Death and the pure devotee

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is

BG Chapters 7 - 12

A pure devotee does not practice such yoga, but because he is always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, at death he can remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His grace
BG 8.10, Purport: In this verse it is clearly stated that at the time of death the mind must be fixed in devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For those practiced in yoga, it is recommended that they raise the life force between the eyebrows (to the ājñā-cakra). The practice of ṣaṭ-cakra-yoga, involving meditation on the six cakras, is suggested here. A pure devotee does not practice such yoga, but because he is always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, at death he can remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His grace. This is explained in verse fourteen.
For the pure devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no fear of returning, whether he leaves the body at an auspicious or inauspicious moment, by accident or arrangement
BG 8.24, Purport: Mystics who are advanced in yoga practice can arrange the time and place to leave the body. Others have no control—if by accident they leave at an auspicious moment, then they will not return to the cycle of birth and death, but otherwise there is every possibility that they will have to return. However, for the pure devotee in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no fear of returning, whether he leaves the body at an auspicious or inauspicious moment, by accident or arrangement.

Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 1

Even before death, a pure devotee has no material affection, due to his body's being spiritualized like a red-hot iron in contact with fire
SB 1.6.27, Purport: That is the sign of spiritually enriched persons. And in due course of time, when a pure devotee is completely prepared, all of a sudden the change of body occurs which is commonly called death. And for the pure devotee such a change takes place exactly like lightning, and illumination follows simultaneously. That is to say a devotee simultaneously changes his material body and develops a spiritual body by the will of the Supreme. Even before death, a pure devotee has no material affection, due to his body's being spiritualized like a red-hot iron in contact with fire.
Therefore change of the body means stoppage of the reaction of three qualitative modes of material nature upon the pure devotee
SB 1.6.28, Purport: A devotee's body becomes at once surcharged with the transcendental qualities as soon as he is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. It acts like the magnetic influence of a touchstone upon iron. The influence of transcendental devotional service is like that. Therefore change of the body means stoppage of the reaction of three qualitative modes of material nature upon the pure devotee.
Mahārāja Parīkṣit prepared himself to meet death very cheerfully and very properly
SB 1.12.2, Purport: Unfortunately, by the instigation of the fallen age of Kali, an unfortunate brāhmaṇa's son was employed to condemn the innocent Mahārāja Parīkṣit, and so the King had to prepare himself for death within seven days. Mahārāja Parīkṣit is especially famous as one who is protected by Viṣṇu, and when he was unduly cursed by a brāhmaṇa's son, he could have invoked the mercy of the Lord to save him, but he did not want to because he was a pure devotee. A pure devotee never asks the Lord for any undue favor.Mahārāja Parīkṣit knew that the curse of the brāhmaṇa's son upon him was unjustified, as everyone else knew, but he did not want to counteract it because he knew also that the age of Kali had begun and that the first symptom of the age, namely degradation of the highly talented brāhmaṇa community, had also begun. He did not want to interfere with the current of the time, but he prepared himself to meet death very cheerfully and very properly. Being fortunate, he got at least seven days to prepare himself to meet death, and so he properly utilized the time in the association of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the great saint and devotee of the Lord.
Yamarāja is a great devotee of the Lord, and he likes to be invited to kīrtanas and sacrifices by the pure devotees
SB 1.16.7, Purport: The only hope of suspending the cruel slaughtering process of Yamarāja is to call him to hear and chant the holy name of the Lord. Yamarāja is a great devotee of the Lord, and he likes to be invited to kīrtanas and sacrifices by the pure devotees, who are constantly engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. Thus the great sages, headed by Śaunaka and others, invited Yamarāja to attend the sacrifice performed at Naimiṣāraṇya. This was good for those who did not want to die.
A nārāyaṇa-parāyaṇa is never afraid of any place or person, not even of death
SB 1.18.2, Purport: A self-surrendered devotee of the Lord is called nārāyaṇa-parāyaṇa. Such a person is never afraid of any place or person, not even of death. For him nothing is as important as the Supreme Lord, and thus he gives equal importance to heaven and hell. He knows well that both heaven and hell are creations of the Lord, and similarly life and death are different conditions of existence created by the Lord. But in all conditions and in all circumstances, remembrance of Nārāyaṇa is essential. The nārāyaṇa-parāyaṇa practices this constantly. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was such a pure devotee.

