Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
In Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 2 Chapter 1, we find Sukadev Goswami teaching Parikshit Maharaj as to what is the best thing to do for people in general and particularly for one who is going to leave the body. In verse 2.1.12 Sukadev Goswami says
kiṁ pramattasya bahubhiḥ parokṣair hāyanair iha
varaṁ muhūrtaṁ viditaṁ ghaṭate śreyase yataḥ
What is the value of a prolonged life which is wasted, inexperienced by years in this world? Better a moment of full consciousness, because that gives one a start in searching after his supreme interest.
Lord is unlimited and so are the services that could be rendered to Him. So when our time is running out, we might feel very discouraged, morose when we think of our inability to engage in those services. Understanding this, Sukadev Goswami gives very practical advice as to how the duration of life is immaterial. What is more important is how we use the available time. Now-a-days we can see that the culture of teaching religious principles to the younger generation - be it at home or at school is drastically reducing. Not knowing the real problems of life - many elders themselves have are caught up in the illusory web of electronic gadgets. So even during the evening period of their lives, they are not taking to the path of devotion seriously. His Divine Grace very nicely says in his purport to the above verse, "Those who are bewildered by the external features of the material world and are engaged in the animal propensities of the eat-drink-and-be-merry type of life are simply wasting their lives by the unseen passing away of valuable years." As the saying goes, time and tide waits for none. Whether we like it or not, we will have to face our final day and at that time, there is no point lamenting or repenting for the time we wasted earlier.
Unless one is fortunate enough to be in touch with acaryas like Srila Prabhupada, his books etc we would never realise that the real problem in life is janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi - birth,death, old-age and disease and the goal of life is to go back to home, back to Godhead - by performing devotional service. Being an expert spiritual master, Sukadev Goswami is very nicely encouraging Parikshit Maharaj that a moment of full consciousness is better than prolonged life of fogetfulness of Krishna. Srila Prabhupada very nicey says in verse 2.6.34 of Srimad Bhagavatam - "A grain of devotion is more valuable than tons of faithlessness." His Divine Grace further says in the purport to verse 2.1.12, "We should know in perfect consciousness that human life is bestowed upon the conditioned soul to achieve spiritual success, and the easiest possible procedure to attain this end is to chant the holy name of the Lord."
So this is an open secret for success, mentioned in shastras and repeatedly hammered by our acaryas. But what is stopping us from chanting the names of the Lord consistently? Is it practically possible to have a moment of full consciousness ?
Krishna willing we shall try to meditate further on this topic in the subsequent offerings.
Thank you very much
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.
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