Can’t We Enjoy in this Life and Serve Krishna in Our Next Life?

By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Can’t we enjoy in this life and engage ourselves in Krishna’s service in our next life? Prahlāda Mahārāja answers, “We are now in material entanglement. Now I have this body, but I will quit this body after a few years and then have to accept another body. Once you take up one body and enjoy as your body’s senses dictate, you prepare another body by such sense enjoyment, and you get another body as you want it.” There is no guarantee that you will get a human body. That will depend on your work. If you work like a demigod, you will get a demigod’s body. And if you work like a dog, you will get a dog’s body. At the time of death, your destiny is not in your hands—it is in the hands of nature. It is not our duty to speculate on what material body we are going to get next. At the present moment let us simply understand that this human body is a great opportunity to develop our spiritual consciousness, our Krishna consciousness. Therefore we should at once engage ourselves in Krishna’s service. Then we will make progress.

“How long should we do it?” As long as this body keeps working. We do not know when it will stop functioning. The great saint Parikshit Mahārāja got seven days notice: “Your body will fall in a week.” But we do not know when our body will fall. Whenever we are on the road, there may suddenly be some accident. We should always be prepared. Death is always there. We should not optimistically think, “Everyone is dying, but I shall live.” Why will you live if everyone is dying? Your grandfather has died, your great-grandfather has died, other relatives of yours have died—why should you live? You will also die. And your children will also die. Therefore, before death comes, as long as we have this human intelligence, let us engage in Krishna consciousness. This is the prescription of Prahlāda Mahārāja.

We do not know when this body will stop, so let us immediately engage in Krishna consciousness and act accordingly. “But if I immediately engage myself in Krishna consciousness, what about my means of livelihood?” That is arranged for. I am very happy to inform you of the confidence of a student in one of our branches. There was a disagreement. Another student said, “You are not looking after how to maintain the establishment,” and he replied, “Oh, Krishna will supply.” This is a very nice conviction; I was glad to hear it. If cats and dogs and hogs can get food, will Krishna not arrange for our food also, if we are Krishna conscious and fully devote our service to Him? Is Krishna ungrateful? No.

In the Bhagavad-gītā the Lord says, “My dear Arjuna, I am equal to everyone. No one is the object of My envy, and no one is My special friend, but I give special attention to one who engages in Krishna consciousness.” A small child is completely dependent on the mercy of his parents, so the parents give special attention to that child. Although the parents are equally good to all the children, for the small children who are always crying “Mother!” they have greater concern. “Yes, my dear child? Yes?” This is natural.

If you are completely dependent on Krishna, who is supplying food to the dogs, birds, beasts—to 8,400,000 species of life—why should He not supply food to you? This conviction is a symptom of surrender. But we should not think, “Because Krishna is supplying my food, I shall now sleep.” No, you have to work, but without fear. You should engage yourself wholeheartedly in Krishna consciousness, confident of Krishna’s maintenance and protection.

Now, let us calculate our duration of life. In this age it is said that we can live at most one hundred years. Formerly, in the Satya-yuga, the age of goodness, human beings would live up to 100,000 years. In the next age, Tretā-yuga, they used to live for 10,000 years, and in the next age, called Dvāpara-yuga, they used to live for 1,000 years. Now, in this age, called Kali-yuga, the estimate is 100 years. But gradually, as the Kali-yuga progresses, our duration of life will decrease still further. This is the so-called progress of our modern civilization. We are very proud that we are happy and are improving our civilization. The result, however, is that although we try to enjoy material life, the duration of our life is shortened.

Now, accepting that a person lives for one hundred years, if he has no information of spiritual life, half of that is wasted at night in sleeping and sex life. That’s all. He has no other interest. And in the daytime, what is his concern? “Where is money? Where is money? I must maintain this body.” And when he has money: “Now let me spend for my wife and children.” So where is his spiritual realization? At night he spends his time in sleep and sex indulgence, and by day he spends time working very hard to earn money. Is that his mission in life? How horrible such a life is!

The average person is illusioned in childhood, playing frivolous games. Up to twenty years, easily, you can go on like that. Then when you become old, for another twenty years you cannot do anything. When a man becomes old, his senses cannot function. You have seen many old men; they have nothing to do but rest. Just now we have received a letter from one of our students reporting that his grandmother is paralyzed and has been suffering for the last three and a half years. So, in old age, everything is finished as soon as you are eighty years old. Therefore, from the beginning to twenty years of age, everything is spoiled; and even if you live for a hundred years, another twenty in the last stage of life is also spoiled. So forty years of your life are spoiled in that way. And in the middle age there is a very strong sex appetite, so another twenty years can be lost. Twenty years, twenty years, and twenty years-sixty years gone. This is the analysis of life by Prahlāda Mahārāja. We are spoiling our life instead of using it to advance in Krishna consciousness.

[The above is an excerpt from “Transcendental Teachings of Prahlada Maharaja.” Get a copy from you’re your nearest Hare Krishna Center]

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