antakaale cha maameva samaranmuktvaa kalevaram
yah pryaati sa madbhaavam yaati naastyatra samsayah. (Gita 8/5)
He who departs from the body remembering Me alone at the time of death, attains Me, there is no doubt about this. (Gita 8/5)
‘Departs from the body while remembering Me at the time of death’- means that the Lord by bestowing this human body upon man, gave him the opportunity to attain salvation through adoration, but man did not avail himself of this opportunity. Now, at the final moments, being helpless and unable to do other spiritual disciplines, man can realize the Lord, simply by remembering Him.
`Maameva smaran’ means that whatever an aspirant hears, sees, understands and assumes, is nothing besides the Lord (His Universal Form). Therefore he who assumes and accepts the world to be Lord’s manifestation, for such an aspirant whatever he thinks of at the time of death will be nothing else besides the Lord. In other words, when he has accepted and believes everything is the Lord (manifestation of the Lord), then the at the last breath whatever it is that he remembers, it will be the Lord’s own form, His very being, His Nature. Thus, if a aspirant thinks of Him at the time of death, he will attain Him.
There is an important point here. In Gita 7-19, the Lord says “Vasudeva Sarvam” “All is God”. Thus, a great soul who has realized, that in this world there is nothing else besides the Lord, he does not have to remember the Lord at the time of death, as he is all the time instinctively conscious of the Lord’s eternal presence whether it be in a wakeful state, dream, sound sleep, in the same way, as a common man always remembers, “I am.”
He may live at any place, holy or unholy; at any time, six months of the northern path (of the sun) (northern solstice) or six months of southern path of the sun (southern solstice), the bright half of the moon or dark half of the moon, day or night, morning or evening etc.; in any state, wakefulness, dream state, sound sleep, unconsciousness, sickness, health etc.; and in any circumstances, even in front of any person, object etc. there is no doubt that this great man certainly will attain salvation!
Besides, the above-mentioned great souls, aspirants who with deep faith and adoration, worship the Lord in different forms and names or by just remembering anyone of His names or forms or sports (divine play) or His abode, according to their interest, they also are remembering God only.
Besides aspirants, the other people who believe in the sentiment that ‘there is God’ and though they are not engaged continuously in His worship, but they too can possibly remember God at the time of death, for various reasons. During their life time, they have heard that God removes pain of those who are in pain, with this thought too, they may remember God when they are in pain. At the time of death, if they get a vision of messengers of God of death, and due to this fear, they may remember God. Some gentleman brings God’s picture in front of them or recites God’s name or narrates Lord’s past times, tells about life stories of sages, starts singing Lord’s glories, and this person is reminded of God. Thus any of these ways can help him to remember God.
Thus, the talks pertaining to remembering the Lord at the time of death is not applicable to liberated souls but only to aspirants and others.
From “The Bhagavadgita – Sadhak Sanjivani” in hindi pg 561 by Swami Ramsukhdasji.
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