(Reprinted from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust)
ayur harati vai pumsam
udyann astam ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-ksano nita
Translation: "Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead."
Prabhupada: So you read purport.
Pradyumna: "This verse indirectly confirms the greater importance of utilizing the human form of life to realize our lost relationship with the Supreme Lord by acceleration of devotional service. Time and tide wait for no man. So the time indicated by the sunrise and the sunset will be uselessly wasted if such time is not properly utilized for realizing identification of spiritual values. Even a fraction of the duration of life wasted cannot be compensated by any amount of gold. Human life is simply awarded to a living entity, jiva, so he can realize his spiritual identity and his permanent source of happiness. A living being, especially the human being, is seeking happiness, because happiness is the natural situation of the living entity. But he is vainly seeking happiness in the material atmosphere. A living being is constitutionally a spiritual spark of the complete whole, and his happiness can be perfectly perceived in spiritual activities. The Lord is the complete spirit whole and His name, form, quality, pastimes, entourage and personality are all identical with Him.
Once a person comes into contact with any one of the above-mentioned energies of the Lord through the proper channel of devotional service, the door of perfection is immediately opened. In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord has explained such contact in the following words. ‘Endeavors in devotional service are never baffled, nor is there failure. A slight beginning of such activities is sufficient even to deliver a person from the great ocean of material fears.' (Bg. 2.40) As a highly potent drug injected intravenously acts at once on the whole body, similarly, the transcendental topics of the Lord injected through the ear of the pure devotee of the Lord can act very efficiently. Aural realization of the transcendental messages implies total realization, just as fructification of one part of a tree implies fructification of all other parts. This realization for a moment in the association of pure devotees like Sukadeva Gosvami prepares one's complete life for eternity, and as such the sun fails to rob the pure devotee of his duration of life, in as much as he is constantly busy in the devotional service of the Lord, purifying his existence.
Death is a symptom of the material infection of the eternal living being, and due to material infection only, the eternal living being is subjected to the law of birth, death, old age, and disease. The materialistic way of pious activities like charity, etc., is recommended in the smrti-sastras as quoted by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Money given in charity to a suitable person is guaranteed bank balance in the next life. Such charity is recommended to be given to a brahmana. If the money is given in charity to a non-brahmana without brahminical qualification, the money is returned in the next life in the same proportion. If it is given in charity to a half-educated brahmana, even then the money is returned double. If the money is given in charity to a learned and fully qualified brahmana, the money is returned a hundred and thousand times, and if the money is given to a veda-paraga, one who has actually realized the path of the Vedas, it is returned by unlimited multiplication.
The ultimate end of Vedic knowledge is to realize the Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita: vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah [Bg. 15.15]. There is guarantee of money being returned if given in charity regardless of the proportion. Similarly, a moment passed in the association of a pure devotee by hearing and chanting the transcendental messages of the Lord is a perfect guarantee for eternal life for returning home back, to Godhead. Mad-dhama gatva punar janma na vidyate. In other words, a devotee of the Lord is guaranteed eternal life. A devotee's old age or disease in the present life is but an impetus to such guaranteed eternal life."
Prabhupada: So ayur harati vai pumsam. The sunshine, sunrise, and sunset means decreasing our life. It is very nice example. The sun's business is to take away a portion of your span of life. That is business. But he cannot take away the portion of the life of a devotee. Because a devotee is going to live. This Krishna consciousness movement is to give a living entity a permanent span of life. Uttama-sloka-vartaya. Uttama-sloka is Krishna. Uttama-sloka. Bhaktir bhavati naisthiki bhagavaty uttama-sloke. In another place it is stated, tada... nasta-prayesv abhadresu. Nasta-prayesv abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya [SB 1.2.18]. Nityam... Just like we are holding class daily. Nityam, regularly. Nityam means regularly, daily, always. So nityam bhagavata-sevaya. The beginning... Just like when a man is infected with a disease, he is subjected to death. Crude example. So when a man falls diseased, the physician tries to get him relieved from that infection. So our material body is an infection.
