Facing The Inevitable Death

Facing The Inevitable Death

Narahari Krishna Dasa

Hare Krishna Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva.

There are different miserable conditions faced by the living entities in various species of life. However only when a human body is attained, the living entity can ask, "How can I get rid of suffering?" because he is provided with special intelligence in human form. The various sufferings are results of sinful activities in previous lives and this life. The Vedas which are more merciful than thousand mothers and fathers has given (both temporary and permanent) solution to these suferings in various ways. One of the limbs of Vedas is called Jyotisha shastra(Astrology) and it talks about how to predict the future events in the life of a human being to great details. It also prescribes some counteractions (parihaara) in the form of vedic rituals, worship of the devatas, worship of the Supreme Lord, chanting mantras etc., By doing these one can minimize the suffering or get the mental strength to withstand the suffering. However, there is no parihara in astrology for death. There is no counteraction for death and it is an inevitable event for anyone who has taken birth. The Lord states this in the Bhagavad Gita as follows.

jaatasya hi dhruvor mrtyur / dhruvam janma mritasyacha 
tasmaat tvam aparihaaryarthe / na tvam socitum arhasi 

"One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament."

The word "aparihaarya" means unavoidable either by our worldly efforts or by following the scriptures. Many astrologers cannot even predict death correctly. Even if it is predicted correctly, one cannot avoid it.There is a nice story( real life incident in this regard. Many years ago, a famous King by name Vikramaditya lived. A baby boy was born to him and the king was very happy. He invited a very famous astrologer by name Mihira and requested him to write the horoscope for the child. Mihira agreed very happily and wrote the horoscope and said, "O King, whenever some parihaara has to be done for the child I'll let you know and you can do it. Now lets not see the horoscope very deeply". However the King said, "No I want the complete life prediction of my son and since I'm the King you should obey and predict everything". Then Mihira predicted the details and said, "Your son will die at the age of 10 at such and such a date and time and his death will be caused by a wild boar". The King became very angry and said, "I will prevent it with my power and army. If your prediction is not true, I'll cut off your head". Mihira said, "Alright. If my prediction is true, then give your kingdom to me". The King agreed. When the predicted time of death was nearing, the King put his son in a room on the top of a building where no animals can access and put tight security round the building. And when the predicted time of death passed, the soldiers came and informed the King that the son died exactly at that time. The King was shocked at this and asked how it happened.The soldiers said, "When your son was playing with a ball and reached the door of his room, the wild boar made of metal(which was the emblem of Vikramaditya) fell from the top of the door and crashed the boy's head". The king cried heavily out of grief and as promised gave the kingdom to Mihira. Mihira gave back the kingdom and said, "Getting your Kingdom is not my aim. I just wanted you to understand that death is inevitable". The King asked, "If you have said that the death will be due to a wild boar made of metal, then I would have avoided that. "Mihira replied, "That is the difference between an astrologer and God. Only the Lord knows about the complete details of our death". After this incident the astrologer came to be known as Varahamihira(varaha- wild boar) and he wrote wonderful books on astrology of great fame.

Though we see that death is inevitable, the scriptures tell us how we can avoid repetition of birth and death. That is by becoming devotee of the Supreme Lord. When a person becomes pure devotee of the Lord, the fear of birth, death, old age and disease ceases for him and he can proceeed to the spiritual world. This is confirmed in the Mahabharata as follows.

na vaasudeva bhaktaanAm ashubam vidyate kvacit 
janma mrtyu jaraa vyaadhi bhayam naivopajaayate

"The devotees of Vaasudeva are freed from inasupiciousness namely fear of birth, death, old age and disease". 

Thank you very much,
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna Dasa.