By Niraj Bidawatka
When the devotees of Lord Krishna humbly request people to engage in devotional service, or Krishna consciousness, a majority of them say that they will start serving God in their old age. It is indeed a good thought that they will start devotional service in their old age but there is a caveat to it. There is no guarantee that we shall surely become old – we may die before old age sets in. Therefore all the sages as well as the scriptures recommend starting the process of self-realisation as soon as possible without waiting for old age. Emperor Prahlāda Maharaj, the great devotee of Krishna instructs everyone to start bhāgavata dharma, or devotional service at the tender age of less than five years because the human birth, although very rare, is temporary since one never knows when death will come knocking over the door. Moreover death doesn’t discriminate. It gives equal treatment to the rich and the poor as well as the weak and the powerful. One can’t expect any mercy from death.
The human form of life is awarded specifically to realise God, understand our relationship with Him and establish that lost relationship by developing love for Him. It is not meant for squandering it away by indulging in sense gratification. The happiness derived by eating sleeping and mating is temporary whereas the bliss attained by serving God is permanent and eternal. It requires a great deal of intelligence to understand the science of God which only the humans possess. The lower forms of life such as the birds and the beasts do not possess such developed intelligence. Therefore it behooves everyone to immediately start investing his energy in understanding and serving Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead without waiting for old age because there is no guarantee of becoming old. We may die before becoming old!