Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
This is in continuation of the previous offering, "Surrender unto His Lotus Feet" wherein we were meditating on Srimad Bhagavatam verse 2.6.7 and about elephant king Gajendra surrendering to Lord's lotus feet when being attacked by crocodile in the lake. Gajendra without cribbing about the inability of his kith and kin to save him, decided to surrender unto the Supreme Lord. Now we shall see further.
In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 8.2.33 Gajendra very nicely says
yaḥ kaścaneśo balino ’ntakoragāt
pracaṇḍa-vegād abhidhāvato bhṛśam
bhītaṁ prapannaṁ paripāti yad-bhayān
mṛtyuḥ pradhāvaty araṇaṁ tam īmahi
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is certainly not known to everyone, but He is very powerful and influential. Therefore, although the serpent of eternal time, which is fearful in force, endlessly chases everyone, ready to swallow him, if one who fears this serpent seeks shelter of the Lord, the Lord gives him protection, for even death runs away in fear of the Lord. I therefore surrender unto Him, the great and powerful supreme authority who is the actual shelter of everyone.
This verse is one of the favourite verse of our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj. He said that we should laminate this verse and distribute to common mass wherever we go as this verse teaches us how to face death. During the final days of his stay in this material world, in Bhaktivedanta hospital, Maharaj was teaching this verse to all those who met him. He insisted that we should learn the shloka, word-to-word meaning and translation by-heart, so that we understand and remember the message of the verse always.
In this verse we can see Gajendra glorifying the Lord as īṣah and balinah. His Divine Grace has translated īṣah — the supreme controller; balinah — very powerful; Also we have antakoragāt - serpent of eternal time - whose nature is described as pracaṇḍa-vegād abhidhāvato bhṛśam - fearful force, chasing everyone endlessly. So time is always acting on each one us, every moment. Time has its influence on everything and everybody. With time, things deteroirate - our body grows old. Anything material definitely deteroirates with time. So definitely time is very influential.
Death can come at any moment for anyone of us and snatch away all the things which we are clinging on to in this material world. So it is definitely bhītaṁ - fearful. But for those who are surrendered unto Supreme Lord - prapannaṁ, the Lord - paripāti - protects and death personified runs away out of fear of Lord. We can see that in Bhagavad Gita Krishna says in verse 11.32 - kālo ’smi loka-kṣhaya-kṛit pravṛiddho - "Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds". Also He says in 10.34 - mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham: “I am all-devouring death.” So time, death are all fearful for those who don't accept the authority oif the Lord,
In his wonderful purport to the above verse, Srila Prabhupada says - "It is not that only Gajendra, the King of the elephants, was afraid of death. Everyone should fear death because everyone is caught by the crocodile of eternal time and may die at any moment. The best course, therefore, is to seek shelter of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and be saved from the struggle for existence in this material world, in which one repeatedly takes birth and dies.To reach this understanding is the ultimate goal of life."
His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada in one of his lectures gives this nice example of cat, kitten and rat. Cat bites the rat as well as the kitten. Rat is very fearful of being bitten by the cat. On the contrary, kitten feels very safe in the mouth of the cat. Those who are not surrendered to Lord, their position is like of the rat. Whereas those who are surrendered to Lord their position is like that of the kitten.
So Maharaj says, "Time is working on everybody, and time works on those people who are not surrendered to Krishna. Those who are surrendered to Krishna, time doesn’t touch them. Please, this is a fact. That is the meaning." So for such surrendered souls, old-age is not miserable and they welcome death with a smile as it gives them the opportunity to meet Krishna face to face and have His eternal association.
Krishna willing we shall meditate further on this topic in the subsequent offering.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva
Sudarshana devi dasi
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