“Death does not wait for any man; it will immediately carry out its duty. Since death must take away the living entity without hesitation, it is the ultimate God realization of the atheists, who spoil their lives thinking of country, society and relatives, to the neglect of God consciousness.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.28.22 Purport)
As much as we may try not to, worry takes over. Concern for the future. It is unknown, after all. No one can accurately predict. The experts give their estimations for the upcoming jobs report. They think the gross domestic product will increase at a certain rate.
When the actual numbers get released, there is always a difference. The jobs numbers defied expectations. The growth was less than expected. In truth, no one ever knew. The macro level was too complex and involved for anyone to get a handle on.
In the experience of life, it is the end which holds the greatest uncertainty. That undefeated factor, known as kala in Sanskrit, does not wait for any person. The staunchest denier must submit to the will of a superior force. Old age was already attacking them, but they thought they were withstanding the onslaught.
In the precious time between birth and death, my attention gets diverted elsewhere. I should be contemplating a specific subject matter. One kind of consciousness is the most auspicious, but since I have never personally met kala in its fiercest form, I neglect that important topic.
“My people need me. Freedom is not free. Others have paid the ultimate price so that I could enjoy my way of life. The milk and honey that is produced, it is available through the protection offered by others. They sacrifice so that I can live.
“It is now my time to give. I will serve my country. I will honor the flag. I will make a meaningful contribution. Then I will be able to sleep at night, removing some of the guilt I felt up until now.”
“Just see the suffering. I am okay. I am doing fine. I have enough food to eat. I have a warm bed to sleep in during the cold winter. I get relief from the scorching heat of summer. I have a steady job that pays me enough to enjoy life.
“The same cannot be said of everyone. They are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. They get sidetracked by meaningless squabbles. They become more vulnerable to disease, including ailments affecting the mind. I need to make some contribution to help those who are less fortunate.”
“Blood is thicker than water. I grew up with many of these people. If I can’t help them, who will? What will happen once I am gone? Who will take care of them? Let me arrange everything today so that there will not be an issue.
“But I also foresee conflict and disagreement. I know in some families that the rivalries do not end even at the death of elderly family members. Competing funeral arrangements. Silent treatment towards siblings. Forgiveness is not an option. Let me try to tackle that issue now, while I am still alive.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says that contemplation on these topics is to the detriment of God consciousness. In other words, they are a distraction. I do not know when death will strike, but when it does it will not wait for me to settle my affairs.
In truth, nothing will ever be truly settled. There is constant change. Society can be ideal today in my eyes, but in a single generation everything can get spoiled. One bad person appearing in the family can ruin its good name. Society can turn on one another in a moment’s notice, like with what occurred at the destruction of the Yadu dynasty.
Let me take care of my God consciousness first. That will be the best example to share with the ones I care about, which includes society and relatives. If I can rescue them from the repeated cycle of birth and death, I have offered the greatest gift. If I can induce chanting of the holy names, like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did as a child with His community, I have done something worth remembering: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Kala not to wait,
Despite unsettled state.
Where affairs properly arranging,
But situation always changing.
God consciousness focus better upon.
To fully purify before I am gone.
Benefit to others will redound,
Glory of bhakti all around.
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