Fag end of life

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 3

As freshly prepared food is very tasteful but if kept for three or four hours becomes stale and tasteless, so the existence of material enjoyment can endure as long as life is fresh, but at the fag end of life everything becomes tasteless, and everything appears to be vain and painful.
SB 3.22.35, Purport:

As freshly prepared food is very tasteful but if kept for three or four hours becomes stale and tasteless, so the existence of material enjoyment can endure as long as life is fresh, but at the fag end of life everything becomes tasteless, and everything appears to be vain and painful. The life of Emperor Svāyambhuva Manu, however, was not tasteless; as he grew older, his life remained as fresh as in the beginning because of his continued Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The life of a man in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is always fresh. It is said that the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening and its business is to reduce the duration of everyone's life. But the sunrise and sunset cannot diminish the life of one who engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Svāyambhuva Manu's life did not become stale after some time, for he engaged himself always in chanting about and meditating upon Lord Viṣṇu. He was the greatest yogī because he never wasted his time. It is especially mentioned here, viṣṇoḥ kurvato bruvataḥ kathāḥ. When he talked, he talked only of Kṛṣṇa and Viṣṇu, the Personality of Godhead; when he heard something, it was about Kṛṣṇa; when he meditated, it was upon Kṛṣṇa and His activities.

SB Canto 4

At the fag end of life, when the invalidity of old age attacks a man, his body becomes useless for all purposes. If one is unable to take to the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness from the very beginning of life, he must be trained to accept these principles at the fag end of life.
SB 4.28.3, Purport:

At the fag end of life, when the invalidity of old age attacks a man, his body becomes useless for all purposes. Therefore Vedic training dictates that when a man is in his boyhood he should be trained in the process of brahmacarya; that is, he should be completely engaged in the service of the Lord and should not in any way associate with women. When the boy becomes a young man, he marries between the ages of twenty and twenty-five. When he is married at the right age, he can immediately beget strong, healthy sons. Now female descendants are increasing because young men are very weak sexually. A male child will be born if the husband is sexually stronger than the wife, but if the female is stronger, a female child will be born. Thus it is essential to practice the system of brahmacarya if one wishes to beget a male child when one is married. When one reaches the age of fifty, he should give up family life. At that time one's child should be grown up so that the father can leave the family responsibilities to him. The husband and wife may then go abroad to live a retired life and travel to different places of pilgrimage. When both the husband and wife lose their attachment for family and home, the wife returns home to live under the care of her grown-up children and to remain aloof from family affairs. The husband then takes sannyāsa to render some service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

This is the perfect system of civilization. The human form of life is especially meant for God realization. If one is unable to take to the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness from the very beginning of life, he must be trained to accept these principles at the fag end of life. Unfortunately, there is no training even in childhood, nor can one give up his family life even at the end. This is the situation with the city of Purañjana, figuratively described in these verses.

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Light of the Bhagavata

Cranelike politicians especially are too much attached to the false prestige of position and rank, and so they always seek reelection, even at the fag end of life.
Light of the Bhagavata 19, Purport:

We should always remember that the society, friendship, only shadowy representations of the real society, friendship, and love reciprocated in the kingdom of God. There is no reality in the conditioned life of material existence, but because of our ignorance we are attached to the mirage. The idea of society, friendship, and love is not at all false, but the place where we search for it is false. We have to give up this false position and rise to the reality. That should be the aim of life, and that is the result of cultivating the human spirit.

Unfortunately, for want of sufficient culture of this spirit, the materialistic man always sticks to this false place in spite of all its turmoils. It is said that a man should give up the order of householder life at the age of fifty. But in this era of ignorance even an old man wants to rejuvenate his bodily functions, put on artificial teeth, and make a pretense of youthful life, even on the verge of death. Cranelike politicians especially are too much attached to the false prestige of position and rank, and so they always seek reelection, even at the fag end of life. These are some of the symptoms of an uncultured life.

The politician never retires from politics, even if he has enjoyed many covetable posts, like those of minister or president. The older he is, the more he is attached to his false prestige. Even at the fag end of his life he thinks that everything will be spoiled without him.
Light of the Bhagavata 34, Purport:

Foolish politicians are too attached to family life. A big politician means a big family man. An ordinary family man is attached to his limited family of wife and children, but big politicians extend the same family feeling to a wider circle and thus become encumbered by false prestige, honor, and self-interest. The politician never retires from politics, even if he has enjoyed many covetable posts, like those of minister or president. The older he is, the more he is attached to his false prestige. Even at the fag end of his life he thinks that everything will be spoiled without him. He is so foolish that he does not see that many other politicians who thought like him have come and gone, with no gain or loss for want of them. These family men, big and small, are like the small fish in the pools of water that gradually dry up in the autumn. They are foolish because they think that their attachment to their family, even at the end of their lives, will be able to protect them from the cruel hands of death.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

You can take sannyāsa from the very beginning, but if it is not possible, at least at the fag end of your life everyone should take sannyāsa and completely devote in understanding the science of God. That is called sannyāsa.
Lecture on BG 9.4 -- Melbourne, April 23, 1976:

The Vedic system is first brahmacārī, then gṛhastha. That is compulsory, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa, four divisions. First of all he must be trained up first-class brahmacārī, up to twenty-five years. And then, if he likes, he can enter into family life. That is also up to fifty years. Naturally a person after being trained up as brahmacārī enters family life, he cannot stay in family life for all the days. Fifty years, when his sons are grown up, say twenty years, twenty-five years, then he can retire from family life. That is called vānaprastha. The wife can remain as assistant, not for any other purpose. Then, when he is fully prepared, the wife goes to the care of elderly children and the wife takes sannyāsa.

