“The body is born and is destined to be vanquished today or tomorrow; therefore the body is not as important as the soul. One who knows this is actually learned, and for him there is no cause for lamentation, regardless of the condition of the material body.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 2.11 Purport)
Reflections of a reformed partyer:
“In my senior year of college, I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself. The major field of study I had chosen upon entering school no longer interested me. I was on the path to earning my degree for sure, but it wasn’t going to be useful to me. At the time I had a bigger problem. As I stayed at the university which was many miles from my home, I had developed a close knit group of friends with whom I shared many fond memories and experiences. Now that was all coming to an end.
“In coping with the impending change to circumstances, I partied quite frequently. What was before reserved for weekend nights now occurred on a regular basis. In many weeks the number of nights spent partying outnumbered the nights spent studying. I also was not financially responsible. It is easy to spend money that you don’t have or have never earned. The credit card afforded me this luxury, and there was no thought given to the future implications.
“The motto was to live in the moment. ‘Forget about tomorrow, because you will never get this time in your life back. Enjoy it while it lasts, for soon it will all be over.’ Thus I ate until dullness quite often, so much so that my weight ballooned to the highest point it had ever reached in my life. I drank until elevation quite frequently as well. With the corresponding lack of judgment I did many silly things, fortunately none which harmed me that much.
“The issue that I ignored, of course, was that there WAS going to be a tomorrow. After graduating from college, I had nothing. I had a degree that didn’t do much for me. My health wasn’t so great. My work ethic was nonexistent. All that time spent partying didn’t benefit me much at all. Indeed, continued living only hurt me; it brought a cold reality check.
“As many years have passed since that time, I look back now and see that the flaw was in the motto itself. If you live like there’s no tomorrow, you may enjoy that one night, but when the tomorrow comes it will bring a rude awakening. Tomorrow does exist, even if we don’t think it will come. If the sun sets tonight, we can try to go out and have fun, but eventually the sun will rise again.
“In reading the Bhagavad-gita, I’ve learned that the individual always has another day. The shifts occur all the time, as the day doesn’t suddenly appear on its own. The clock is ticking, so to speak, all the time, so at every moment there is change. From the time I began writing this to right now my body has changed. The beginning period could be considered the ‘today’ and the present moment the ‘tomorrow.’ I am still alive. I am still the same person, though my body has changed.
“In the same way, after death the essential force of life shifts to another body. It is like the changing of clothes, as Shri Krishna so eloquently describes. From having read the Bhagavad-gita, translated and commented on by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I now know that there is always a tomorrow. The work I put in right now gives shape to that tomorrow. I know now that there are always consequences to actions.
“My goals today are different. As I know that my consciousness will exist tomorrow, I try to do today whatever I can to make sure that consciousness is blissful. Everything else is relative anyway. I can try to work hard to earn money, but even if I get to retire early what am I going to do with my time? I could order so much food at a restaurant and stuff myself, but then sleeping will be so difficult that night. If I drink myself into oblivion, I will feel awful afterwards.
“The objective now is to do things that will help me to think of Shri Krishna in the future. I start by chanting the holy names in the morning: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. I continue by reading from sacred texts like the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam. I hear the wisdom years of practice have brought to self-realized souls of the same tradition. I accept their counsel and I make my own little experiments daily. Sort of like a young Benjamin Franklin keeping a chart of virtues, I gauge my progress every day to see how well I am doing in reaching my goal of always thinking of Krishna.
“I also try to help others make this their goal as well, for everyone is happiest when serving. Service to man in general is limiting and not an exact science. Service to pets, family members and friends is also limiting in that the beneficiaries can leave our company at any moment. Krishna is God, the personal aspect behind the veil of abstraction concocted by the hopeful mind. Anyone can serve Him at any time, and so now I try to do that with all my thoughts, words and deeds. It makes me very happy, and it makes tomorrow always a better today.”
For studying to university was sent,
But seemingly wasted the effort went.
Lived like tomorrow there was none,
But rude awakening when four years done.
Know now that tomorrow always to come,
Eternal existence, no need from future to run.
Always now of Shri Krishna to contemplate,
Better today and tomorrow, fears to obliterate.