“And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.5)
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अन्त-काले च माम् एव
स्मरन् मुक्त्वा कलेवरम्
यः प्रयाति स मद्-भावं
याति नास्त्य् अत्र संशयः
anta-kāle ca mām eva
smaran muktvā kalevaram
yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ
yāti nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ
In some competitions it is the intentional strategy. Don’t bother setting the pace. Why expend energy when someone else has reserves to tap into towards the finish line? Remain just far enough away that you feel comfortable making a push when the time is right.
In other sports, it just happens to work out that way. You spend the entire time behind. It looks like the other team is winning. They are on the verge of victory. Then, at the last moment, when there is no time remaining, you come back. You snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The analysts don’t know what to say. They review the statistics. Over an extended series consisting of seven matches, your side hardly ever was in front. Either even or behind. But you won in the end. None of the other numbers really matter.
A similar achievement is possible with life and death itself. From shastra we learn that the jiva soul, the conditioned living entity, has been spinning on the wheel of suffering, samsara-chakra, since before anyone can remember. Birth after birth, life after life.
Memory gets reset with each entry into the world. This explains why I can’t remember my previous existences. Even from within this lifetime, I have no recollection of the very beginning, the time spent in the womb. This proves that memory is not the sole determining factor for establishing a truth. There has to be an element of faith and trust involved; extended to authority figures.
In this human birth, specifically, I hope to stop the cycle. The choice is mine. It is up to me. I have complete control, though it seems otherwise. The three sources of misery and illusion surrounding me jerk the consciousness in different directions.
I am upset over what a celebrity has said. I peruse the comments section on website stories, looking for an argument. I am upset at how everyone around me buys into whatever the government leaders tell them, not thinking for themselves. I feel trapped, though I really have a great degree of freedom.
Despite significant time spent in illusion, up until the very last moment there is the opportunity for liberation. I could be fighting a losing battle, but if I hold on to the lotus feet of the all-attractive one, I will emerge victorious. I will be saved.
For confirmation, there is the direct promise from the Bhagavad-gita, spoken by Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is additional evidence through the example of saints already dedicated to a life of service in devotion. They provide a visual model of what life in liberation is like, i.e. what awaits on the other side.
If that opportunity is there for the taking until the very end, I should seize upon it immediately. Why wait? Take advantage of the chance and never look back. Others have made significant sacrifices for a clear path today.
Parikshit heard for seven days at the very end of life. Ajamila found liberation through a name, and Dasharatha never forgot his son. Let us remember in the same way, starting today, with the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
After losing entire time,
Suddenly victory to find.
Potential was always there,
Of reversal’s chance aware.
With end to life the same,
Where chanting holy name.
And remembering Him so,
Into liberation to go.
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