“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)
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
“How do you reconcile the issue of social responsibility? I am referring specifically to causes. You will meet some people who claim to not be political. They go right down the middle. They tend to stay neutral. They say that every politician is crooked, so there is no reason to get behind one or work feverishly to defeat another.
“At some point, push comes to shove. If the government decides to lock everyone in their house, for no good reason, people have to stand up. Otherwise, it will remain that way all the time. That leads me to think that the people standing up the entire time are making a difference, that without them we wouldn’t be able to enjoy life at all.
“I feel grateful for their efforts and sacrifice. I want to help, in any way that I can. I understand that there are limits, that one person cannot save the world by themselves. Still, there should be some responsibility to leave the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. Wouldn’t you agree?
“With respect to spiritual life in the Vedic culture, the neutrality extends beyond politics. There is no use to following sports. There is no interest in furthering a career, for instance. Everything will be finished at the time of death. Instead, work in a way that does not suffer defeat.
“I find that philosophy appealing, but what about the risk of escaping responsibility? Isn’t it a little too easy to just remove interest from the world around us? Shouldn’t we be engaged a little bit? Do not the component pieces, the individual interests, help to create an overall environment that is conducive to spiritual life?”
In reality, it is the interest in the temporary which is the escape. It is a way to avoid contemplating the horrible future, which is total destruction. Death is for everyone. No one escapes. Some can prolong it better than others, but every person will be forced to exit, regardless.
ये हि संस्पर्श-जा भोगा
दुःख-योनय एव ते
न तेषु रमते बुधः
ye hi saṁsparśa-jā bhogā
duḥkha-yonaya eva te
na teṣu ramate budhaḥ
“An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.22)
Moreover, the experiences within the temporary are miserable. This is because they have a beginning and an end. You take joy from witnessing a live sporting event, where the player you favored emerged victorious. The next year, that same player has the pressure of the world on their shoulders. They come up short, and the supporters walk away dejected and sad.
Spiritual life has transcendental pleasure. This ananda meets the individual at their level. It is a kind of joy which lacks exhaustion, boredom, monotony, and repetition. It is an everlasting kind of happiness, and so there is a taste of liberation.
That liberation is the goal of the human birth. Find something which is not miserable. Instead of escaping temporarily, transfer to the permanent realm. Then everything else will be okay. You will be able to tolerate the ups and downs. You will be able to find joy in any situation.
रमन्ते योगिनो ’नन्ते
ramante yogino ’nante
“The mystics derive unlimited transcendental pleasures from the Absolute Truth, and therefore the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is also known as Rama.” (Padma Purana)
The foundation of spiritual life is connection with the Supreme Spirit. Remember Him today, tomorrow, and the day after. Connect with Him always. Keep Him on the mind at the time of death and you have achieved a successful end. The end will arrive anyway, so it is better to choose a next destination befitting the nature of the individual, who is spirit soul.
The interest escape to be,
Such that final end not to see.
But will arrive all the same,
Destined as soon as here came.
Better that beyond thinking,
Rather than in ignorance sinking.
Spiritual life this purpose for,
Original condition to restore.