SC 4: Neither Birth Nor Death
Anxious to Save Themselves from Death
At the time of death people become very anxious to save themselves, especially those who have been sinful. Of course, the soul itself is not subject to death (
When Ajāmila was dying, he saw three ferocious and very frightening persons with ropes in their hands, unruly hair on their heads, and bodily hair like bristles. These assistants of Yamarāja, the Yamadūtas, had come to drag Ajāmila out of his body and take him to the court of Yamarāja. Sometimes a dying man cries out in fear when he sees the Yamadūtas. Ajāmila, too, became very fearful.
Fortunately, even though Ajāmila was referring to his son, he chanted the holy name of Nārāyaṇa, and therefore the order-carriers of Nārāyaṇa, the Viṣṇudūtas, also immediately arrived there. Because Ajāmila was extremely afraid of the ropes of Yamarāja, he chanted the Lord's name with tearful eyes. Actually, however, he never meant to chant the holy name of Nārāyaṇa; he meant to call his son.
The Appearance and Disappearance of Kṛṣṇa and His Devotees
One may ask, "The devotees die, and the nondevotees also die. What is the difference?" It is like this: The mother cat may catch a rat and carry it in her mouth, and she also carries her kittens in her mouth. It is the same mouth, but the kittens are comfortable and safe, whereas the rat is feeling the jaws of death. Similarly, at the time of death the devotees are transferred to the spiritual realm, Vaikuṇṭha, whereas the ordinary sinful man is dragged down to the hellish regions by the Yamadūtas, the constables of Yamarāja. This was apparently to be Ajāmila's fate.
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
"To deliver the pious and annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I appear millennium after millennium." God's only business is to protect the faithful devotees and to kill the demoniac. Therefore we find Lord Viṣṇu pictured with His weapons, the club and
Similarly transcendental are the appearance and disappearance of Kṛṣṇa's devotees who are sent to this material world to preach the glories of the Lord. According to the principles of Vaiṣṇavism, both the appearance and the disappearance of such Vaiṣṇavas, or devotees of Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇa), are all-auspicious. Therefore we hold festivals in their honor on the anniversaries of both days.
Actually, even ordinary living entities never take birth or die, what to speak of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees. Sometimes atheistic men say God is dead. They do not know that even the smallest living entity does not die. So how can God be dead? Atheists are described in the
Liberation via Thinking of Kṛṣṇa
Because somehow or other Ajāmila became absorbed in thinking of Nārāyaṇa, or Kṛṣṇa, at the time of death, he immediately became eligible for liberation, even though he had acted sinfully throughout his entire life. One can think of Kṛṣṇa in any capacity. The
Of course, it is best if one thinks of Kṛṣṇa favorably.
A living entity can remain for some time in the Brahman effulgence (
Kṛṣṇa's devotees do not desire liberation, because their only interest is to be engaged in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, whether in the material world or in the spiritual world. Still, by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, they attain liberation by being elevated to the planet of Goloka Vṛndāvana, the residence of Kṛṣṇa, where the material miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease are conspicuous by their absence. Thus a devotee's position is different from that of the impersonalists and