Once a very prominent lawyer was to die. Lawyers always send notices on behalf of their clients. They send notices, ‘Please pay my client within the next forty days. Otherwise we will take you to court and possess your goods. Please vacate my client’s flat in the next one month’. Before taking action they always send you a notice.
This lawyer, he was a very prominent lawyer, he was about to die. He protested to Yamaraj, ‘Yamaraj! You cannot let me die right now. You did not send me any notice about death. I am a lawyer. I do everything after sending notices. If you want me to die, send me a notice, “Okay, Mr. Lawyer, in one month you are going to die”. You cannot take me without giving me a notice’.
Yamaraj said, ‘Who says I did not give you a notice? What’s the color of your hair now?’ He said, ‘All white’. ‘What was the color of your hair ten years ago?’ ‘Black’. ‘How strong is your eye sight now?’ He said, ‘Very weak’. ‘How sharp was your eye sight ten-fifteen years ago? Twenty by twenty- very sharp’. ‘What’s the position of your cheeks today?’ All wrinkled’. ‘What was the position of your cheeks ten-fifteen years ago?’ ‘Oh, they were very beautiful’. ‘How many teeth do you have left? Natural teeth’. He said, ‘Oh, just four-five’. :’How many did you have fifteen years ago?’ ‘All thirty-two’.
Yamaraj said, ‘I sent you so many notices. Your teeth started falling, your hair started getting white, your cheeks started getting wrinkled and you say, I did not send any notice. So now you have to die’. We all are getting so many notices about the inevitable death but we tend to ignore all these notices. That’s our tragedy.
Radhanath Swami quotes from the sastras that a person in his childhood is absorbed in playing all day long. One will rarely find children seriously inquiring into deeper realities of life. With the onset of adolescence and the resultant hormonal changes, toys no longer attract him as before. Fantasizing the opposite sex, he feels life is worthless without indulgence in carnal pleasures. Days, months and years seem to pass away like moments.
Soon he enters middle age and is overburdened by the responsibilities of family and career. With increasing pressures at the workplace, he struggles hard to maintain his career and his status quo in society. No longer is he the dynamic young guy, ready for adventures in life. The youthful years recede into history, and old age begins to dawn upon him. His body frequently breaks down due to various diseases. Besides physical discomforts, he faces many emotional upsets through uncooperative relatives and friends. As his body continues to give away, he sees death looming over his shoulder. He foresees only darkness ahead, gripped by the fear of losing his body and all associated enjoyments. No one is able to save him, and he is helplessly dragged towards death.
This is the unfortunate story of a person who never received the torchlight of transcendental knowledge. The Bhagavad-gita teaches us that although life is short and temporary, within this period of human life, one can achieve the highest perfection. Let us take the notices of life and death seriously before they are forced upon us. Properly prepared, we can successfully overcome life’s greatest challenges and easily lead a blissful life and afterlife.