Dear Prabhujis and Mathajis,
Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
In this world we are always discouraged from remembering 'death'. Remembering death is usually condemned and considered inauspicious. But the inner reality is the 'fear of death' that beckons us of the danger of material enjoyment and consequently prevents us from that enjoyment. But really, only a courageous person can think of death and welcome it just as an intelligent student is eager to appear in the examination and get 'top scores', only because he is well prepared.
The Vedas too liken our passing from this world to an examination, wherein the consciousness and qualities we have developed throughout our lives are 'put to test'. When we are forced to exit our material bodies, it is critical that we not be overly attached to the temporary connections binding us to this world. Accordingly, the Vedas enjoin us to educate ourselves in the higher reality of our spiritual identities. Without this understanding, the mind is traumatized by the experience of leaving behind all that we imagine to be 'ourselves'.
At the time of death we confront ourselves as we really are; there remains no place for the self-delusions or rationalizations we may have used to 'smooth over' our reprehensible behavior. The naked truth of who we are and what we hold dear is laid before our eyes, without the protective embellishments our egos have always been quick to provide. It is, indeed, the ultimate 'reality check'. If we have developed no detachment and pursued only worldly enjoyments, we will be ill-prepared for the swift separation imposed by death. But if we have come to know ourselves as non-material persons belonging to the spiritual world, our passing will be a joyous release from the bondage of birth and death.
To be more specific only a devotee can welcome death 'positively' because in Gita Krsna says that it is He who appears in front of us as Death (mrtyuh sarva haras ca aham). Since Death is just another form of Krsna, a devotee will only see Krsna in front of him in his last moment, and not a horrible and fearful death.
H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj very often says jokingly that before chanting our Hare Krsna mahamantra, we should chant another maha maha-mantra - "Hare Muje Jaanaa Hai, Hare Muje Jaanaa Hai, Muje Jaanaa Hai, Muje Jaaanaa Hai, Hare Hare" (I have to GO, I have to GO). Because once we make it a practice to remind ourselves always of our final moments, as said above, our material enjoying propensities cease and we are in a better position to face our final examination.
Your humble servant,
Nayan Priya devi dasi.
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