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Topic 3 - Life is preparation

posted Dec 29, 2020, 4:07 PM by Sudhir Babu   [ updated Dec 29, 2020, 4:07 PM ]

Quiz Link:
To participate in the contest and win prizes, please visit the following link and answer a short quiz: Topic 3 Quiz

Let’s accept it. We all used to loathe exams. As a student, exam time was the most stressful time for me. The last minute preparations, late night studying, peer pressure, endless expectations from parents, strict teachers, so on so forth. But there used to be one friend of mine who was always looking forward to exams. When I asked him why, he said that he attended all the classes and prepared very well and he was actually looking forward to the challenge. Then I understood. When you are well prepared, you become very confident, you look forward to the challenge. Preparation turns the stress factor into a challenge factor and the anxiety factor into an enjoyment factor. Later, I applied this principle to many aspects of my life and found this to be so true.
Many of us don’t feel comfortable talking about death. In many ways, it is considered inauspicious to talk about it. Society in general tries to cover up the sadness associated with death and always glorifies the attractiveness of life. In Mahabharata, one of the important questions posed by Yaksha to Yudhisthira was, “What is the most wonderful thing you find in this world?” To that, Yudhisthira said, “ahany ahani bhutani gacchantiha yamalayam, sesah sthavaram icchanti kim ascaryam atah param”—““Hundreds and thousands of living entities meet death at every moment, but a foolish living being nonetheless thinks himself deathless and does not prepare for death. This is the most wonderful thing in this world.” (Mahabharata, Vanaparva)
The reality is that everyone dies. “As sure as death”, they say. When the great sage Viswamitra came to King Dasaratha to request the help of Lord Rama in killing the demons, King Dasaratha first welcomed Viswamitra with these words: “aihityam yat punar janma jayaya”—“How is your preparation to conquer next birth going?” In ancient Vedic times, emphasis was given to preparing ourselves for death, for death is the ultimate test!
No one wants to die. It is a very painful experience. But still, we are forced to die and leave everything we claim to be ours, including our own body. And when we die, we get another body, according to our consciousness.
yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.
(Bhagavad Gita 8.6)

Thus, we could get an animal body, human body, demigod body, tree body, aquatic body, etc. And the miseries of birth, old age, disease, and death continue in all these bodies. But Bhagavad Gita gives a hint about how we can escape all of these, how we can conquer death, by attaining our original spiritual body and going back home to Godhead where we originally belong. 
The time of death principle!
anta-kāle ca mām eva
smaran muktvā kalevaram
yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ
yāti nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ
And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
(Bhagavad Gita 8.5)
Oh, that’s very simple isn’t it! I will enjoy my life and will just think about Krishna at the time of death! Well, not quite! 
Remembering Krishna at the time of death is not easy. It is just like writing a surprise test, as death can come at any time. Without proper preparation during our life, we are likely to fail that test. But one who prepares throughout his life to remember Krishna can confidently face the ultimate challenge very easily. 
Lord Krishna mentions the importance of this preparation for death throughout one’s life.
The preparation principle:
tasmāt sarveṣu kāleṣu
mām anusmara yudhya ca
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir
mām evaiṣyasy asaṁśayaḥ
Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Kṛṣṇa and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.
(Bhagavad Gita 8.7)
Key takeaways from this principle:

  1. Don’t need to give up what you are doing
        Note that Lord Krishna does not want us to give up what we are doing. Krishna never suggests anything impractical. He is urging Arjuna to fight, or do his prescribed duty, and at the same time think of Him. Therefore, we can also engage in our various duties, but at the same time prepare for our ultimate test at the end of life. The best way to always remember Krishna is by chanting His holy names: hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare, hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare. 
  1. Accept the favorable
        We should mold our lives so that we don’t forget Krishna. We should be connected to His service, to His Deity in Temple, to His devotees, to His teachings, to the books that describe Him, and anything else that always keeps us in remembrance of Him. 
  1. Reject the unfavorable
        We should always keep away from anything that takes us away from Him, for this life is too precious to drift away from our ultimate goal. After all, this human life is attained after many, many births of transmigrating through various lower species of life!
For one who thus endeavors sincerely, the Lord assures us that He will personally take care of us at the time of death.
teṣām ahaṁ samuddhartā
bhavāmi na cirāt pārtha
mayy āveśita-cetasām

For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Pṛthā, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.
(Bhagavad Gita 12.7)
The Lord helps those who help themselves. 

Hare Krishna!

Quiz Link:
To participate in the contest and win prizes, please visit the following link and answer a short quiz: Topic 3 Quiz