SB Canto 2

Parīkṣit Mahārāja has been addressed by the Gosvāmī as the manīṣī, or the man of highly developed mind, because at the time of death he left all material enjoyment
SB 2.3.2-7, Purport: Śukadeva Gosvāmī said that out of the 8,400,000 species of living entities, the human form of life is rare and valuable, and out of those rare human beings those who are conscious of the material problems are rarer still, and the still more rare persons are those who are conscious of the value of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which contains the messages of the Lord and His pure devotees. Death is inevitable for everyone, intelligent or foolish. But Parīkṣit Mahārāja has been addressed by the Gosvāmī as the manīṣī, or the man of highly developed mind, because at the time of death he left all material enjoyment and completely surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord by hearing His messages from the right person, Śukadeva Gosvāmī.
Death is a symptom of the material infection of the eternal living being
SB 2.3.17, Purport: And thus the sun fails to rob the pure devotee of his duration of life, inasmuch as he is constantly busy in the devotional service of the Lord, purifying his existence. Death is a symptom of the material infection of the eternal living being; only due to material infection is the eternal living entity subjected to the law of birth, death, old age and disease.

SB Canto 3

The cycle of birth and death cannot be stopped unless one is a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord
SB 3.25.41, Purport: It is indicated herein that the cycle of birth and death cannot be stopped unless one is a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord. It is said, hariṁ vinā na mṛtim taranti. One cannot surpass the cycle of birth and death unless one is favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The same concept is confirmed herewith: one may take to the system of understanding the Absolute Truth by one's own imperfect sensory speculation, or one may try to realize the self by the mystic yoga process; but whatever one may do, unless he comes to the point of surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, no process can give him liberation.

SB Canto 4

If one strictly follows the process of devotional service, he has no fear of death
SB 4.24.68, Purport: If one strictly follows the process of devotional service, he has no fear of death, for he is predestined to go back home, back to Godhead. The nondevotees are fearful of death because they have no guarantee of where they are going or of the type of body they are going to get in their next life
SB 4.30.33, Purport: The conclusion is that a pure devotee is not anxious to stop the repetition of birth and death, but is always eager to associate with other devotees who are engaged in chanting and hearing about the glories of the Lord.
SB 4.30.34, Translation: Even a moment's association with a pure devotee cannot be compared to being transferred to heavenly planets or even merging into the Brahman effulgence in complete liberation. For living entities who are destined to give up the body and die, association with pure devotees is the highest benediction.

SB Canto 7

The Lord also asked Prahlāda to perform the ritualistic ceremonies appropriate after his father's death
SB 7.10 Summary, Purport: Prahlāda Mahārāja accepted whatever the Lord had offered him, and he prayed for the Lord to deliver his father. In response to this prayer, the Lord assured him that in the family of such a pure devotee as he, not only the devotee's father but his forefathers for twenty-one generations are liberated. The Lord also asked Prahlāda to perform the ritualistic ceremonies appropriate after his father's death.

SB Canto 9

A devotee is never fearful of his death, for he meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead always
SB 9.4.48, Purport: As a pure devotee, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, although in such danger, did not move an inch from his position, nor did he request the Supreme Personality of Godhead to give him protection. He was fixed in understanding, and it was certain that he was simply thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the core of his heart. A devotee is never fearful of his death, for he meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead always, not for any material profit, but as his duty. The Lord, however, knows how to protect His devotee. As indicated by the words prāg diṣṭam, the Lord knew everything. Therefore, before anything happened, He had already arranged for His cakra to protect Mahārāja Ambarīṣa.