Actually, we spiritual soul, we have no death. It is due to this infection. This infection is called dirty things. Actually it is dirt. "Dust thou art, dust thou beist." That's a fact. Because as soon as I, the soul, will leave this body, it will be immediately decomposed, and after a few days it will be earth, dust. So actually it is dirt. So we have to cleanse this dirt from my real identity, spiritual life. This is the process. And this cleansing process is very nicely done simply by hearing the message of Uttama-sloka, or Krsna. You haven't got to scratch it with some machine. No. It will be automatically cleansed if you simply give aural reception to the message of the Uttama-sloka, which is, in other word, it is called krsna-katha. Krsna-katha means words of Krishna. Katha means words, and Krishna, you understand. So krsna-katha, Bhagavad-gita, Krishna personally giving you words of instruction. So if we simply read Bhagavad-gita, then the sun cannot take away the, my duration of life.
How? What is the proof? The proof is the Bhagavad-gita. In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord says, janma karma me divyam yo janati tattvatah: "Anyone who understands about My birth and appearance..." Lord does not take birth. Aja. Aja means who never takes birth. Ever-existing. Ajo 'pi sann avyayatma bhutanam isvaro 'pi san, sambhavami yuge yuge. So aja, one who does not take birth, but still we see that Krishna is taking birth. We are observing the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. So therefore what is the mystery? He does not take birth. Still, we are observing the birth anniversary of Krishna, Janmastami. So this is to be understood, tattvatah, in truth. Yo janati tattvatah. Krishna says, Veda says that na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate. "The Supreme Lord God has nothing to do." Why He shall do? So... And again, we see that Krishna, since the day of His appearance at His maternal uncle's prison till His going back to His own room, He was always active.
Active means especially in killing the demons. But such demons could be killed without the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If there is little earthquake, millions of demons can be killed. It is not very difficult job. If the Pacific Ocean overfloods this city, millions of people can be killed. If there is a war, millions of people can be killed. If there is epidemic, millions of men can be killed. So killing the demons, for that purpose He does not come, Krishna. Rather, Krishna's many agents, they can kill such demons without any difficulty. But He comes, paritranaya sadhunam. Just like Lord Nrsimha appeared not to kill the demon Hiranyakasipu. He could be killed otherwise. But He appeared for Prahlada. Prahlada Maharaja, he was being so much teased and so much tortured. He could not tolerate it. So he wanted to show His devotee that "I shall kill your torturer before you." That is the purpose. So He did not appear for killing Hiranyakasipu. He appeared to give encouragement to Prahlada Maharaja.
As He says, kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati. He asked Arjuna to declare, "My dear Arjuna, you declare that My devotee will never be vanquished." So therefore He comes. So these are the understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in toto. So if we discuss about krsna-katha, the words of Krishna... There are two books, words of Krishna. One, Bhagavad-gita. Every Vedic literature is krsna-katha, but these two books especially, krsna-katha. Bhagavad-gita, Krishna is directly speaking, and Srimad-Bhagavatam, directly speaking about Krishna. Both of them are krsna-katha. So therefore here it is said that uttama-sloka-vartaya. Varta means message, words. So if we pass our time simply by reading and talking about Krishna, then the sun will not be able to take away our life. This is the secret. If you want to become immortal, then you always be engaged in krsna-katha. Always, twenty-four hours, always think of Krishna. This is Krishna consciousness.
So everyone is dying, but those who are engaged in krsna-katha, in Krishna consciousness, those who are busy in Krishna's business, they are not dying. They are living. How? Because ordinary man, his duration of life, span of life, is being taken away by the sun rising and sunset every day. If a man is fifty years old, that means... He has to live for eighty years. So fifty years duration has already been taken away by the sun. Fifty years old means that fifty years of time has already been taken away by the sun. It will never come back. "But what about the devotees? He is also the same. His, also, life is being taken away." No. His life is not being taken away, because he is going to live. Superficially we see that the body of a devotee is also taken away. But this is not the real body. Real body is the spiritual body. So spiritual body... Just like Krishna says, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti [Bg. 4.9]. "After giving up this body, he does not take birth. He comes to Me."
