“Lord Brahma said: O son of Kashyapa Muni, please get up, please get up. All good fortune unto you. You are now perfect in the performance of your austerities, and therefore I may give you a benediction. You may now ask from me whatever you desire, and I shall try to fulfill your wish.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.3.17)
उत्तिष्ठोत्तिष्ठ भद्रं ते
तपः-सिद्धो ’सि काश्यप
वरदो ’हम् अनुप्राप्तो
व्रियताम् ईप्सितो वरः
uttiṣṭhottiṣṭha bhadraṁ te
tapaḥ-siddho ’si kāśyapa
varado ’ham anuprāpto
vriyatām īpsito varaḥ
Friend1: You ever hear someone say, “Well, that person died too young, A terrible tragedy.”
Friend2: Of course. Usually, it is about someone who was in their youth. We expect death to occur in old age, though we know it can strike at any moment.
Friend1: I get the feeling that no age is appropriate. Even if they are in their seventies, someone will lament that people are living much longer now.
Friend2: I like the outlook from His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Friend1: That as soon as you are born, you are dying?
Friend2: That is true, but I am referring to the issue of passing away too young. He says that it matters more what you are able to do in your time here. Think about that for a second. You could live up to ninety years old if you sit around and do nothing.
Friend1: Watch television all day. Just relax. Retired life.
Friend2: Another person is in the field. They are in a stressful job, but one they feel is important. Millions of other people rely on them for advice or comfort. Some sort of connection, which is through listening. The job takes its toll, and they subsequently do not live as long.
Friend1: That is a good transition for what I was thinking about today. People often lament that they wished they had more time with someone who has departed.
“If only they hung around for a little longer. Ten more years would have been great. Life is not fair.”
Friend2: That sentiment is completely natural. Death is a real blow to the people affected. Suddenly, you can never speak to that person again. They are gone forever. They are not even who they were. They could now be in heaven or preparing for another birth.
Friend1: Which brings me to the subject of immortality. Specifically, those who seek it.
Friend2: Like who?
Friend1: Take Hiranyakashipu, for instance.
Friend2: He asked for it directly. He had someone important in front of him. If anyone could deliver immortality, it would be Lord Brahma, the creator.
Friend1: And yet he couldn’t. Brahma lives for billions of years, but that is not immortality.
Friend2: Think about that for a second.
Friend1: Oh, I am. That is why we are discussing the topic. To me, whether someone is around for an extra ten years or ten thousand, the vulnerability is the same.
Friend2: They are still mortal.
Friend1: Precisely. How could Hiranyakashipu not understand that?
Friend2: There is a reason he falls into the category of Daitya, which is a specification of asura. These people are not smart. They may be able to rise to power in the material world, but they are unaware of the guaranteed fall. With the boons that Brahma did eventually agree to offer, Hiranyakashipu thought he would live forever.
Friend1: Which he certainly did not. Narasimhadeva gave the Daitya leader a vivid illustration of the undefeated streak of time, which is known as kala in Sanskrit.
Friend2: That time in between meeting Brahma and Narasimha could have been spent in devotion. He could have increased his jnana. He could have become enlightened. Then the boons would have made a real difference. He instead spoiled everything through material enjoyment, which included torturing his five year-old son named Prahlada.
Friend1: Prahlada did not ask for immortality. Not at any time. That is notable.
Friend2: Because he knew better. He would rather have immortality in service, which he does. Narasimha guarantees that the devotion of the devotees never perishes. It carries over from birth to birth, if necessary.
Amidst the sadness and tears,
If only around another ten years.
That person too soon left,
Of their association now bereft.
But another outlook to the wise,
That important not the duration size.
What accomplished in time mattering more,
Human life the spiritual connection for.