“Those who are not faithful on the path of devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of foes, but return to birth and death in this material world.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.3)
aprāpya māṁ nivartante
The Vedas describe our world as mrityu-loka. This translates to “the planet of death.” It makes sense if we think about it. Everything new eventually goes away. This applies not only to living things, but to those manufactured by the living as well. The loss of objects must be accounted for. When a car breaks down, a new one must be purchased. When there is destruction following a natural disaster, the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt.
In this light, the journey through life can be compared to a train ride that features lamentation throughout. Sure, there are periods of elation, joy and happiness. Yet each one of those moments is paired with the pain of separation. Something comes into our life. We then form an attachment to it. We enjoy the association, which we maintain through the attachment.
Eventually there is loss. I may be the one to go first, thereby escaping the pain of separation. But the fact remains that either I must abandon or be abandoned myself. There is so much to lose. I feel sad when my car breaks down. I had it for so long and finally one day it stopped working. It was beyond repair. I am compelled to move on.
I enjoy watching sports on television. There is the potential for my favorite athletes and teams to win. At the same time, however, there is the potential for losing. My team can be on the brink of victory and lose in a disappointing fashion. Then I am left to despair. I don’t feel as good as I did at the beginning of the competition.
From these examples, we see a potential way to avoid lamentation: disengage entirely. Don’t form attachments. Don’t immerse yourself in a temporary gain. Yet this is easier said than done. In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna says that one who renounces things but maintains an attachment on the inside is considered a pretender.
ya āste manasā smaran
mithyācāraḥ sa ucyate
Considering the risk, there is an easier route: become attached to the one person who stays through time. He is the secret that is universal and spans throughout the time continuum. Time works at His behest; it has no effect on Him. The proof of this is His transcendental body, which is ever-youthful. In Sanskrit the description is nava-yauvanam; always looking new, like a person who has just entered their teens.
Not surprisingly, this person is the Supreme Lord. He is the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita, and through just His words He can bring association. His name is sufficient for companionship. It is wise to be skeptical of strange claims that we hear. In this regard, a test has been conducted. The wise souls have tried to hear the name of Krishna over and over again, and the results they found were amazing.
Through constant chanting of “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” they changed the nature of the train travelling through life. From mourning to rejoicing, life at every moment becomes better. The loss of death still exists, but a way to connect with everyone is learned. The same Krishna resides within every living thing’s heart as the Supersoul. I can connect with those who have departed by serving and loving Krishna. He takes care of everyone since He is the best, well-wishing friend.
The peace formula is to know that Krishna is the ultimate enjoyer of all work, the presiding deity over the entire universe, and the best friend to everyone. As with any well-wishing friend, we can only get His benefit if we are receptive. The mood changes upon consistent hearing of His glories and those who serve Him. Those servants are the beacon of light in this world that is otherwise filled with darkness.
Loss to come with every gain,
So life like trip on mourning train.
How to escape perpetual sadness,
Renunciation’s path akin to madness.
Attachment to the Supreme Lord make,
From sound alone His association take.
Ever fresh, Krishna like teenager new,
Through Him connect to all souls too.