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Teachings of Lord Caitanya

If a person who is about to die takes full shelter of the Supreme Lord and places himself fully under His care, he actually attains immortality
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 12: Such a surrendered soul should take shelter of a holy place like Vṛndāvana, Mathurā, Dvārakā, Māyāpur, etc., and should surrender himself unto the Lord, saying, "My Lord, from today I am Yours. You can protect me or kill me as You like." A pure devotee takes shelter of Kṛṣṇa in such a way, and Kṛṣṇa is so grateful that He accepts him and gives him all kinds of protection. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.29.34) where it is said that if a person who is about to die takes full shelter of the Supreme Lord and places himself fully under His care, he actually attains immortality and becomes eligible to associate with the Supreme Lord and enjoy transcendental bliss.

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

The fact is that those who are always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and mature, pure devotional service are given the chance, after death, to gain Kṛṣṇa’s association in one of the universes within the material world
Krsna Book, Chapter 28: Those who successfully practice bhakti-yoga go directly to the spiritual world after giving up this present body, and there they become situated in one of the Vaikuṇṭha planets. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana are all pure devotees. Their destination after quitting the body is Kṛṣṇaloka. They even surpass the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. The fact is that those who are always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and mature, pure devotional service are given the chance, after death, to gain Kṛṣṇa’s association in one of the universes within the material world. Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are continuously going on, either in this universe or in another universe.
Such pure devotees, thoroughly engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, very easily overcome the cycle of birth and death, and they as much as jump over the head of death
Krsna Book, Chapter 87: By devotional service, therefore, one satisfies not only the Personality of Godhead but also all others, because everyone is maintained and supported by Him. Because a devotee understands the all-pervasive feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is the most practical philanthropist and altruist. Such pure devotees, thoroughly engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, very easily overcome the cycle of birth and death, and they as much as jump over the head of death.”A devotee is never afraid of death or of changing his body; his consciousness is transformed into Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and even if he does not go back to Godhead, even if he transmigrates to another material body, he has nothing to fear.
Not only can a pure devotee easily surpass death, but by his grace his followers can also do so without difficulty
Krsna Book, Chapter 87: Not only does a pure devotee purify his own personal existence, but whoever becomes his disciple also becomes purified and is ultimately able to enter the kingdom of God without difficulty. In other words, not only can a pure devotee easily surpass death, but by his grace his followers can also do so without difficulty. The power of devotional service is so great that a pure devotee can electrify another person by his transcendental instruction on crossing over the ocean of nescience.
A pure devotee is not, therefore, afraid of birth, death, old age and disease
Krsna Book, Chapter 87: When Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva appeared, Prahlāda Mahārāja was never afraid of Him, whereas his atheist father was immediately faced with death personified and was killed. Therefore, although Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva appears as death for an atheist like Hiraṇyakaśipu, He is always kind and is the reservoir of all pleasure for the devotees like Prahlāda. A pure devotee is not, therefore, afraid of birth, death, old age and disease.

Sri Isopanisad

Even if at the time of death a devotee does not remember his service to the Lord, the Lord does not forget him
Sri Isopanisad, text 17, Purport: Unlike the simple animals, who have no developed mind, the dying human being can remember the activities of his life like dreams at night; therefore his mind remains surcharged with material desires, and consequently he cannot enter into the spiritual kingdom with a spiritual body. The devotees, however, develop a sense of love for Godhead by practicing devotional service to the Lord. Even if at the time of death a devotee does not remember his service to the Lord, the Lord does not forget him. This prayer is given to remind the Lord of the devotee's sacrifices, but even if there is no such reminder, the Lord does not forget the service rendered by His pure devotee.

