Soldier and Horse – Story
We never know in what form death will arrive for us. Whether it is going to be sudden heart-attack, prolonged illness, accident or anything worser. Whether we would die in the morning or evening or when we are alone or when people are around us. We simply don’t have any clue. Only the sadhana and service that we do throughout the life counts a lot for our consciousness at the end of our life.
There is a short story about a soldier and a horse.
The soldier took utmost pains to care for the horse.
As long as the war lasted, he looked upon the horse as his fellow-helper in all emergencies and fed him carefully with hay and corn.
But when the war was over, he only allowed him to eat chaff and made him carry heavy loads of wood and ill-treated him.
War was again pro-claimed.
Then the soldier put on the horse, its military trapplings and mounted being clad in his heavy coat.
The horse fell down straight-away owing to the weight, as it was no longer able to bear the burden and said to his master – “You must now go to the war on foot – for you have transformed me from a horse to an ass. How can you expect that I can again turn in a moment from an ass to a horse?”
Our senses are like the horse in the hands of the soldier. Like the soldier, when there is some danger, we behave like a very good child of the Lord and pray very sincerely. But the moment the danger vanishes, we just relax and hardly care to nourish our senses spiritually.
So in that situation, when danger/death strikes suddenly how will it be possible to remember the Lord ?
In Bhagavad Gita verse 8.5, Lord Krishna declares to Arjuna:
“And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.”
We might wonder what will happen if we remember something else. Lord clarifies our doubts in next verse as follows
“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.”
There is a proverb that whatever we make as habit since we are in the cradle,will continue till our grave. So it is important that we practise bhakti right from childhood. In his powerful purport to verse 8.5, Srila Prabhupada very nicely elaborates on the importance of smaran.
He says -“Remembrance of Krishna is not possible for the impure soul who has not practised Krishna consciousness in devotional service. Therefore one should practise Krishna consciousness from the very beginning of life. If one wants to achieve success at the end of his life, the process of remembering Krishna is essential.
Therefore one should constantly, incessantly chant the maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
(Also read this : The Real Poverty – Story)