This Beautiful Body will turn into Ashes
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda
“I am working hard, day and night. Despite of winter or summer or rainy season, I have to work hard, day and night. If there is night duty in the winter season, I have to report to the office at twelve o’clock at night. So I must go. When there is snowfall, and if I don’t go, then I’ll be reported absent. So I am working so very hard.” Śīta ātapa bāta barisana, jāminī jāgi re. “And what am I working for?” biphale sevinu krpana durajana: “Just to serve persons who cannot protect me.”
We think that my wife, my husband, my children, my relatives, or my friends, and so many other relationships with this material world … and everyone is working to satisfy his relatives. A family man is working so hard because he has to satisfy his wife, children, friends and so many other persons. But one should be conscious that “These friends and relatives, they ultimately cannot protect me. I can neither protect them, nor they can protect me.”
Everyone is responsible for his own activities. Suppose that I am constructing a skyscraper, just like you have in this country, if somebody asks me “What is the reason you are building such a high building?” And if I answer, “Just to set fire to it.” Then the man will laugh, “Simply for setting fire, you are spending so much money and building this high building?” “Yes.”
So this sort of answer is just like our present activities. You take the dead bodies to the crematorium and put them into the grave. But India of course, there are graveyards for the Muhammadans and the Christians, but the Hindus burn the dead bodies. In the Bhāgavata also, these three system are recorded, that the ultimate transformation of this body will be either ashes, stool or earth. How is this? Because after death the dead body is turned into ashes. This beautiful body, will be turned into ashes. If we bury it in the ground, the body will gradually turn into earth. And according to the Iranian system, the body is thrown to the vultures. They eat it, and then it will turn into animal stool. That is the last stage of this body. Everyone knows that they will die.
Still, we are working so hard. We are improving our bank balance, we are drawing up a will just to give protection to our family members, our children. There is no time. Everyone is very busy. But he doesn’t see that “What I am doing, all these bodies ultimately become either ash, animal stool, or turn into earth. So why I am taking so much trouble?” Therefore the revealed scripture advise that “It is all right to maintain your body. Except for simple material comforts, you should not devote more time than is absolutely required.” That means you don’t increase your bodily necessities. That was the standard of Indian civilization.
The sages and saints did not advise to increase the necessities of the body. They planned the social system in such a way that people would be satisfied only with the bare necessities of life.