Elevation At Death (Part Three)
We are spirit soul, and as such we are eternal. Why, then, should we subject ourselves to birth and death? One who asks this question is to be considered intelligent. Those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious are very intelligent, because they are not interested in gaining entrance to any planet where there is death. They will reject a long duration of life in order to attain a body like God’s. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ. Sat means “eternal,” cit means “full of knowledge,” and ānanda means “full of pleasure.” Kṛṣṇa is the reservoir of all pleasure. If we transfer ourselves from this body into the spiritual world – either to Kṛṣṇaloka (Kṛṣṇa’s planet) or any other spiritual planet – we will receive a similar sac-cid-ānanda body. Thus the aim of those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is different from those who are trying to promote themselves to higher planets within this material world.
The self, or soul, of the individual is a minute spiritual spark. The perfection of yoga lies in the transferral of this spiritual spark to the top of the head. Having attained this, the yogī can transfer himself to any planet in the material world according to his desire. If the yogī is curious to know what the moon is like, he can transfer himself there, or if he is interested in higher planets, he can transfer himself there, just as travelers go to New York, Canada, or other cities on the earth. Wherever one goes on earth, he finds the same visa and customs systems operating, and on all the material planets one can similarly see the principles of birth, old age, disease, and death operating.
Oṁ ity ekākṣaraṁ brahma: at the point of death the yogī can pronounce oṁ, oṁkāra, the concise form of transcendental sound vibration. If the yogī can vibrate this sound and at the same time remember Kṛṣṇa, or Viṣṇu (mām anusmaran), he attains the highest goal. It is the process of yoga to concentrate the mind on Viṣṇu. The impersonalists imagine some form of the Supreme Lord, but the personalists do not imagine this; they actually see. Whether one imagines Him or actually sees Him, one has to concentrate his mind on the personal form of Kṛṣṇa.
yo māṁ smarati nityaśaḥ
tasyāhaṁ sulabhaḥ pārtha
“For one who remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.” (Gītā 8.14)
Those who are satisfied with temporary life, temporary pleasure, and temporary facilities are not to be considered intelligent, at least not according to the Bhagavad-gītā. According to the Gītā, one whose brain substance is very small is interested in temporary things. We are eternal, so why should we be interested in temporary things? No one wants a nonpermanent situation. If we are living in an apartment and the landlord asks us to vacate, we are sorry, but we are not sorry if we move into a better apartment. It is our nature, because we are permanent, to want a permanent residence. We don’t wish to die, because in actuality we are permanent. Nor do we want to grow old or be diseased, because these are all external or nonpermanent states. Although we are not meant to suffer from fever, sometimes fever comes, and we have to take precautions and remedies to get well again. The fourfold miseries are like a fever, and they are all due to the material body. If somehow we can get out of the material body, we can escape the miseries that are integral with it.
For the impersonalists to get out of this temporary body, Kṛṣṇa here advises that they vibrate the syllable oṁ. In this way they can be assured of transmigration into the spiritual world. However, although they may enter the spiritual world, they cannot enter into any of the planets there. They remain outside, in the brahmajyoti. The brahmajyoti may be compared to the sunshine, and the spiritual planets may be compared to the sun itself. In the spiritual sky the impersonalists remain in the effulgence of the Supreme Lord, the brahmajyoti. The impersonalists are placed in the brahmajyoti as spiritual sparks, and in this way the brahmajyoti is filled with spiritual sparks. This is what is meant by merging into the spiritual existence. It should not be considered that one merges into the brahmajyoti in the sense of becoming one with it; the individuality of the spiritual spark is retained, but because the impersonalist does not want to take a personal form, he is found as a spiritual spark in that effulgence. Just as the sunshine is composed of so many atomic particles, so the brahmajyoti is composed of so many spiritual sparks.
However, as living entities we want enjoyment. Being, in itself, is not enough. We want bliss (ānanda) as well as being (sat). In his entirety, the living entity is composed of three qualities – eternality, knowledge, and bliss. Those who enter impersonally into the brahmajyoti can remain there for some time in full knowledge that they are now merged homogeneously with Brahman, but they cannot have that eternal ānanda, bliss, because that part is wanting. One may remain alone in a room for some time and may enjoy himself by reading a book or engaging in some thought, but it is not possible to remain in that room for years and years at a time, and certainly not for all eternity. Therefore, for one who merges impersonally into the existence of the Supreme, there is every chance of falling down again into the material world in order to acquire some association. This is the verdict of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Astronauts may travel thousands and thousands of miles, but if they do not find rest on some planet, they have to return again to earth. In any case, rest is required. In the impersonal form, rest is uncertain. Therefore Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says that even after so much endeavor, if the impersonalist enters into the spiritual world and acquires an impersonal form, he returns again into the material world because of neglecting to serve the Supreme Lord in love and devotion. As long as we are here on earth, we must learn to practice to love and serve Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord. If we learn this, we can enter into those spiritual planets. The impersonalist’s position in the spiritual world is nonpermanent, for out of loneliness he will attempt to acquire some association. Because he does not associate personally with the Supreme Lord, he has to return again to the world and associate with conditioned living entities there.
To Be Continued…..