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Remembering the Lord at the time of death

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No matter how engaged in devotional practice we may think we are we should not take it for granted that we will remember Krishna at the time of death.

Success in Krishna consciousness is not a mechanical thing. It is personal and is dependant on the mercy of the Lord.

The priests who were conducting the sacrifice for King Nabhi to have a son like the Supreme Person prayed:

 

TRANSLATION Srimad Bhagavatam 5.3.12

 

Dear Lord, we may not be able to remember Your name, form and qualities due to stumbling, hunger, falling down, yawning or being in a miserable diseased condition at the time of death when there is a high fever. We therefore pray unto You, O Lord, for You are very affectionate to Your devotees. Please help us remember You and utter Your holy names, attributes and activities, which can dispel all the reactions of our sinful lives.

 

PURPORT

The real success in life is ante nārāyaṇa-smṛti—remembering the holy name, attributes, activities and form of the Lord at the time of death. Although we may be engaged in the Lord’s devotional service in the temple, material conditions are so tough and inevitable that we may forget the Lord at the time of death due to a diseased condition or mental derangement. Therefore we should pray to the Lord to be able to remember His lotus feet without fail at the time of death, when we are in such a precarious condition. In this regard, one may also see Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.2.9–10 and 14–15).

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This is so universally applicable, across the board, of all systems of philosophy/religion/spirituality/insurance company premiums ---I hope others will comment on this topic in depth.

 

No matter how much a person may proclaim to know intellectually ---it all boils down to this Final Examination.

 

Please let us explore this topic thoroughly.

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A friend shared this verse from Mukunda Mala Stotra

 

Krishna tvadiya-pada-pankaja-panjarantam
adyaiva visatu me manasa-raja-hamsah
prana-prayana-samaye kapha-vata-pittaih
kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te

 

(O Lord Krishna, at this moment let the royal swan of my mind enter the tangled stems of the lotus of Your feet. How will it be possible for me to remember You at the time of death, when my throat will be choked up with mucus, bile, and air?)

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

O my beautiful Lord, the kindest, the most adored One,

I pray that we shall never part

What if my mind is not able to think at all at the time of death ?

Whether the death will be sudden or slow

Whether my gross and subtle body will be in coma

What if my brain gets injured ?

'Cause This is all i have as my bridge to You today -

Mind, and intelligence

Not my heart, that stays with You

Will You take care of me in such situations

even though i may not be aware of anything including You ?

In my state of unconsciousness,

which i may enter without any prewarning

Will You not stay with me,

Will i not be in Your arms then ?

Will You forgive me and give me remembrance of You ?

Its upto You and my karma, where i go from there

or wherever You take me

Whether You take me to Golok

Place me in Gandharvalok

Let me continue in Bhulok

Or some other Lok

Please live in my heart

and make sure that i

will remember You

ETERNALLY

A story with no end or start

I pray that we shall never part

~ ~ :pray:

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Really very beautiful Smaranam.

 

What of the Alzheimer sufferer that can't even remember his own name let alone God's at the time of death? It could be anyone of us. The need to place ourselves under the mercy of the Lord is an imperative. Why should we let one more moment pass before we completely humble ourselves before Him? We have no idea what the next moment will bring.

 

Not to do so is gambling with our very selves at stake.

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That's so true... Alzeimers , or any such condition of waking state. Since we are not even the (material)mind, which cannot be relied upon to recall anything including the Lord and His Holy Names, why not just hand ourself over to Him - the most merciful Krshna.

 

I read a story about one Swamiji who was in hospital in critical condition, and the doctors heard this on the stethoscope : "Hare Krshna Hare Krshna Krshna Krshna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare".

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That's so true... Alzeimers , or any such condition of waking state. Since we are not even the (material)mind, which cannot be relied upon to recall anything including the Lord and His Holy Names, why not just hand ourself over to Him - the most merciful Krshna.

 

I read a story about one Swamiji who was in hospital in critical condition, and the doctors heard this on the stethoscope : "Hare Krshna Hare Krshna Krshna Krshna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare".

 

Now that is chanting from the heart.

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We know that death is rarely a serene event. Long term illness to death often means heavy medication leading up to the soul's departure. These drugs heavily influence the brain & mind, dulling it considerably in most cases.

 

Sometimes death arrives suddenly and violently as in a car wreck, some other accident like falling off a high place or even murder. The confusion and fear at such times will be considerable.

 

We can and must do our best to prepare ourselves but that will always be lacking. At least though we can show Krishna we are serious in our efforts and rely on His promise to remember what we have and carry what we lack.

 

 

Bg TRANSLATION 9.22

But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form-to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.

