“After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.15)
माम् उपेत्य पुनर् जन्म
संसिद्धिं परमां गताः
mām upetya punar janma
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ
Just see the kindness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no limit to His causeless mercy, which has fallen my way since before I can remember, though I previously failed to both recognize it and appreciate it. To a commensurate level, to match the love and affection from the other side, I remain a miser.
From the beginning, I was blessed with good association and protection from my parents, grandparents and extended family. Despite their shortcomings, though not ideal in terms of behavior, I could have had it much worse. In this dark age of Kali, the forces of evil begin to attack while you are still in the womb. If you make it out alive, that is a noteworthy achievement.
Then I received an abundance of the basic necessities. A roof over my head, plenty of food to eat, and a formal education. The excess in the industrialized part of the world is to such an extent that the greatest calamity is the lamentation in comparing with other parts of the world. An overwhelming sense of guilt that we were able to take birth in these circumstances, while others are less fortunate.
In adulthood, I had the great fortune of coming in contact with a genuine spiritual master, a person who follows in the line of acharyas tracing their lineage back to the Supreme Lord Himself. Bhagavan is the adi-guru; no one is before Him. As He explains to Brahma in Bhagavata Purana, God was there at the beginning, He is here right now, and He will remain after everything gets annihilated.
That is the past, present and future for the Almighty, who is greater than time. The three periods are relative to each person. Still, the same truths apply to my sphere. For my past, present and future, Vishnu is always there. He never leaves my side, though I fail to recognize His presence.
In the exceptional case of achieving perfection in spiritual practice, through accepting the mercy of the guru and following through on their words of instruction, I get a benefit I never before considered. In every other area of life, there is a finish line in terms of achievement.
For instance, if your goal is to win the upcoming race, there is nothing after the race is finished. You either win or you don’t. If you reach successful completion, that is the end to the cycle. You may try for another race, but that is creating another goal and working towards another end.
The commonly held belief is that spiritual life is for the end, which is death. Make sure to be sent to the heavenly realm, where the picture is too foggy to get any exact detail. We know that it is not like life on earth, but we’re not really sure what happens moving forward.
Vishnu is so kind that He gives me eternal life after the end. That is to say if I achieve perfection in consciousness, through the yoga process, I certainly am free from having to take birth again. I won’t have to return to the land of birth and death, subject to dualities.
Yet this does not mean that my existence is over. Neither is my work. The person to study in this regard is Shri Hanuman. Already a liberated soul, he chooses his time of passing. He does not leave this world until he is ready to.
Hanuman volunteers to remain here for as long as the glories of Shri Rama continue to be told. This is his life after liberation, after having met Vishnu face to face, after having served Him in the most daring mission, after having pleased Him to a level that cannot be repaid in favor.
Because of the unlimited mercy of the Almighty, I will continue to work in such a way that Hanuman’s decision is not regretted. If he is kind enough to stay here and guide me along the proper path, to give me strength when I feel weak, to lift me up when I have fallen down, then I at least can glorify the Supreme Lord and constantly chant His holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Eternal life displaying,
While in this world staying.
Despite sacrifice paid,
Choice by him made.
That in this world for as long,
As devotion to Shri Rama strong.
Hanuman showing life to extend,
That more to it after the end.