Faith

Life and death

The Gita teaches humanity to outgrow limitations and make full use of the gift of human birth to attain liberation from the cycle of samsara, pointed out Srimati Prema Pandurang in a discourse. A jivatma has the faculty to meditate on the Supreme Brahman and if one is able to be steeped in Brahman at the moment of death, he is sure to attain Brahman, say the scriptures. Krishna points out to Arjuna that whoever at the time of death gives up his body and departs thinking of Him alone comes to His status of being. The Lord assures that one need not have any doubt in this.

The story of King Bharata who renounces his kingdom and is engaged in peaceful penance in solitude somehow gets attached to a deer and when he sheds his mortal frame his thoughts are preoccupied with the deer. He is born a deer and lives for some time in this form. But, owing to his previous samskara as a great devotee of the Lord, in his next birth he is born as Jadabharata and finally attains salvation. Krishna says that by dedicating one’s mind and buddhi to Him even when one is engaged in one’s duties and dharma, one can be sure of attaining Him. But what is the guarantee that one may think of God during one’s last moments, since failing senses, deteriorating health etc may lead one to lose consciousness.

With great foresight, realised souls such as Adi Sankara, Kulasekhara Azhwar, Periazhwar, etc, focus on ‘antima kala Smriti,’ that is, the thoughts that pass through the mind of a person in one’s last moments that would decide the future of the atma. They teach us to pray to God to be with us and guide us at that time. Constant practice of meditation on God throughout one’s lifetime alone can help to fight the strong distractions from outside world.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 11:29:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/life-and-death/article28363245.ece

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