Prabhupāda: So, Śukadeva Gosvāmī arrived at the point of death of Mahārāja Parīkṣit. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was cursed by a brāhmiṇ boy that he would die within seven days, bitten by a snake. Just imagine how the brahminical culture was so powerful that even a boy born in a brāhmiṇ family—he was only ten or twelve years old—when he heard that his father was insulted by Mahārāja Parīkṣit by garlanding him with a dead snake . . . his playmates informed him that, "Your father has been insulted in this way." So he retaliated that, "Within seven days this snake will bite the king and he will die."
So when it was fixed up . . . Mahārāja Parīkṣit was also very powerful. He could retaliate the brāhmiṇ's cursing, but he did not do it. He accepted, "Yes." Therefore Lord Śiva said, nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve na kutaścana bibhyati (SB 6.17.28): "When one is devotee of Nārāyaṇa, he is not afraid of anything." Nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve na kutaścana bibhyati. He was cursed that "Within the seven days you'll die." So he was not afraid, "That's alright." So he prepared himself, and many learned scholar, saintly person, kings, even demigods, all approached because he was the emperor of the world, and he was going to die. So many big, big stalwart people . . . even Vyāsadeva, he was present there. And Parīkṣit Mahārāja said: "Now what is my duty? You are all big men present here. I am going to die. Now what is my duty?"
This is very important question, that . . . we are working very hard in this material world, but we are not preparing ourself for death, which is a "must" fact. Everyone must die. The modern civilization, they are afraid of death, but they do not know how to counteract death. This is the modern civilization. But there is process. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa informs us that our real problem of life is death—birth, death, old age and disease. Birth is the beginning, and then, one who has taken birth, he must die. Yāvat, yāvaj jananaṁ tāvan maraṇam. But if one does not take birth, then he does not die. This is the actual problem. Why we have to take birth? People do not know even that there is again life after death. And Bhagavad-gītā's first instruction is tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ.