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Whose death is considered successful?
We have spent millions of years in the material world rotting in different bodies and in different situations, with no aim in life. This long journey through various species has brought about untold suffering to us and has made us like a weary traveler. Where is the end of this tiresome journey?
As explained in the earlier chapters, one achieves the next body based on the consciousness that one has developed at the time of death. Lord Sri Krishna promises in the Bhagavad-gita (8.5) that anyone who remembers Him at the time of death is sure to attain His abode and thus end this tedious journey in the material world.The most confidential part of the knowledge given by the scriptures is that, "One should always remember Krishna; one should never forget Him". Therefore one should mould one's life in such a way that one will be able to achieve this goal.Who can remember the Lord at the time of death? Only one who has been living in Krishna consciousness throughout his life can possibly call out the Lord's name at death. It is natural that we shout, 'mummy' or 'pappa' when we are pricked by a thorn while walking, because one calls for help to those in whom one has faith and attachment.
Everything takes practice. For example, if one wants to dance on the stage, one has to perform many rehearsals to practice how to dance. Then if one becomes an expert dancer, when one dances on stage one will receive acclaim: "Ah, a very good dancer." But one cannot say, "I shall go immediately to the stage and become a good dancer." That is not possible. One may say, "No, no, no. I shall not attend the rehearsal. Just give me the stage, and I shall perform." But the director will not allow this, for one cannot become a good dancer without practice. Similarly the real purpose of life is to remember Krishna when one's life comes to an end (ante nardyana-smrtih [Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.6]). But one cannot directly remember Krishna at the time of death without any prior practice. In order to be able to remember Krishna at the time of death, one must regularly practice remembering Krishna throughout one's life. Only then is it possible to remember Krishna at the moment of death.
Death is the time in life when one suffers the maximum pain. No one is capable of saving us from the jaws of death except the Lord Himself. Practically all living beings in this world face the inevitable death with no knowledge of what is going to happen next. But a devotee chants the Holy Names of the Lord everyday and in this way gradually develops loving attraction for Him. In fact such a devotee realizes that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna is his mother, father, relative, friend, be-all and end-all. Engaging in various services to the Lord like chanting, dancing, honoring prasadam, preaching the message of the Lord etc everyday in a mood of loving service, such a devotee achieves the perfected stage when he can successfully call out the Lord's name at the time of death:
Hare Krishna Hare. Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Great devotees like Khatvanga, Parikshit, Bhishma, Gaiendra and many more achieved all perfection by remembering the Supreme Lord at death. How this perfection can be attained is the subiect matter of our next book. ' Victory over death'