Live from Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir!
Date: February 17, 2006
Verse: Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.15
Speaker: HH Danavir Goswami
sthiram sukham casanam asthito yatir
yada jihasur imam anga lokam
kale ca dese ca mano na sajjayet
pranan niyacchen manasa jitasuh
TRANSLATION: O King, whenever the yogi desires to leave this planet of human beings, he should not be perplexed about the proper time or place, but should comfortably sit without being disturbed and, regulating the life air, should control the senses by the mind.
PURPORT: In the Bhagavad-gita (8.14) it is clearly stated that a person who is totally engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and who constantly remembers Him at every step, easily obtains the mercy of the Lord by entering into His personal contact. Such devotees do not need to seek an opportune moment to leave the present body. But those who are mixed devotees, alloyed with fruitive action or empirical philosophical speculation, require an opportune moment for quitting this body. For them the opportune moments are stated in the Bhagavad-gita (8.23-26). But these opportune moments are not as important as one’s being a successful yogi who is able to quit his body as he likes. Such a yogi must be competent to control his senses by the mind. The mind is easily conquered simply by engaging it at the lotus feet of the Lord. Gradually, by such service, all the senses become automatically engaged in the service of the Lord. That is the way of merging into the Supreme Absolute. (end of purport)
So the most important time of life is the last moment: ante narayana smrti.
yam yam vapi smaran bhavam tyajaty ante kalevaram tam tam evaiti kaunteya sada tad-bhava-bhavitah
Everything depends on the last moment. We see that Ajamila lived a sinful life, but at the last moment, ante narayana smriti, he remembered Narayana.
The name of Narayana and Narayana are non-different. So he remembered the name of Narayana, even though it was the name of his son, and his life became successful. He counteracted all the sins that he had committed. So one should prepare for that last moment because no one can say when that last moment will come. King Kulasekhara, he prays:
adyaiva me visatu manasa-raja-hamsa
kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te
He requests the Lord to let him leave the body now, while he is fit, while his mind is not acting up, while his mind is able to think of the lotus feet of the Lord. He is afraid that if I leave my body later on and I become very old, decrepit, it will be difficult. My mind will be out of control. It will be difficult to chant, my voice will be choked up, so better now because one leaves the body thinking of Krsna, he goes back to Krsna.
Someone may consider then that this movement encourages people to give up their bodies prematurely with the idea that they will be able to go back to the spiritual world. Generally, that is not the case. Rather, the yogi is under training. The spiritual master trains the yogi disciple how to think of the Lord constantly: satatam kirtayantah mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah.
Especially in the age of Kali, thinking of the Lord through meditation, is very difficult. The mind, as certified by Arjuna, is as difficult to control as a hurricane, but Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the avatara of this age, has given the process, the yuga dharma. He says:
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatah
Chant the holy names, chant the holy names, chant the holy names of the Lord. There is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other way in the age of Kali. So the Krsna consciousness movement, under the guidance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is teaching this form of yoga, not other forms of yoga, because other forms of yoga will not be effective in this age.
Basically, other forms of yoga are restricted for such a yuga as the primary process, krte yad dhyayato visnu.
In the age of Treta, in the Treta-yuga, the process is sacrifices. Many great kings were performing huge sacrifices, chanting of mantras by the qualified brahmanas, putting the ghee, grains into the fire, propitiating the demigods and Lord Visnu. That was possible in that age. In this age, we don’t have sufficient means. Where is the gold for the utensils? Where is the ghee? Where are the qualified brahmanas? They used to have the referee brahamana to listen that each of the mantras was perfectly according to accent because if one syllable was mispronounced, one could get the opposite effect. For example, instead of getting a son that would be able to kill Indra, you might get a son that would be killed by Indra. Like that.
So sacrifices were effective in Treta-yuga. In Dvapara-yuga, the process is Deity worship. But we see that Deity worship is not so prominent in Kali-yuga, difficult to keep the standard, but kalau tad dhari-kirtanat; kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet. This age is a bad age, it is an ocean of faults, but the one good quality is that by chanting the name of Krsna, one can achieve all perfection.
If we want to achieve perfection, we have to practice chanting. Twenty-four hours a day, kirtaniyah sada harih. But it is difficult for us to chant twenty-four hours, so just as a minimum, we chant sixteen rounds on our beads. This is required if we are at all serious to go back to Godhead in this lifetime. And above and beyond that, there is another twenty-two hours in the day we should also chant and hear or engage in service or arcanam or offer prayers. There are nine processes. There are unlimited ways to serve and remember the Lord. And if one does that, he tries very sincerely, then Krsna helps him:
ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham mama vartmanuvartante manusyah partha sarvasah
“As they surrender to Me, I reward them accordingly.” Then one does not have to worry where he gives up the body. He may be on sankirtana, distributing books. He may be in Vrindavana Dham, he may be anywhere. It doesn’t matter because he has fixed his mind on Visnu. He has practiced and now the test, just like a student, if he does his homework and he studies the assignments, he should do well on the examination also. So that final examination is the moment of death.
It is not something to be afraid of. Prabhupada was explaining about what happens for the devotees at the time of death in one class in Los Angeles.
He said that the devotee is thinking of Krsna, then he closes his eyes for just a moment. When he opens his eyes again shortly afterwards, he looks and sees he is in the land of Krsna. Not very difficult. Krsna promises:
janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna
One who knows the transcendental nature of my appearance and activities does not upon leaving the body take his birth in the material world but attains My eternal abode. This is a guarantee. This is a promise from the Supreme Personality of Godhead who has all power, who controls everything, isvarah paramah krsnah. We don’t have to doubt it.
