Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Mathajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 7.6.1 Prahlad Maharaj instructs his classmates as
kaumaara aacaret praajno / dharmaan bhaagavataan iha
durlabham maanusham janma / tad apy adhruvam arthadam
Prahlada Maharaja said: One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life — in other words, from the tender age of childhood — to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection.
Today I came across a short story stressing the importance of practising devotional service from the very beginning of our life. Once their lived a wealthy man who cared little about bhakti and was very much engrossed in sense enjoyment activities. One day, by some good fortune he met a sadhu who informed him the importance of chanting and hearing the Holy Names of the Lord in the final moment. Hearing this advice, the rich man thought, "If the whole purpose of this life is to remember the Lord's name in the final moment then why should I do it now ? Let me do it when I am about to die." Then to ensure that he doesn't forget the same, he informed his family members to chant the Holy Name when he is on death-bed. After this he continued with his enjoyments. After few years the rich-man suffered a paralytic attack due to which he became bed-ridden and was unable to speak. Even for his daily needs, he had to use sign language to communicate with his family. When he realised that there are only few breaths remaining, he signalled them to chant the Lord's names. But some of his family members could not understand. And those who understood refused to chant. They were eagerly waiting for him to die so that they could inherit the riches and were worried if the man will return back to normal health if they chant the Holy names and so stood silent. To remember the Holy names of the Lord, to chant or hear His names is not a child's play. It requires our endeavour through out the life and mercy of the Lord.
Few weeks ago our grandmother (aged 87) was hospitalised. She had been a pious, hard-working, determined and devoted person. She always woke up before 4 am in the morning, puts rangoli and does her work on her own, including washing clothes, vessels etc (even after she broke a couple of ribs in an accident 4 years ago.) Apart from doing prescribed duties sincerely, she used to chant the names of the Lord daily. Three weeks back when I met her in the hospital, she was quite weak and through the veins in her hand, medicines and saline water was being injected. When I sat near her and chanted the Mahamantra, interestingly I could see that her fingers moved (as if she is moving the beads in the japa mala) exactly after each utterance of the Mahamantra - though she was not having any beads in her hand. As she had been chanting for so many years in her life, her consciousness was still alert even when her body was troubling her so much. Couple of days later she was discharged and then during the final moments, by the mercy of Lord she realised that her time has come and looked at us and inquired - why her breath was not stopping. Her words alerted us and we started chanting and within few moments she left.
Our elders led a simple, clean Vedic life right from childhood and thats why they were all hale and healthy, active even during the old age and could be prepared for the final exam. If we sincerely practise devotional service when we are healthy, then the all merciful Lord makes all the arrangement to remember,chant, hear His names in the final moments. But if we have not done our home work properly then how can we expect to pass the final test ? Krishna has been mercifully showing so many practical lessons for me through lives of such great souls and I pray that I understand the seriousness of the same and use my time properly in His service.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.
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