So he has... Now the body is given up. Then how he goes? He says, "He comes to Me." So who comes to Him? Materialistic person, the so-called scientist, philosopher, they know this body -- the self. They do not know that the body is the cover of the self. This real self, the real person, goes to Krishna to live forever. So those who are devotees, those who are in Krishna consciousness, they are giving up this infected body and they are getting their new... Not new. The old, original body, spiritual body. Therefore, as soon as you get the spiritual body, the sun has no power to take it away. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, that "The fire cannot burn it, the weapon cannot kill it, the water cannot moist it..." In so many way, indirect way, are described. The spirit cannot be destroyed by anything material. Matter... Just like this body is matter. This body can be cut into pieces, but the spirit soul cannot be. The body can be burnt into ashes, but the spirit soul cannot be.
Pavakah. Dahati pavakah. So the modern scientists, they say that there is no life in the sun planet, sun globe. But that is not a fact. What is sun globe? It is a fiery planet, that's all. But the spirit soul can live in the fire, and he gets a fiery body. Just like here, on this planet, on earth, we have got this earthly body. It may be very beautiful, but it is earth. Simply by nature's manipulation. Just like we are coming... Karandhara showed me. The plastic, some trees. So they have made the plastic tree exactly resembling the tree. But it is not tree. Similarly, this body is as good as the plastic body. It has no value. So tyaktva deham. So when Krishna says that after giving up this body... But this body is plastic body. Just like you have got cotton shirt or plastic shirt or so many. You can give it up. That does not mean you die. That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita: vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya [Bg. 2.22]. As one gives up old garment for a new one, similarly, death means to give up this plastic body and take another plastic body.
That is death. And again, under that plastic body, you have to work. If you get a nice body, then you can work nicely. If you get a dog's body, then you act like dog. According to body. So tyaktva deham. Krishna says that "Anyone who understands Me in truth ..." So how you will understand? Simply if you hear about Him, then you will understand. Then you will understand. So hearing is not very difficult job. But you must hear from the realized soul. That is... Satam prasangan mama virya-samvidah. If you hear from a professional man, that will not be effective. Hearing must be from sadhu, from devotee, from the lips of the devotee. Just like Sukadeva Gosvami was speaking to Maharaja Pariksit. So ... Or even if you hear yourself, you read books, you will save your life. If you simply read Krishna book or Bhagavad-gita or Teachings of Lord Caitanya, then you know the... As long as you are reading, the sun is unable to take your life. It is not possible for the sun to take your life.
So if you constantly read, then where is the opportunity of sun's taking your life? That means you are becoming immortal. People are very much anxious to become immortal. Nobody wants to die. Everyone knows that "I shall die." But if there is immediately some danger, fire, immediately you go away from this room. Why? I do not wish to die. I do not wish to die. Although I know I must have to die. Still, why do I go away? I know that... "Oh, let there be fire. I have to die today or tomorrow. Let me die." No. I do not wish to die. Therefore I go away. This is psychology. So everyone wants to live forever. That's a fact. So if you want to live forever, then you have to take to Krishna consciousness. So Krishna consciousness is so important and nice. Everyone wants to live. So actually, if you want to live, then you take to Krishna consciousness. This verse confirms it. Ayur harati vai pumsam udyann astam ca yann asau. The sun is rising early in the morning. As it is rising, gradually it is taking your life.