Mukunda-mala-stotra (mantras 1 to 6 only)

For such a devotee birth and death are one and the same, because he knows that such occurrences are only ephemeral flashes that do not affect his spiritual existence
MM mantra 3*, Purport: For the Lord there is no difference between past, present, and future, but for the living being who has forgotten the Lord there is a difference, on account of his being forgetful of the past and ignorant of the future. But a living entity who always remembers the Lord and is thus His constant companion is as transcendentally situated as the Lord Himself. For such a devotee birth and death are one and the same, because he knows that such occurrences are only ephemeral flashes that do not affect his spiritual existence.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

So if you practice your life in this way, never lost to Kṛṣṇa, so at the time of death you are sure to go to Kṛṣṇa
Lecture on BG 6.30-34 -- Los Angeles, February 19, 1969: Prabhupāda: That's all. How you can (laughs) be lost of Kṛṣṇa? That is sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ [Bg. 8.6]. So if you practice your life in this way, never lost to Kṛṣṇa, so at the time of death you are sure to go to Kṛṣṇa. Where you are going? You are not lost to Kṛṣṇa. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati [Bg. 9.31]. And Kṛṣṇa promises, "My dear Arjuna, My pure devotee is never lost to Me." Don't be lost to Kṛṣṇa. That is perfection of life.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

"Oh, I am engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because after death I shall go back to home, back to Godhead."
Lecture on SB 1.2.6 -- London, August 27, 1971: Pure devotee is satisfied only with the service of the Lord. That is pure devotion. Because there is no desire. That is explained here. Ahaituky apratihatā. "Oh, I am engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because after death I shall go back to home, back to Godhead." Of course, that's a fact. But a pure devotee even does not desire that. He says, "Wherever Kṛṣṇa will keep me, I shall remain there. It doesn't matter whether heaven or hell. I don't care for it."
If I have created my mentality like Vaiṣṇava, pure devotee, then I shall immediately transfer to Vaikuṇṭha
Lecture on SB 6.1.27 -- Indore, December 15, 1970: So when he was just on the point of death, naturally he had affection for his son, so he was calling, "Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa, please come here, please come here." That is natural. I know my father, when he was dying, so I was not at home. So he lived for one day to see me. He was always inquiring "Whether Abhay has come back, come back," like that. So by the paternal affection he showed that. Similarly, the Ajāmila was also calling, "Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa." And in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram [Bg. 8.6]. This practice means at the time of death if one can remember Kṛṣṇa, Nārāyaṇa, then the whole life is successful. At the time of death. Because the mentality, status of the mind at the time of death, will carry him to the next life. Just like the flavor is carried by the air, similarly, my mentality will carry me to a different type of body. If I have created my mentality like Vaiṣṇava, pure devotee, then I shall immediately transfer to Vaikuṇṭha.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

Pure or nonpure, nobody dies
Morning Walk -- May 22, 1975, Melbourne:

Madhudviña: But would that mean that a person who is a pure devotee doesn't have to die?

Prabhupāda: No, die... Pure or nonpure, nobody dies.

Madhudviña: Though his material body dies.

Prabhupāda: Yes. But a pure devotee goes back to home. There is no more material body. That is the... So we are advocating that you come to this stage where you will not to have accept this material body.

1977 Conversations and Morning Walks

So there is no question of being afraid of death
Srila Prabhupada Vigil -- May 28-29, 1977, Vrndavana:

Prabhupāda: Yes. No, I am very much confident of this medicine because nobody is prepared to die, but I am prepared to die. That much strength I have got. Generally people do not like to die. But I will be very glad to die if Kṛṣṇa wants. This is... And I shall stay with you. I have no objection either way. But I am not afraid of death. That much strength I have got. Why shall I be afraid? There is no cause of...

Jayatīrtha: Jaya.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Bhakta-sane bās. Such a great opportunity. You are all pure devotees. To live with you and to die while you are chanting, such a great opportunity. So there is no question of being afraid of death. [break] Hm?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, of course, we have our preference.

Prabhupāda: I have no objection. I have no... [break] Whatever His desire is, I...
Compiled bySyamananda + and Visnu Murti +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entryDecember 30, 0007 JL +
Date of last entryNovember 23, 0008 JL +
Total quotes25 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 2 +, SB: 13 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 6 +, Lec: 3 +, Conv: 1 + and Let: 0 +