Always Be Prepared – to Die

Everyone will face death, it’s just a question of death, whether it comes in the next 80 seconds, or not for another 80 years. Our attitude to death brings all sorts of choices… and we all know that the decisions we make today constrain our choices tomorrow. So how to live with a perfect balance between the long-term view and the short-term view?

This is based on what I heard from my spiritual master, His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari

When we are prepared to die at every moment, every moment is a perfect moment, a moment of perfect consciousness – every moment becomes a thrill!

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

When I reflect on these words, I see how true they are, whether for good or for bad – for example, a lot of people do stupid things because they think they can get away with it – after all, things are changing all the time, I may never see that soul again, so what does it matter how I treat them? Whether it is relationships, business, work, or just random acts of unkindness, this short-term view causes a lot of problems.

And then there are the fools who think they are pleasing God by dying in the process of killing others. There are no bigger fools, unfortunately, they are going to another place, not to the Kingdom of God.

However, the very same attitude, when applied to transcendence, gives a powerful sense of urgency, an impetus to act for the highest spiritual benefit.

Be prepared to die in the next 80 seconds, or live for the next 80 years.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

On the other hand, someone who is too focused on the short term, but not the longer term, ends up in trouble as well. They may spend too much time in avoiding what needs to be taken care of, like a leaky tap or a broken tile… This also results in excessive sense gratification, or postponing important things that must be done diligently… as in the proverbial tale of the hare and the tortoise… the rabbit and the tortoise once had a race, the rabbit quickly bounded off and gained a big lead… he saw that the tortoise was far behind, so he decided to rest and relax and fell asleep. The tortoise meanwhile, kept going, and ended up winning the race by the time the rabbit woke up.

How to maintain that balance of paying attention to the short-term details while still keeping that longer term focus?

Well, first of all, know that you are eternal, you will never die, you may change your covering, your dress, your vehicle, your residence, but you will never die. So the consequences of all your actions will be seen, sooner or later. So that will surely avoid the temptation to be short-sighted.

न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः ।
न चैव नभविष्यामः सर्वे वयमतः परम् ॥ १२ ॥

na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/12/

And the other side? How to avoid being so long-term focused on the future that we ignore the here-and-now?

Remember that the here-and-now is what will take us to our destination – and the choices we make in the moment affect the choices that we have access to in future.

इति ते ज्ञानमाख्यातं गुह्याद्‍‍गुह्यतरं मया ।
विमृश्यैतदशेषेण यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु ॥ ६३ ॥

iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ
guhyād guhya-taraṁ mayā
vimṛśyaitad aśeṣeṇa
yathecchasi tathā kuru

Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/63/

Srila Prabhupada dives deeper in his wonderful purport…

Here the words yathecchasi tathā kuru – “As you like, you may act” – indicate that God does not interfere with the little independence of the living entity. In Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord has explained in all respects how one can elevate his living condition. The best advice imparted to Arjuna is to surrender unto the Supersoul seated within his heart. By right discrimination, one should agree to act according to the order of the Supersoul. That will help one become situated constantly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the highest perfectional stage of human life. Arjuna is being directly ordered by the Personality of Godhead to fight. Surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is in the best interest of the living entities. It is not for the interest of the Supreme. Before surrendering, one is free to deliberate on this subject as far as the intelligence goes; that is the best way to accept the instruction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such instruction comes also through the spiritual master, the bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa.

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in the purport to https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/63/

Here are three questions you can ask yourself repeatedly, every time you have a choice to make:

  1. Based on the instructions of the spiritual master, what is the best use of my time right now
  2. How best may I serve the instructions of the spiritual master with what I have at this moment?
  3. Am I following the principles “better late than never” and “something is better than nothing”?

In this connection, my spiritual master often says:

Your attitude, and not your aptitude, determines your altitude.

His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari

If we reflect and act in this way, our life will be perfect, and death becomes immaterial, whether it comes in the next 80 seconds, or in the next 80 years.

तदोत्तानपद: पुत्रो ददर्शान्तकमागतम् ।
मृत्योर्मूर्ध्नि पदं दत्त्वा आरुरोहाद्भुतं गृहम् ॥ ३० ॥

tadottānapadaḥ putro
dadarśāntakam āgatam
mṛtyor mūrdhni padaṁ dattvā
ārurohādbhutaṁ gṛham

When Dhruva Mahārāja was attempting to get on the transcendental plane, he saw death personified approach him. Not caring for death, however, he took advantage of the opportunity to put his feet on the head of death, and thus he got up on the airplane, which was as big as a house.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/4/12/30/

Go ahead. Transcend death! Why wouldn’t you?

Author: Mahabhagavat Das SDA

I am a formally initiated disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. My spiritual master was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1971. He is the author of the famous Ultimate Self Realization Course. Check it out at www.joincourse.com.

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