Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble pranams! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!
Sri Koorathazhwar is an exalted acharya in the Sri Sampradaya and he is the disciple of Sri Ramanujacharya. He had twin sons and Sri Embar was the spiritual master of these two sons. Once when Sri Koorathazhwar was expounding on the purport of a Tamil Paasuram, he found that it incorporated the essence of the Ashtaakshara mantra or the eight lettered mantra, "Om Namo Naaarayanaaya". As the mantra and its significance are to be learnt only from the spiritual master, Sri Koorathazhwar sent his two sons to Sri Embar for obtaining the instructions. He had just asked them to go and immediately realizing the impermanence of life, he called the sons back and gave the instruction himself, lest something should happen to them on the way to Sri Embar and deny them the Mantropadesham. One may think what could possibly happen to the children during the short journey involved in reaching the nearby residence of Sri Embar? However it was his realization of the extreme fragility of human life that made him act the way he did.
Similarly we find that Sri Ramanujacarya was walking from Kancheepuram towards Srirangam to get initiation from Sri Periya nambi and Sri Periya nambi was walking from Srirangam towards kancheepuram to initiate Sri Ramanujacharya. Fortunately, both of them were able to meet each other in Madurantakam and at that time Ramanujacarya requested Sri Periya nambi to initiate him then and there and not take the risk of doing the initiation after travelling to Kancheepuram because anything could happen in between thus realizing the ephemeral nature of the material word. The scriptures therefore shout at the topmost voice insisting us that a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. turnam yateta na patet anumrtyu yaavat. (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.9.29). anumrtyu means we are always subject to death. Vishnu smriti therefore advises us
svah kaaryam adya kurvita poorvaahne ca aparaahnikam
na hi pratikshate mrtyuh krtam vaasya na vaakrtam
"Tomorrow’s business should be done today and the afternoon’s business in the forenoon. For whether a person had done it or not death will not wait."
The Vairaagya satakam text 38 wonders,
vyaaghreeva tishtati jaraa paritarjayanti
rogaascha shatrava iva praharanti deham
aayuh parisravati bhinna ghathaadivaambho
lokastathaapy ahitam aacharatiti chitram
"Old age and senility stalk us like a ferocious tiger; diseases lie in wait for us at every step and the body troubles us verily like a sworn enemy; Time and with it life too slips away slowly but surely much like water leaking from a cracked pot. Oblivious to all these afflictions, people continue to be wayward and errant. How strange and what a pity!"
The Vairaagya satakam again advises us on what should be done before it is too late in Text 75.
yaavat svastham idam sariram arujam yaavat jaraa doorato
yaavat ca indriya saktir apratihataa yaavat kshayo naayushah
atma sreyasi taavadeva vidushaa kaaryah prayatno mahaan
sandeepte bhavane tu kupakhananam pratyudyamah keedrshah
"As long as this body is free from disease and decrepitude, as long as senility is far off, as long as the powers of the senses are unaffected and life is not decaying, so long, wise persons should put forth mighty exertions for the sake of the supreme good for the soul, for when the house is on fire what avail setting about digging a well for water?"
Being completely ignorant of all this knowledge, we often find ourselves and others, right form a very small child to a very old person complaining that they are feeling very much bored and do not know how to pass the time. It is all vainly spent sitting before the idiot box or sleeping or talking mundane gossip or quarrelling or reading some nonsense literature. Srimad Bhagavatam in 3.22.35 advises us through the life of Emperor Svayambhuva manu on how not to spend the time in vain.
ayaata-yaamaas tasyaasan / yaamaah svaantara-yaapanaah
shrnvato dhyaayato vishnoh / kurvato bruvatah kathaah
"Consequently, although his duration of life gradually came to an end, his long life, consisting of a Manvantara era, was not spent in vain, since he ever engaged in hearing, contemplating, writing down and chanting the pastimes of the Lord."
Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport that, "The life of a man in Krishna consciousness is always fresh. It is said that the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening and its business is to reduce the duration of everyone’s life. But the sunrise and sunset cannot diminish the life of one who engages in Krishna consciousness. Svaayambhuva Manu’s life did not become stale after some time, for he engaged himself always in chanting about and meditating upon Lord Vishnu. He was the greatest yogi because he never wasted his time. It is especially mentioned here, vishnoh kurvato bruvatah kathaah. When he talked, he talked only of Krishna and Vishnu, the Personality of Godhead; when he heard something, it was about Krishna; when he meditated, it was upon Krishna and His activities. Therefore, his life was not wasted, nor did it become stale."
So, when we resolve to do the supreme good for the soul, whether it is the chanting of the Holynames of the Lord, study of literatures like Srimad Bhagavatam, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, memorizing a verse, writing about Krishna or trying to get up for Mangla aarathi, today is the day to do them. Who knows what tomorrow has in store for us?
Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Vaijayanti mala devi dasi,
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