. And Srila Prabhupada taught us and we can see that those who are following Srila Prabhuapda’s instructions sincerely, they also leave their bodies in such a wonderful way.
Like as I was speaking about Shyamasundari, as mother Devaki also heard about her, she was, her parents are, their parents live in Pune, that’s why they got to know about that. And she’s just a young girl, but considers that how much faith she had on the holy Name and that she, you know she took off all the, oxygen and all the things that were there to prolong her stay here, she just took them off and she took the shelter of the holy Name. And chanting the holy Name herself she left her body. Thank you all so much.
And I, I was wondering how a seminar of this nature, this the first time I gave this seminar, and it was also quite a spontaneous decision to give this seminar, because couple of weeks back when I met mother Krishna Priya in New Vrindavan, we were planning about the Bhagavatam seminar and how we would cover Srimad Bhagavatam in four days or five days. And then I just decided that I’m going to give a seminar on this topic. And I spoke to mother Krishna Priya and she also liked the idea. And I think that this was actually a real seminar on Srimad-Bhagavatam, because this is what Bhagavatam is teaching us.
Bhagavatam is not just some stories, but all that Srimad-Bhagavatam is describing is simply to give this realization that, that we have to take shelter of Krishna and the most important time that we, we display our attachment to Krishna or conviction at Krishna’s lotus feet is at the time of death. And life is a period for preparation for that final test. We are preparing now to remember Krishna at the time of death. And in this way the real application of the teachings of Srimad-Bhagavatam is to constantly prepare ourselves or as often as we can remind ourselves of this importance. Like if have to die now, what shall I do? If I have to die now where shall my mind be? What shall I think of? And the answer is very simple, take full shelter of Krishna’s lotus feet and not look back, not look back. Don’t think of anything or anybody in this material nature, just think of Krishna and His devotees, and then our way back to the spiritual sky will be very very easy. And the gate of the spiritual sky will open up wide; will become wide open for us to go back there at the lotus feet of Krishna.
Prabhupada pointed, Prabhupada sometimes mentioned that it’s something like waking up in the spiritual sky. At that time if we remember Krishna, when we are leaving our body, then we see Krishna face to face. All of a sudden at that time when we are leaving our body we see that Krishna is standing there or Krishna’s Vishnudutas or Krishna’s messengers are standing there. And then we feel that this is what we had been waiting for all our life and now it happened. How ecstatic that experience is going to be? All our lives we are just trying to be with Krishna, trying to see Krishna, trying to serve Krishna and there comes the ultimate opportunity. He’s there, He says come, come back. So thank you all very much. I felt very content very satisfied after this or I can say that I am very happy after this seminar because I can see the result of the seminar. Thank you all very much. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Devotees: Haribol (clapping