On the 4th day of Kartik Yatra, HG Radha Gopinath Prabhu explained how dham (holy place) helps to remember Krishna at the time of death. The class was very inspiring. He gave the class at Tota Gopinath Temple which is one of the famous temples in Sri Jagannath Puri.
On the 4th day, we visited Srila Haridas Thakur Samadhi, Tota Gopinath temple, Chatak Parvat, Mahodadhi (The Great Ocean) in the morning. Devotees also took ocean bath.
In the evening there was no class of HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj. There was presentation by HG Yadubara Prabhu and by the devotees of Bhakti Vedanta Hospital about the Barsana Eye Camp. It was also the 80th appearance day of HG Yadubara Prabhu. HG Mandakini Mataji, spoke in glorification of HG Yadubar Prabhu. HH Candramauli Swami Maharaja also gave class on Gaur Lila in the evening.
Below article is based on the class given by HG Radha Gopinath Prabhu at Tota Gopinath Temple.
Last goal of human life is to leave body remembering Krishna.
janma-lābhaḥ paraḥ puṁsām
“The highest perfection of human life, achieved either by complete knowledge of matter and spirit, by practice of mystic powers, or by perfect discharge of occupational duty, is to remember the Personality of Godhead at the end of life.” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.1.6
In Bhagavad Gita 8.5 Krishna says:
anta-kāle ca mām eva
smaran muktvā kalevaram
yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ
yāti nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ
“And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.”
So, Krishna is assuring that if we remember him at the time of death then we are surely going back to him. This is the promise of Krishna. But we will be able to remember Krishna when we have practiced remembering Krishna throughout our life.
It is said that “Life is preparation and death is final examination.” So, how we have lived determines our final destiny. We can fool everyone, but we cannot fool Krishna. Krishna as Paramātmā within our heart knows everything about us.
What does Krishna see?
Also, Krishna just sees our efforts, he is not bothered about the result.
It is said, “Man sees result, but God sees effort. Man sees the lips God sees the heart. Man sees the content God sees the intent.”
Where there is love there is no difficulty in remembering. For example, when a young boy falls in love with a girl, he always remembers her everywhere – while sleeping, while walking, while eating, at home, outside home.
Similarly, if we have love for Krishna then there won’t be difficulty in remembering Krishna. But we do not have strength to get love of Krishna. As in Damodar pastime we see when mother Yashoda tries to bind Krishna then rope is also two fingers short. Similarly, to bind Krishna to our heart we always fall short of two fingers.
One finger is our effort, and the 2nd finger is Krishna’s mercy.
The only thing which is there in our hand is our endeavour. If we show our effort, our intent then Krishna will be pleased. Just like the story of a sparrow who wanted to dry the ocean because the ocean had stolen her eggs.
She did not have the capability to dry the ocean, but her efforts attracted Garuda and the gigantic bird threatened the ocean that she will dry him. Ocean became fearful and returned the eggs.
If we put in our endeavour, then Krishna’s mercy will come.
What happens when we chant the names of Krishna?
Surrender to Krishna has six elements. One of them is accepting whatever is favourable for our devotional life and rejecting whatever is unfavourable although we may be liking it.
Srila bhaktivinod Thakura writes in his bhajan about the favourable (anukul) things. He says, “Wherever Gauranga Mahaprabhu in any yuga in any form has performed his pastimes, I will try my best to see those places.”
Visiting holy places or dhams is not like going on a picnic. We should see the holy places through the eyes of the scriptures, understand the pastime, smell the dust of the holy places, take bath in holy rivers and chant the names of Krishna.
Once a person following mayavad philosophy told me what is there in name. she said, “A rose will smell the same in any name.” I asked her, “Which is your favourite person?” She said, “My father.” I asked her father’s name. I then told her to close her eyes. After she closed her eyes, I spoke her father’s name. Then I asked her, “What are you seeing?” She said, “I am seeing my father.” “Anything more,” I asked. She said, “Yes, I can remember my father’s qualities. I am remembering how merciful he was, how charitable he was.”
This is exactly what happens when we chant the names of the Supreme Lord. We begin remembering the wonderful qualities of the Lord. The more we understand and appreciate the qualities of the Lord, we begin getting attached to the form of the Lord.
In this material world, people’s name and qualities may not match. For example, a beggar may have name Lakshmipati or a blind man’s name can be nayansukh. But this is not the case with the Supreme Lord. His name and qualities always match.
How devotees remember Krishna at the time of death?
Previously, people would go to dham and take darshan of the deities. They would smell flowers, take bath, take prasad, would role on the dust of the dham. By doing this the lila which occurred in the dham gets embellished in the heart. Remembrance becomes thick.
After this smaran i.e. remembrance of rupa, guna, lila becomes easy. Then thousands of years of bondage vanishes, pastimes of the Lord start glittering in the heart like the sun. No other thoughts come in the heart. If at all the tirthas or dhams we have done kirtan and mananam (remembrance) properly then it becomes like an album in the mind.
And when in old age when there will be difficulty in going to holy places then at that time when someone will just utter the name of the dham then immediately we will remember all the pastimes associated with that dham.
We also remember what all things we did in the dham. We will remember the deity darshan, how we rolled in the dust, the prasadam we took, the holy bath, katha, kirtan, the devotees we met, in fact everything.
In this way, we will always remember Krishna at every moment of our life and also at the time when we will be leaving our body. And if we remember Krishna at the time of death then surely, we will return back to the kingdom of Krishna. Our life will then be successful.
So, we should try to visit dham whenever possible in the association of the devotees. And make best use of the time when we are in dham.