 

 

PURPORT

One who is unable to live for a moment without Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot but think of Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours, being engaged in devotional service by hearing, chanting, remembering, offering prayers, worshiping, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, rendering other services, cultivating friendship and surrendering fully to the Lord. Such activities are all auspicious and full of spiritual potencies; indeed, they make the devotee perfect in self-realization. Then his only desire is to achieve the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called yoga. By the mercy of the Lord, such a devotee never comes back to this material condition of life. Kṣema refers to the merciful protection of the Lord. The Lord helps the devotee to achieve Kṛṣṇa consciousness by yoga, and when he becomes fully Kṛṣṇa conscious the Lord protects him from falling down to a miserable conditioned life.

 

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A moot point.

 

1) A number of people die in their sleep or are unconscious or in too much pain to be able to focus at the time of death.

 

2) if a lifetime of devotion can go to naught because the person was not in a position to remember Krishna at the time of death and someone else can live a non-devotional life, merely think of Krishna for a few seconds at the time of death and put himself into a vantage position, then the basic model is flawed.

 

3) if Krishna can influence the type of death based on the individual's devotional lifestyle, then does it matter if the individual remembers Krishna at the time of death? What difference does it make? It is not really what he did at the time of death and all about what he did when he was alive.

 

Cheers

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BG 8.5: And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

BG 8.6: Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail.

BG 8.7: 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.

BG 8.8: He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Pārtha, is sure to reach Me.

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BG 8.5: And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

 

Can this verse be interpreted in isolation? I have not seen anyone do that.

 

Let us say A is a devotee who spends a lifetime in devotion to Krishna and B is a clever atheist. If we interpret BG 8.5 as complete in itself, then simply by thinking of krishna at the time of death, B will attain the same state as A and even worse, if A was not conscious during death, B will actually end up in a better position - just because of those few seconds!

 

If this line of thinking is correct, then why should anyone bother to live a devotional life? What is the point of chanting? Tamal, for all his chanting and religious activites was killed in an accident and could not remember Krishna during his time of death. It makes a lot more sense to take the position that everything one does during his/her lifetime matters and not just the thoughts of the last few seconds of life.

 

Or to put it more simply, do not interpret 8.5 literally.

 

Cheers

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Can this verse be interpreted in isolation? I have not seen anyone do that.

 

Why not hear the whole story?

 

 

Ceteris Paribus.

 

 

Let us say A is a devotee who spends a lifetime in devotion to Krishna and B is a clever atheist.

 

A foolish devotee is much clever than a clever Atheist.

 

 

If we interpret BG 8.5 as complete in itself, then simply by thinking of krishna at the time of death, B will attain the same state as A and even worse, if A was not conscious during death, B will actually end up in a better position - just because of those few seconds!

 

Krishna carves the way of the Devotee to see him.

 

 

If this line of thinking is correct, then why should anyone bother to live a devotional life? What is the point of chanting? Tamal, for all his chanting and religious activites was killed in an accident and could not remember Krishna during his time of death.

 

That is what... who is the seer of God, apart from God no one knows.. that is the Only certainty.

That why you see Greats like Maharaj Bharata failing to take the Lord's name in the End and on the other hand sinners like Ajamila uttering the Name of Vishnu..

 

ANyways whoever selected be it Maharaj Bharata or Ajamila... there gaining liberation or not is not what really matter... there going or staying leads to universal welfare.. which to a real Vaishnava is more important.....KEYWORD: Lokanam hitakarinau

That is why it is said... He does not even ask liberation even though He only knows the real meaning of liberation.

It makes a lot more sense to take the position that everything one does during his/her lifetime matters and not just the thoughts of the last few seconds of life.

 

Or to put it more simply, do not interpret 8.5 literally.

Cheers

 

Do you think it is so easy.

NDE experience might say it all.

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it is the level of realization and the level of purity that you have attained that matters . if you have some extent of realization and have attained sufficient purity you shall automatically think of god towards the end . mere one time holy thoughts at the end do not work at all !!

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It is not really what he did at the time of death and all about what he did when he was alive.
The time of death isn't just a split second moment, but the entire process of the soul exiting the body and what happens next. At that stage of leaving the body, the soul is conscious and aware, even if he wasnt aware while in the body (due to a medical condition or some other problem).

 

In that conscious state, while having exited the body, if one then turns his consciousness to Krishna, then Krishna delivers him. If on the other hand he turns his consciousness onto his bodily attachments, lamenting the loss of his body, family, etc., then he gets another chance to enjoy these things through rebirth.

 

Sometimes one is conscious both before death and after having left the body, so there is no real difference. But in the case of someone who is unconscious prior to death, the difference in awareness is more drastic prior to leaving the body and after having exited the body. In that situation he still has time to think of Krishna once his awareness is restored. And as you have pointed out, the consciousness at that stage is primarily determined but what you did in life.

