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Re: Remembering our Lord during final moments..

From: K. Sadananda (
Date: Wed Aug 15 2001 - 04:48:05 PDT

I have been following this discussion and would like to share my understanding.

In B.G. KrishNa says:

sthitvaa asyaam antakaalepi brahma nirvaaNamRichchati||


antakaalecha maam eva smaran muuktvaa kalebaram
yaH prayaati sa madbhaavam yaati naastya samshayaH||

in referring to the last moments before death - if one thinks of me 
they reach me, the parabrahman.  The key words in both sloka-s - 
antakalepi - the 'api' and antakalecha - 'cha' need to be emphasized. 
Essentially it points to the fact that 'even' if one thinks of me in 
the last moments one reaches me.  By emphasizing the word 'even', it 
stresses as a sufficient condition and not as a necessary condition.

Now, a question can be raised, how can that be possible? - if one has 
never thought of the Lord all his life and only thinks of the Lord as 
the last thought, how can he also reach the Lord.  The logic is very 
simple. When  I go from environment  to the next, it is driven by the 
last thought that I have as I am leaving the previous environment. 
If I am at the office and after I complete my work at my office, I 
move to a different location.  It could be going to my home, or a 
shop on the way or to meet a fried or to pick up someone at the 
airport, etc etc.  Where I go depends on the last determining thought 
- thus if I need to go to airport that will be my last determining 
thought.  Similarly to a shop or to meet a friend or to home 
directly.  I would not randomly go to airport without the 
pre-determined thought in my mind.  Like wise when I leave this 
world, the last thought would direct me to the place where I need to 
go.  Mind involves thought flow and flow involves direction and the 
direction for the flow of thoughts is set by my Vasana-s which are 
like grooves for the flow of thoughts- They are the same as 
samskaara-s.  It is possible to have such last noble thoughts because 
of my samskaara-s set in previous life if not in this life.  Take the 
case of Gajendra, because of the previous life's samskaara only he 
was able to think of the Lord when he was ready to face the jaws of 
the death.  In Telugu Bhagavatam, Potana brings this mental state of 
Gajendra so very vividly -' laavu okkintayu ledu, dhairyamu 
vilolambaaye .." - saying that I have no more energy to fight and 
death is fast approaching and I surrender completely at your feet - 
evolving from his initial doubting stage out of his pains '....kalaDu 
kalanDanedivaaDu kalaDO lEDO?"  Everybody says that He is there but 
He is there or not I do not know? He evolved to complete 
surrenderance at His feet all in few minutes as the jaws of death was 
fast approaching.

If the last thoughts are also dictated by our prior samskaara, we 
should not kid ourselves that we can postpone thinking of the Lord to 
the last minute.  Hence Shree Kulashekhara says;

  praaNa prayaaNa samaye kaphavaata pittaiH
  kanTaavarodana kR^itou smaraNam kutaste||

When the body is all dilapidated and all the  organs of actions and 
sense are failing to function and even the voice chord is also 
failing to function, how can I think of the Lord at that time.  There 
is no guarantee.  Hence his solution is "chintayaami harim eva 
santatam..." I am thinking of Him all the time. That is the only 
valid approach to ensure we can think of Him 'even' at the time of 
death.  We need to establish that samskaara.  Unfortunately when the 
death comes we do not know.  Anything can happen at anytime. Hence we 
should have proper 'Life-Insurence" that covers next life before it 
is too late to start investing.  That is the intelligent approach. 
If we are seeking eternal life in His abode, let us make sure we have 
appropriate insurance to cover that.

Hence the point is not to worry about the last thought what is going 
to happen at the time of death - let us follow Shree Kulashekhar's 
teaching - Let us think of Him now and surrender ourselves at His 
infinite wisdom. He knows the best what is the best for us.

Hari Om!

K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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