Someone may say, ‘Yes, I believe that it is true for the advanced devotees, but my mind is not under my control, it is going here and there. What about me?’ Then we have to chant even more, chant more loudly to control the mind because the mind is very fickle, but when it hears some sound, it focuses on the sound. So the sound of Krsna’s name, that is very purifying, ceto darpana marjanam, cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated. It is not a very difficult process of yuga. It can’t get much easier than chanting.
This is the fourth age, the most fallen age.
I know one time I was approached by some persons who were saying, “We have to do something before we can chant.” I think they said, “We have to clear ourselves, we have to become clear because we have so many disturbances of the mind, then we can chant.’”
But chanting doesn’t require becoming clear. One can be the most sinful of all sinners and he can chant. I recall we were chanting one Halloween in Tampa. They have a big Halloween festival. Hundreds of thousands of people come out onto the streets and they block the streets off. Everyone is drinking beer and they are dressed up in different costumes. We were out there chanting. Although these people were intoxicated, making fun, joking around, lusty, everything else, but they were chanting. They liked the chanting because we were very happy and it was a nice beat, nice music and the words were simple enough for them to follow.
So what happens? Well, they are chanting, their life is becoming auspicious.
Even if they are intoxicated, it doesn’t matter. Chanting is so powerful.
Their hearts are becoming cleansed. Easy process, even the drunkards can chant. Sometimes people are under the influence of some intoxicant and they chant. They get the benefit because Krsna’s name is absolute. Just like some person who is intoxicated puts his hand in fire, it will burn and some person who is an expert scientist puts his hand in fire, it will also burns, doesn’t matter.
This is the land of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, where the sankirtana movement began, right here, Candrodaya Mandir. From here the chanting is going out all over the world, all over the universe. We can take it and teach people to chant. I don’t think there is anything more pleasing than to induce someone to chant the Holy Name, especially if they have never chanted before, it is even more exciting. So we can do that, and then, we also make spiritual advancement.
There was one very old man, he got one of our mantra cards while we were out on harinama. He called the temple and spoke to one of the devotees. He told the devotee that he was very old and he had been diagnosed that he only had a few more days to live, but he was intrigued by the mantra and wanted to know more about this mantra. So the devotee explained to him how to chant and gave all the philosophy, what will happen if you chant at the last moment of life, you will go back to Godhead, you will be freed from the cycle of birth and death.
So the man, although his life was not at all inclined towards Vaisnava principles, he became very attracted to this idea and he started chanting and chanting and chanting on the phone. He didn’t exactly have the mantra perfect, but sincerity was there. So he was chanting. He said, “I’ll come and see you on Sunday if I’m still alive for the feast.” He didn’t come on Sunday.
His son called up on Monday and explained that his father passed away, but he wanted us to know and the father had specifically requested the son, “Tell them I was chanting Hare Krishna when I gave up the body.”
Another instance, one of Prabhupada’s disciples who was a servant of his, named Karttikeya, his mother was very old and she became diseased, she was on her deathbed. The son went there to see her. Just before she was about to leave her body, she said, “Is Krsna here?” and she left. That devotee told Prabhupada and Prabhupada said she went back to Godhead, and he put it in the Bhagavatam purports, so it is documented that by the grace of the son, a Vaisnava. . . . That is why we should stay in the association of devotees, they will help us by chanting to us at the last stage. Prabhupada surrounded himself by so many devotees. Vaisnavas like to be in the association of Vaisnavas because then the chanting will go on.
That’s our aspiration, that we can leave anywhere, at any time, but somehow or other remember the Lord. Car accidents are very prominent so everyone should be very eager to chant when in the car. Wherever there is some apparent danger, we should practice chanting because we don’t know when the time will come. Then we’ll go back home, back to Godhead. It’s quite simple.
Someone may say, “What about all our desires,” but the chanting of the Holy Name of Krsna supersedes, so we have to practice. Automatically, by devotional service, the senses and the mind come under control. We don’t have to practice any other method to bring the mind of the senses under control. A bhakti yogi is far better at controlling the senses than other types of yogis.
I’ll just finish up with one last point. When Srila Prabhupada came to Portland, there was an Indian gentleman who wanted to see him. He said, “Srila Prabhupada,” or “Swamiji,” I don’t remember, but he said, “I know yoga and I want to teach your disciples yoga because I notice they are falling asleep during japa. I can teach them sitting postures and breathing and they won’t fall asleep. They’ll be able to chant.”
Prabhupada said, “No, no, it’s all right. It’s not necessary.”
He said, “But I notice they are falling asleep, they are getting groggy.”
Prabhupada said, “It is not required.”
The man a few times insisted, then Prabhupada said, “I know that they may be deficient, but still they are better than anyone else.” Prabhupada wanted us to concentrate on this system, mantra-yoga, chanting the holy name, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, and become the highest yogi according to Bhagavad-gita.
Thank you very much. If there are any questions. . . .
Hari Sauri Prabhu: Just on that point on Karttikeya’s mother, Prabhupada told that story to George Harrison in London in ’76 discussing about the holy name. Prabhupada was telling him about how Karttikeya’s mother, just as she died, she asked, “Is your Krsna here?’”
He said, “Then she died. So fortunate, because of the son, she became so fortunate.” But he said she got salvation, he didn’t specifically say “go back to Godhead”, but still he glorified her. Then George told Srila Prabhupada about when his mother died in 1970. He said that all the family were in the room and they were all getting emotional and everything so he kicked them all out of the room and he sat alone with his mother and chanted Hare Krishna as she died.
So then Prabhupada said, “Did she hear?”
He said, “I don’t know. She was like in a coma.”
Prabhupada said, “Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Whether she chants or somebody else chants, she gets the benefit.”
Maharaja: Haribol, thank you very much. Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai!