अन्तकाले च मामेव स्मरन्मुक्त्वा कलेवरम् |
य: प्रयाति स मद्भावं याति नास्त्यत्र संशय: || 5||
anta-kāle cha mām eva smaran muktvā kalevaram
yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ yāti nāstyatra sanśhayaḥ
anta-kāle—at the time of death; cha—and; mām—Me; eva—alone; smaran—remembering; muktvā—relinquish; kalevaram—the body; yaḥ—who; prayāti—goes; saḥ—he; mat-bhāvam—godlike nature; yāti—achieves; na—no; asti—there is; atra—here; sanśhayaḥ—doubt
Those who relinquish the body while remembering Me at the moment of death will come to Me. There is certainly no doubt about this.
The Lord here explains how He is remembered by the self-controlled yogi at the time of death.
Antakalecha: It is declared that whoever thinks of the Lord at the moment of death also, attains His being. The word ‘also‘ (‘cha‘) has to be carefully understood. ‘Cha‘ means ‘also’. The seeker has to think of the Lord not only during his life-time but at the moment of death also. The Lord did not say that He should be remembered ‘only’ at the time of death. That would be quite encouraging to all idlers and wicked men. Of course, even remembering the Lord at the time of death is also an act of merit. But such memory is impossible to retain at the moment of death, unless by long and steady practice, the mind is saturated with divine thoughts. Mostly people die thinking of their property, wife, or children because their minds were filled with those thoughts for a long life-time. So the Lord emphasises the idea of remembering Him at all time, both in life and in death.
Those who have spent a whole life-time in spiritual sadhana can retain the memory of the Lord at the last moment. The exceptions are very rare. If a man wants to play some role in a drama, he goes through months of training, memorising his part. To pass an examination, a long period of preparation is necessary. It is within one’s own experience that what he thinks of intensely in the waking state comes up as a dream in sleep. In old age, at the moment of death, the functions of the body and mind will be at a low ebb and most people pass away in an unconscious state. So intense sadhana during a whole-time is essential for attaining the Lord by fixing the mind on Him at the time of death.
The power of Maya is inscrutable. At any time it may overtake the person if he is negligent. So till the last breath, one has be vigilant. To sink in the ocean having come within a few yards of the shore or to fall off the ladder having touched the last rung would be a disaster. Having kept away delusion for long, but yielding to it at the last moment is foolish. So the Lord exhorts all mankind to keep the light of knowledge bright till the moment of death.
In the Yogavasishta, the sage Vasista advises Rama to be watchful and vigilant.
Lust (Kama) easily devours the mind of the distracted man. But the demon can do nothing to the man whose mind is gathered up in Yoga.
Me only: “Think of Me only” is the Lord’s command. Nothing can save man from the bonds of samsara except the one-pointed absorption in the Supreme Lord. If man wants peace and perfection let him seek refuge in the Lord only. He gives Moksha.
The reward of devotion to the Lord at the last moment is that he attains union with the Lord. This is liberation, self-realisation, Moksha. He does not come again under the power of samsara. He reaches the Eternal. The Lord says, out of infinite compassion, “Have faith in Me I will save you from all the ills and perils of samsara.” So, having full faith in the Lord, and abandoning all small gains and profits in this or other worlds, let the seeker aim at the highest perfection and reach it by continuous devotion to the Lord.
Question: What should be the attitude of man at the time of death?
Answer: He should think of the Lord and nothing else.
Question: What is the result?
Answer: He attains the Lord.
Question: What then is man’s duty?
Answer: To remember the Lord in life and in death.