Have you ever moved from one home to another? Moving is a pain. It can be exciting, but usually it is a big hassle, and takes a lot of effort. The bigger the move, the more the pain.
So what about THE BIG MOVE?
You may or may not have moved, or maybe your moves were smooth and painless, but there is one move that is so big and so painful that almost everyone is afraid of it.
That’s right, the biggest ever move of our lives. It is called death. Death. DEATH.
Some call death the grim reaper, and for good reason! Every single attachment we have, to our body, our family, our friends, our home, our profession, our city, country, culture, all of that is ripped out in a moment.
Just as moves are painful, but transient, and usually forgotten once we are in our new home, death is not to be feared.
Why is that?
The jaws of a cat are death for a mouse, but to a kitten, the jaws of his mother is just “hey, my Mom is taking me for an adventure”.
Depending on how we have lived our life, death can be a relief, a cause for great anxiety, or of no consequence whatsoever.
वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि ।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा-
न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥ २२ ॥
vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī
As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/22/
Once upon a time there was a saintly person and his disciple.
They went around meeting different people during their travels…
One day, the saintly person met 3 souls.
One was a person of really poor character… he was very wealthy, charismatic, powerful and influential, but lied, cheated, plundered, and murdered for profit and convenience. But as the saintly person had nothing of value that the crook could possibly want, and was such a pleasant personality to be around, the wicked crooked person did not harm the saintly person. To this man, the saintly person gave the blessing “may you live long” and the person was naturally very happy to receive this blessing.
Another person was extremely good in character, always willing to extend a helping hand, kind, and generous too, but he was suffering like you cannot imagine… he had health issues, was very poor, and barely had enough to eat, no proper clothes to wear, and a dwelling that wasn’t even fit for an animal to live in. To this person the saintly person gave the blessing “may you die shortly”.
The third person that the saintly person and his disciple met was a pure Lover of God, and spent every waking moment in the service of God. His every breath resonated the Names of God, and his every action was done in loving communion with God, for the sake of God’s pleasure. He loved every creature, served them as children of God, and was in general very happy and jolly. This person was neither too rich nor too poor, neither too famous, nor unknown. He was neither too beautiful, nor was he very powerful. He was plain and simple, and you couldn’t spot him in a crowd for the most part, but he was just completely satisfied and content, happy to serve God in every possible way. The saintly person blessed him with “live as you are, or die as you are, be as you are”.
Now at the end of the day, when the disciple was serving his spiritual master and asked about the different blessings given during the day, the blessing of a long life to the wicked, the blessing of death to the miserable, and an indifferent blessing to the pure devotee of God. The disciple was somewhat shocked and perplexed at his spiritual master’s different blessings, some of which were seemingly unfair.
The spiritual master, the saintly person, explained…
The person acting wickedly today is reaping the result of his past good activities from the past – good karma. When he dies, then he will reap the results of his present sinful activities – bad karma. So to the wicked man, death would be quite the terrible thing because then the karmic reactions would come home to roost. Instead, if he lives longer and changes his ways, he may have a chance to redeem himself.
The person in a miserable situation today is reaping the result of his past bad activities, bad karma. When he dies, then he will reap the results of his present kindness – good karma. So to the gentleman, death would be a welcome respite from his suffering and would give him pleasure, and hopefully continue his kind ways.
And to the pure devotee of God, whether he lives or dies makes no difference to the soul – all the reactions to his past karmic actions, whether good karma or bad karma are burned off… he is ecstatic now and he will be forever ecstatic in the service of God, whether here in the material world, or back in the spiritual realm, the person will be eternally happy and satisfied, so he has no need of any blessing for me.
किं कर्म किमकर्मेति कवयोऽप्यत्र मोहिताः ।
तत्ते कर्म प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात् ॥ १६ ॥
kiṁ karma kim akarmeti
kavayo ’py atra mohitāḥ
tat te karma pravakṣyāmi
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase ’śubhāt
Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from all misfortune.https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/16/
Death is a mere transition, a mere move from one home to another one.
If you have been good or bad in the material sense, you surely will have fear, anxiety or lamentation over death. But if you are in the transcendental stage, then death is, in the words of my spiritual master “closing your eyes in sleep and waking up with Krishna, in Krishna’s pastimes”.
While moving homes may be painful for someone who has a lot of baggage, moving is not painful to the person who has no baggage!
How to get free of baggage?
kūṭaṁ bījaṁ phalonmukham
For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish.Padma Purana – quoted in https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/2/
So you can take your pick… you can remain on the level of karmic actions and reactions, or you can make your activities completely transcendental to all material reactions, and burn off any remaining reactions.
You cannot choose whether to surrender or not – you are already surrendered, either to the material energy or to the spiritual energy. You are controlled at every moment, in every respect (but more about that another day). You can choose to act transcendental to the material energy.
How to make your actions transcendental? Glad you asked! Join this course!