āsasāda sa vai kālo
yo ’priyaḥ priya-yoṣitām
In this verse the words priya-yoṣitām and apriyaḥ are very significant. The word yoṣit means “woman,” and priya means “dear” or “pleasing.” Death is not very much welcome for those who are too much attached to material enjoyment, which culminates in sex. There is an instructive story in this connection: Once when a saintly person was passing on his way, he met a prince, the son of a king, and he blessed him, saying, “My dear prince, may you live forever.” The sage next met a saintly person and said to him, “You may either live or die.” Eventually the sage met a brahmacārī devotee, and he blessed him, saying, “My dear devotee, you may die immediately.” Finally the sage met a hunter, and he blessed him, saying, “Neither live nor die.” The point is that those who are very sensual and are engaged in sense gratification do not wish to die. Generally a prince has enough money to enjoy his senses; therefore the great sage said that he should live forever, for as long as he lived he could enjoy life, but after his death he would go to hell. Since the brahmacārī devotee was leading a life of severe austerities and penances in order to be promoted back to Godhead, the sage said that he should die immediately so that he need not continue to labor hard and could instead go back home, back to Godhead. A saintly person may either live or die, for during his life he is engaged in serving the Lord and after his death he also serves the Lord. Thus this life and the next are the same for a saintly devotee, for in both he serves the Lord. Since the hunter lives a very ghastly life due to killing animals, and since he will go to hell when he dies, he is advised to neither live nor die.
King Purañjana finally arrived at the point of old age. In old age the senses lose their strength, and although an old man desires to enjoy his senses, and especially sex life, he is very miserable because his instruments of enjoyment no longer function. Such sensualists are never prepared for death. They simply want to live on and on and extend their life by so-called scientific advancement. Some foolish Russian scientists also claim that they are going to make man immortal through scientific advancement. Under the leadership of such crazy fellows, civilization is going on. Cruel death, however, comes and takes all of them away despite their desire to live forever. This type of mentality was exhibited by Hiraṇyakaśipu, but when the time was ripe, the Lord personally killed him within a second.