Imagine a person thrown out of an airplane falling high speed headlong towards the ground.
What would you expect such a person to do? Scream in fear, cry for help isn’t it? If you saw such a person smiling, saying “I am happy, feeling the wind whistling through my ears”, would you not call such a person insane? Practically the entire human race is in exactly the situation of this person. The moment of birth is the moment when we are thrown out of the airplane. From that moment our fall towards death begins. Moment after moment, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade we are pushed slowly but inexorably towards imminent death. But because this change happens gradually, we do not realize the ghastly nature of our predicament. In childhood, in youth and in middle age and for some people even in old age they spend their life absorbed in the petty pleasures of the senses - television, movies, picnics, sports, sex and so on, unmindful of the ruthless slaughter at the hands of death that awaits them.
People, who say, ’I am happy” are either fooling others or fooling themselves because: how long are they going to stay happy? This is not pessimism, but realism. The suffering due to old age, disease and ultimately death is a reality; it is not a negative imagination of a foolish mind. Of course if there were no solution to the problem of death then ignorance would certainly be bliss. But if we could be saved from the awful agony of death, then would not seeking such a solution be foolish and suicidal?
There is a comprehensive, coherent and cogent spiritual science, delineated in the Vedic texts of ancient India, which explains our actual identity, the true nature of the afterlife and the process of conquering death. These texts explain that we are eternal souls, who are entitled for eternal life and enjoyment in an eternal realm called variously as the realm of pure consciousness or the Kingdom of God or the spiritual world. The very fact that we long for immortality in a world where everything is subject to death indicates that we belong to an immortal realm. Modern scientific studies in consciousness, near-death experiences and past life memories strongly suggest that a part of our being survives after death. The Vedic texts assert that only because of misidentification with the temporary material body does the eternal soul have to undergo the trauma of death. By understanding spiritual knowledge and cultivating spiritual consciousness we can all revive our spiritual identity.
God is eternal and so are His Holy Names. By concentrating our consciousness on the eternal sound vibrations of His Holy Names, we can be awakened to our eternal nature. All the names of God have great spiritual potency and for this particular age of Kali, the chanting the holy names the Hare Krishna maha-mantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare” is especially recommended by the Vedic texts. By regular spiritual practice when we have harmonized ourselves with the Supreme Lord who is our eternal father, death will then be a joyful reunion with our eternal family in the spiritual world.
Srila Prabhupad would often give the example of a cat holding a kitten and a rat in its mouth. For the kitten the cat’s mouth is a reservoir of maternal love and for the rat it is the source of greatest fear. Srila Prabhupad would say, similarly for a devotee death is actually the representative of Krishna with whom he is reunited after death, but for a non-devotee death is actually the ruthless separating sword of time, which leaves him bereaved of all his loved possessions and relatives.
The choice is ours; do we want to be a kitten or a rat?