So I wrote this essay for Bhagavad gita...thought I wanted to share it with you :-)
Many see death like the end. Life ends, you have to say good-bye to everyone you know and you cannot take anything or anyone with you. No wonder people fear death. Yamaraj once asked Yudhisthira: “what is the most amazing thing in this world?” Maharaja Yudhisthira answered: “everyone is surrounded by death, but still they think themselves to be immortal”. The vedic world-view see death differently, it’s seen as a gate or a portal, where you have the power to choose to go back to Godhead, or stay in the material realm.
Today I was on the walking street of Oslo, distributing Srila Prabhupadas books. I stopped many people, some were interested, and others just walked passed me. Maybe you were one of the people I stopped and talked to? Then you would probably remember me telling you that you are not your body, but you are spirit soul. I would most likely have recited verse 2.13 from Bhagavad Gita:
As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.
I would probably have shown you the nice picture from the book, and told you how the body is like a car. When there is no driver, the car cannot move, but when there is a driver, the car can go anywhere. Similarly, the body without a soul is just a dead body.
Sometimes I also use the analogy of a sleeping dog. What is the difference of a sleeping and a dead dog? Well, in the sleeping dog the soul is still present.
I use so many different examples. If you were one of the really interested people I stopped today, you might have had more questions regarding the process of transmigration. A big part of the second chapter of Bhagavad Gita explains this. In verse 2.22 its stated: As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.
For one who is as intelligent as you, this would make sense. Most likely you would have asked me how you could apply these teachings in your daily life without changing too much on how you live your life now, because you like your comfort-zone. At this point, we were having a great talk and if you had time I would have invited you to a café for a cup of tea to talk more. I really appreciate when people I stop in the street have time, and they like to discuss philosophy.
Krishna consciousness is simple for the simple and complicated for the complicated. I am 100% sure I must have told you this. Because this is true. Krishna consciousness is something everyone can practice, because it is the dormant state in each and every one of us. But how can you bring out your dormant state? In Bhagavad Gita 2.62 it is it is stated, sańgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ: one's desires and ambitions develop according to the company one keeps. It is often said that a man is known by his company, and if an ordinary man associates with devotees, he will certainly develop his dormant Krishna consciousness. Some might say you are what you eat, but we say “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”.
At this point in our conversation you start thinking of your friends, and you share with me that they are not at all thinking the way you think, they are all into sex, drugs and rock n’roll. I ask you if you might have one friend who is a bit open, that maybe would like to come to the temple for a Sunday feast or a program at my house. We exchange emails and phone numbers and we agree to meet another time during the week. You ask me how much I want for the book, and I say that you can give a donation accordance with your heart. I really appreciate the time that you spent with me, and I am looking forward to next time. We walk our separate ways, and I feel so happy inside because you are walking down the road with one of Srila Prabhupadas books in your bag, and I had a great talk with you.
Next time we meet I would bring you a mantra-card and we would speak further on Krishna consciousness. I would like to thank all of you who stop when I approach you in the streets, all of you who chant along when we do harinam in the streets and all of you who are reading this article.
To go out on the streets with books is not always easy, most of the time it is really difficult, because the mind wants to go everywhere else than where it is. One friend who has been going out with books for the last 20 years told me “there are two important things when you go out with books. The first one is to get purified and the second is to leave a good impression”. I have taken these instructions to my heart and with great inspiration from them I enter the streets of Oslo again and again.
I choose that as my gate, because I want to go back to Godhead in this life.