SC 3: At the Final Hour
A Child's Name
Here it is clearly mentioned that the child Nārāyaṇa was so young that he could not even speak or walk properly. Since the old man was very attached to the child, he enjoyed the child's activities, and because the child's name was Nārāyaṇa, the old man always chanted the holy name of Nārāyaṇa. Although Ajāmila was referring to the small child and not to the original Nārāyaṇa, the name of Nārāyaṇa is so powerful that even by chanting his son's name he was becoming purified. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has therefore declared that if one's mind is somehow or other attracted by the holy name of Kṛṣṇa (
At the time of death, Ajāmila was chanting the name of Nārāyaṇa in connection with his youngest child. Since Ajāmila was the son of a
The value of remembering Nārāyaṇa at the time of death is explained in the Second Canto of the
janma-lābhaḥ paraḥ puṁsām
"The highest perfection of human life, achieved either by complete knowledge of matter and spirit, by acquirement of mystic powers, or by perfect discharge of one's occupational duty, is to remember Nārāyaṇa, the Personality of Godhead, at the end of life."
Somehow or other, therefore, Ajāmila consciously or unconsciously chanted the name of Nārāyaṇa at the time of death and became all-perfect.
Death, a Critical Time of Life
As mentioned above, one's mentality at the time of death is all-important. But if we become complacent and think, "Oh, death takes place—what of it?"
Suppose I am a businessman. If I simply do business up till the point of death, naturally my mentality will be business. One Calcutta businessman at the time of death asked about the management of his mill. He might have taken his next birth as a rat in his mill. This is possible. At the time of death, whatever you are thinking will carry you to your next body. Kṛṣṇa is very kind, and whatever mentality one is absorbed in at the time of death, Kṛṣṇa will provide an appropriate body: "All right, you are thinking like a rat? Become a rat." "You are thinking like a tiger? Become a tiger." "You are thinking like My devotee? Come to Me."
By chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, we can mold our thoughts so that we are always thinking of Kṛṣṇa. As Kṛṣṇa recommends in the
One who properly prepares for the time of death is really intelligent, while one who thinks he can remain at home forever and enjoy the association of his wife and children is a fool. In illusion a man thinks, "My bank balance, my nice house, and my family will protect me
ātma-sainyeṣv asatsv api
teṣāṁ pramatto nidhanaṁ
paśyann api na paśyati
"One who is mad thinks, 'My strong body, my grown-up children, my good wife, and my bank balance will save me.' " We are simply struggling in this material world like soldiers fighting on a battlefield. Our soldiers are our children, our wife, our bank balance, our countrymen, etc. The