But this culture is lost. Now unless one is shot dead, he would not leave family life. (laughter) Even Mahatma Gandhi, he got independence and everything; still he would not leave. So he was shot dead. This is our position. All politicians, all big big men, they are not going to retire, stuck up. This is not civilization. When one is young, he can remain with family, wife, children, twenty-five to fifty years. That's all. No more. Give up. Then take vānaprastha. Train up yourself for becoming sannyāsī. Then take sannyāsa simply for understanding God. That is sannyāsa. You can take sannyāsa from the very beginning, but if it is not possible, at least at the fag end of your life everyone should take sannyāsa and completely devote in understanding the science of God. That is called sannyāsa.

At the fag end of life, we are disappointed, we are frustrated. When we cannot again, no more, we can enjoy with our senses, then we become very much depressed. Old men. You'll find old men, those who are not spiritually inclined, they're very morose.
Lecture on BG 13.1-2 -- Bombay, December 29, 1972:

So because we wanted to imitate Kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa-bahirmukha hañā bhoga vāñchā kare, the Kṛṣṇa has given us a place which is illusion. Which is not fact. Temporary. Illusion. Just like we sometimes see water in the desert. That is illusion. Practically there is no illusion, uh, there is no water. But we see: "Oh, here is water, vast water." The animals, they run after the water. Similarly we are also running after this illusion. "There is happiness. There is happiness." Therefore there is no happiness.

At the fag end of life, we are disappointed, we are frustrated. Brdhya kala aula saba sukha pāgala.(?) When we cannot again, no more, we can enjoy with our senses, then we become very much depressed. Old men. You'll find old men, those who are not spiritually inclined, they're very morose. Morose because they cannot use anymore the senses. They sometimes take medicine. But how it can be done? So drdhya kala aula.(?) So we are under this illusion. This is called māyā. We should understand that we are not this body. We are not this body. Our bodily enjoyment, sense gratification, that is illusion.

Initiation Lectures

According to Vedic system, one takes sannyāsa at the fag end of life. Just like I have taken.
Lecture at Sannyasa Initiation -- Los Angeles, May 27, 1972:

Prabhupāda: Ahaṁ tariṣyāmi duranta-pāraṁ tamo mukundāṅghri-niṣevayaiva. As explained in the beginning, the whole process is to engage in the service of Kṛṣṇa, whose another name is Mukunda. Muk means liberation, one who gives liberation and blissful life. So this Kṛṣṇa Conscious movement is meant for delivering the conditioned soul of this age, Kali-yuga, as it was inaugurated by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself, accompanied by Nityānanda. He also took sannyāsa at the age of twenty-four years only, very young man. So according to Vedic system, one takes sannyāsa at the fag end of life. Just like I have taken. While I was going to die, I took sannyāsa. So, that is also, something is better than nothing. And now you have sannyāsa in prime youthful life. So you are all far better than me. You have got enough opportunity to serve Kṛṣṇa and His mission. I am old man. I may pass away at any moment. The wording is already there. So you remain and preach this cult.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1977 Conversations and Morning Walks

These people, they do not know. Now at the fag end of life, they are thinking, if intelligent person, that "What I have done actually?" If one has sense, he should come to this understanding.
Morning Walk -- January 4, 1977, Bombay:

Prabhupāda: If you cut the paramparā system, then there is no electricity. Therefore it is stressed so much. Sa kāleneha mahatā yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa. The electricity is lost. These people, they do not know. Now at the fag end of life, they are thinking, if intelligent person, that "What I have done actually?" If one has sense, he should come to this understanding. By cutting some, what is that? Dead trees? The civil disobedience began by cutting dead trees. Is it not? Vinoda Bhave, he began his leadership forty years ago by cutting... Gandhi also, civil disobedience. So this kind of leadership might have been little enthusiasm for the time being, but actually what people gain by that, such leadership?

Correspondence

1947 to 1965 Correspondence

Mahatma Gandhi set the example at his fag-end of life and his daily prayer meetings in the midst of gravest political occupation must be taken note of.
Letter to R. Prakash -- Allahabad 22 June, 1951:

Mahatma Gandhi set the example at his fag-end of life and his daily prayer meetings in the midst of gravest political occupation must be taken note of. So also in the Bhagavad-gita. The Arjuna in the gravest moment of warfare learnt the teachings of Bhagavad-gita & he changed his personal opinion in the manner of the fighting.

1974 Correspondence

I wish that in the fag end of life if you and I together can preach Krsna Consciousness all over the world, people will be benefited and all problems of the world will be solved.
Letter to Dr. Ghosh:

I wish that in the fag end of life if you and I together can preach Krsna Consciousness all over the world, people will be benefited and all problems of the world will be solved. That is my conviction. I take the opportunity of sending this letter with your cousin-brother Mr. Zazumdar. He is a nice gentleman, almost of our age. I talked with him and felt great pleasure. Sometimes I think of going to Allahabad. So whenever I shall get the opportunity I may go, as I like the place. I am obliged to you for your remembering me even after so many years passed when we were together in Prayag Pharmacy.

Facts about "Fag end of life"
Compiled byVisnu Murti + and Kanupriya +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entryApril 29, 0009 JL +
Date of last entryDecember 4, 0009 JL +
Total quotes10 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 0 +, SB: 2 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 2 +, Lec: 3 +, Conv: 1 + and Let: 2 +