 

We can practice for this every single day. This is the gift of God. When you wake up from your dream, what do you think about? You can choose to immediately think of Krishna and accept that the dream was false, or you can try to hold on to that dream and continue living your imaginary life.

 

Practice becoming detached from the dreams when you wake up and immediately put your consciousness on Lord Krishna. Doing this daily will prepare us for a similar test at the point of death, where we are given the opportunity to give up the real dream of this world.

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The Soul leaves the body at death via one of the nine gates.

 

Some of these gates are "painfull" to pass through [how is pain felt at that time?].

 

If a dead body is found to have emptied its bowls upon death, is it correct to presume the person was sinful & carried off by Yamadutas?

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A foolish devotee is much clever than a clever Atheist.

 

This is another way of saying all people who agree with your religious beliefs are clever and everyone else is foolish.

 

However, the dictionary meanings of clever and foolish have nothing to do with one's religious beliefs. Unless you have alternate meanings (like theist), there is no reason to differ from the dictionary meaning. Consequently, there are dumb and smart religious people and also dumb and smart atheists.

 

 

Do you think it is so easy.

 

We do not know. For example, the Hare Krishnas, like the Christians have made it easy for their people. The believe they can attain liberation in one lifetime. This is opposed to the traditional view that several lifetimes of cleansing are necessary for liberation.

 

Anyway, my point is, never taking interest in Krishna and simply trying the "remember me at the time of death" trick does not make sense. The impact of all the activities during one's lifetime override the impact of one's thoughts at the time of death - whatever these thoughts may be. It has to be that way or else, the whole concept of a devotional lifestyle filled with regulations, is pointless.

 

Cheers

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The time of death isn't just a split second moment, but the entire process of the soul exiting the body and what happens next. At that stage of leaving the body, the soul is conscious and aware, even if he wasnt aware while in the body (due to a medical condition or some other problem).

 

In that conscious state, while having exited the body, if one then turns his consciousness to Krishna, then Krishna delivers him. If on the other hand he turns his consciousness onto his bodily attachments, lamenting the loss of his body, family, etc., then he gets another chance to enjoy these things through rebirth.

 

Sometimes one is conscious both before death and after having left the body, so there is no real difference. But in the case of someone who is unconscious prior to death, the difference in awareness is more drastic prior to leaving the body and after having exited the body. In that situation he still has time to think of Krishna once his awareness is restored. And as you have pointed out, the consciousness at that stage is primarily determined but what you did in life.

 

We can practice for this every single day. This is the gift of God. When you wake up from your dream, what do you think about? You can choose to immediately think of Krishna and accept that the dream was false, or you can try to hold on to that dream and continue living your imaginary life.

 

Practice becoming detached from the dreams when you wake up and immediately put your consciousness on Lord Krishna. Doing this daily will prepare us for a similar test at the point of death, where we are given the opportunity to give up the real dream of this world.

 

Wow. This is some very subtle teaching.

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This is another way of saying all people who agree with your religious beliefs are clever and everyone else is foolish.

 

No, I was just being you...but advocating something that you are against.

 

However, the dictionary meanings of clever and foolish have nothing to do with one's religious beliefs. Unless you have alternate meanings (like theist), there is no reason to differ from the dictionary meaning. Consequently, there are dumb and smart religious people and also dumb and smart atheists.

 

 

which dictionary?

Oxford or Cambridge?

 

 

We do not know. For example, the Hare Krishnas, like the Christians have made it easy for their people. The believe they can attain liberation in one lifetime. This is opposed to the traditional view that several lifetimes of cleansing are necessary for liberation.

 

 

Wanting liberation means neophyte Vaishnavism.

 

Anyway, my point is, never taking interest in Krishna and simply trying the "remember me at the time of death" trick does not make sense. The impact of all the activities during one's lifetime override the impact of one's thoughts at the time of death - whatever these thoughts may be. It has to be that way or else, the whole concept of a devotional lifestyle filled with regulations, is pointless.

 

Cheers

Hehe... if one believe that one Himself is the master of Near Death Moments... then for sure, one will have many ideas.

 

You are not getting the real point.

 

A devotee who is chanting millions time a day also does not necessarily means he is sure to take Hari's name at the last moment.

It is not mechanised.

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The time of death isn't just a split second moment, but the entire process of the soul exiting the body and what happens next. At that stage of leaving the body, the soul is conscious and aware, even if he wasnt aware while in the body (due to a medical condition or some other problem).

 

In that conscious state, while having exited the body, if one then turns his consciousness to Krishna, then Krishna delivers him. If on the other hand he turns his consciousness onto his bodily attachments, lamenting the loss of his body, family, etc., then he gets another chance to enjoy these things through rebirth.

