On Preparing for Death while we Live Life Fully
As a youth and even as a young devotee
I never really thought about my death
as strange as it may seem
I was insulated living in a college town
no relationship with anyone who died
while living with, and noticing only the young—
I didn’t practically realize that every day's a gift
when I spoke it to others, it was only theory.
We learn that hearing from scripture
is the best evidence of material life’s shortcomings,
yet most need experience which gets our attention
by the trial of fire’s ordeal, or others grief
since personal reverses , diseases, difficulties, death
catapult us beyond the conditioned tendency
to believe that health and living are a birth right,
blind that facilities can be withdrawn any moment.
Knowing I am eternal without birth or death
is very helpful for living life peacefully
remaining fixed on the straight and narrow
praying to always remember Guru and Krishna
yet the aging/death of the body is still disconcerting—
so many people I have known
became ill and left their body behind,
everyday my physical demise is closer.
As an aspiring bhakta my shelter is Krishna
his holy name, scriptures, Deities service
while I aspire for truly advanced devotee company,
yet in some ways I’m also a typical human being
wanting appreciation, to benefit others materially,
leaving behind a contribution, or legacy
even though nothing material lasts—
but serving devotees endures, as Krishna is pleased.
Ordinary people think living fully means
maximum stimulation and sense enjoyment
living through fascinating experiences
unlimited entertainment diversions
glorifying helping others to do the same,
which is night for a real devotee
who aspires to be absorbed in the Holy Name
hearing, chanting, remembering Radha Krishna lila.
How much conviction do we have
that worldly facilities provide no real hope
for happiness and fulfillment,
where we act upon the knowledge
of matter’s temporality, and lessening returns—
where our true focus and bliss is
serving the Lord of our hearts
along with devotees in full love?
Personally I have enough understanding
to invest my remaining years in spiritual practice
fueled by my realization that I physically live on
by Krishna’s kindness and arrangement—
I meditate that every step, every breathe, thought,
written word, is a gracious grant, though imperfect
my life is only his, to be offered as service to
my gurus, and whoever Krishna desires I help.
Having high aspirations with steady practice
is essential for calling our spiritual progress
for Lord Chaitanya doesn’t see our past
or present failures, but only our heart-felt ideal
which will hopefully impel us to know
how superlative our ultimate goal of Krishna prema
why it is so much better then materialism,
keeping us on the path, praying to cry for success.