 

Sometimes one is conscious both before death and after having left the body, so there is no real difference. But in the case of someone who is unconscious prior to death, the difference in awareness is more drastic prior to leaving the body and after having exited the body. In that situation he still has time to think of Krishna once his awareness is restored. And as you have pointed out, the consciousness at that stage is primarily determined but what you did in life.

 

We can practice for this every single day. This is the gift of God. When you wake up from your dream, what do you think about? You can choose to immediately think of Krishna and accept that the dream was false, or you can try to hold on to that dream and continue living your imaginary life.

 

Practice becoming detached from the dreams when you wake up and immediately put your consciousness on Lord Krishna. Doing this daily will prepare us for a similar test at the point of death, where we are given the opportunity to give up the real dream of this world.

 

Jai Sadhu!!

Your words are like nectar.

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I really appreciate David's relationship with the Lord. It is quite reciprocal, and, as such, he sings, "may the Lord think of me, because I am poor and needy."

 

Ive seen, in my 60 years, many holy folk who seem fixed up, but what happens to their resolve when the city they live in is melting or during the inundation? Who can handle this? Or how about the truck who pulls out in front of you when youre doin 60 on a slich strreet? Am I to think my life is a failure if I say "Oh F---" right before my consciousness leaves me?

 

No, it is never mechanical. Because hearing is equal to chanting, and to always have my i-pod tuned to prabhupada still may not prevent me from having a great lapse when the earth moves so suddenly and sends us all to obiesance.

 

Become His friend, and have a reciprocal relationship in whichever rasa ya got, and he is better equipped to be there in my need. Or with the queen goddess, mata mary, we pray to her, asking for her shelter, and if we scream in pain, there she is with her supreme gentleness, forgiveness, and real LOVE.

 

hare krsna, death, my favorite subject. goth, too much PIL. mahaksadasa

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Namaste,

 

Thank you for sharing this important information. The time of death is of absolute importance. The Lord makes this clear in the Gita.

 

To those who ask if a devotee forgets the Lord at the time of death do they miss a chance to reunite with the Him, the material mind may forget but the soul doesn't. Also the Lord does not forget his devotees, they are his dear friends.

 

You may ask then about some atheist who at the last minute thinks of Krishna, two things come to my mind. The first is, it will not be so easy for the atheist to remember the Lord at the time of death. If they are atheist then they will be worrying about losing their body, riches, family, fame, etc. Remember the Lord may not come so easily for them. More so, if they are atheist why would they think of Krishna at the time of death? If an atheist has no problem thinking of Krishna at the time of death then I question if they were really atheist to begin with.

 

 

The Soul leaves the body at death via one of the nine gates.

 

Some of these gates are "painfull" to pass through [how is pain felt at that time?].

 

If a dead body is found to have emptied its bowls upon death, is it correct to presume the person was sinful & carried off by Yamadutas?

 

As far as my knowledge goes, most people empty their bowels at death because the physical muscle relax. It's a natural process. I wouldn't presume to know someone's destination based on bodily signs.

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Near the end, when physical maladies wracked the form of Srila Haridas, he still was persistant in his chanting. Lord Chaitanya let him know that such practice was unnecessary, and actually ordered him to cut down on his sadhana bhakti. (It was all a ploy, but it does show the reciprocal relationship established in life, not death.

 

So, dont chant at the time of death, chant at the time of LIFE>

 

mahak

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Become His friend, and have a reciprocal relationship in whichever rasa ya got, and he is better equipped to be there in my need. Or with the queen goddess, mata mary, we pray to her, asking for her shelter, and if we scream in pain, there she is with her supreme gentleness, forgiveness, and real LOVE.

 

hare krsna, death, my favorite subject. goth, too much PIL. mahaksadasa

 

This is the only way i see it. That is why in my prayer above i said "I leave it upto You." It is only by His mercy that we can live with Him and stay aware of His presence today.

 

When Microsoft first developed Windows, the principal used by the OS was "Don't have to call me, I'll call you".

 

And Radhe , yes, Mother Divine, never leaves us alone, nor does Krshna.

 

Radhe Radhe

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Actually a person who has even a sattvic mind-even he cannot remember the lord at the time of death.

 

 

IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO REMEMBER ANYTHING at the time of death.The pain is unbearable.

Only those who have already attained Bhagavan,who are beyond maya,who leave their bodies through the single vein from the temple,the mahatmas,they can remember Bhagavan.They may chant,they may not chant,their wish.But they always remember Him.

 

Such people enter the kingdom of God.When Sri Krsna says,"Those who remember Me at the time of death,they attain My abode.",He references His mahatmas.

 

It is not a gamble in any way...Mayic people CANNOT enter the region of Vaikuntha.

 

We cannot decieve Bhagavan in any way.He says surrender to Me fully.Mind will become pure,then you come here.I will send My personal associates to get you here !

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