That's all. That is the business. But if you want to defeat the sun... Sun is very powerful. It is very difficult to fight. But you can fight with the sun. How? Simply by reading krsna-katha, the words of Krishna. Uttama-sloka-vartaya. Vartaya. Uttama-sloka, Krsna. So this is the simple process. You don't waste your time by talking nonsense. Therefore Rupa Gosvami has advised, atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahah. Prajalpah.
atyaharah prayasas ca
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca
sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati
Our devotional life can be finished, means may be baffled... Those who are in devotional life, Krishna consciousness, they is fortunate. This fortune can be ruined by six things. Be careful. What is that? Atyahara. Atyahara means eating more than necessity or collecting more than necessity. Ahara. Ahara means collecting. We require to collect some money, but we should not collect more than necessity. That we shouldn't. Because if I get more money, then immediately maya will pa... "Why don't you spend for me?" Yes. So don't collect more than ... What you require, you collect. Or similarly, ahara means eating. Don't eat more than necessity. Actually, we have to come to the point of nil, eating, sleeping, mating and defending. And that is not possible because we have got this body. But minimum. So atyaharah prayasah, and too much unnecessary spoiling energy.
We should not take great risk so that we have to work for it very seriously. We must accept something which can be easily done. Atyaharah prayasah, prajalpa. And prajalpa means talking nonsense. As soon as ... This is the nature of the living entity in conditioned state. Just like as soon as the crows, they gather together, caw caw caw caw ... The frogs ... Any living entity, as soon as they will gather, they will talk all nonsense. Don't do that. We have got great assembly, we have got facility for mixing, but if you take advantage of this assembly and talk all nonsense -- what is politics, what is this, what is that ... Prajalpa. That is called prajalpa. So atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahah. Niyamagraha means not accepting the rules and regulation. Another meaning of niyamagraha means simply blindly following the rules and regulations, but he does not know for what he is doing that. Gardalika-pravaha (?). It is called gardalika-pravaha. Everyone is doing this, but he does not understand why he is doing it. There are many stories of this gardalika-pravaha. Sometimes I will tell you.
So niyamagraha. So one, atyahara; two, prayasa; three, prajalpa; and four, niyamagraha; and fifth, laulyam, greediness; and sixth, jana-sangah. Jana-sangah means to associate with ordinary men, those who have no sense of Krishna consciousness. So-called karmis, jnanis, yogis. They do not understand Krishna. Or scientist, philosophers. We should not associate with them. Because we know ... Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah. Anyone who does not understand what is Krishna and what is Krishna's service, he may be very big man in the ordinary estimation, but we don't give him any value.
Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna manorathenasati dhavato bahih [SB 5.18.12]. Because they are mental speculators. They have no value. They have their value in their own way, but according to our line of thought, they have no value. So prajalpa... In this way, prajalpa, there is tendency of talking. You talk of Krishna. That is Krishna consciousness. That is Krishna consciousness. Just like we assembled together, few friends, (baby cries) we want to vibrate something. Just like the child is also vibrating. That is nature. A bird will vibrate, a beast will vibrate. So we have to vibrate the transcendental sound. Then we shall be saved from the plundering business of the sun. This is the secret. Always talk of Krishna and you must know that you are saving yourself. You are not dying yourself. Because talking of Krishna means you will understand about Krishna. And Krishna says, "Anyone who understands Me rightly, then after giving up this body, he comes to Me." And as soon as you go to Him, back to home, back to Godhead, your life is eternal, blissful, and full of knowledge.
That is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]. So why should we lose this opportunity? The most rascal, rascal person, they give up this. They do not take advantage of this, advantage of krsna-katha. Therefore sastra says, smartavyah satatam visnur vismartavyo na jatucit. We shall have to remember Visnu always, everywhere, always.
tasmad bharata sarvatma
bhagavan isvaro harih
srotavyah kirtitavyas ca
So this is the process of Krishna consciousness. We have to hear about Krishna, we have to chant about Krishna, we have to memorize about Krishna, we have to worship Krishna. This is our movement. We are worshiping Krsna in the temple. We are thinking of Him. We are talking about Him, and we are hearing about Him. So if we live in this way, it does not require any monetary exchange or any high education. Everyone can hear about Krishna. Anyone... After hearing, everyone can talk about Krishna. And while hearing and talking, he can remember about Krishna.
And everyone can worship in the temple. Where is the difficulty? By prosecuting these four principles of Krsna consciousness, you become immortal. No austerity. No austerity, no penance, no education, no riches. Simply by following these four principles, you become immortal. So this verse is very important. Ayur harati vai pumsam udyann astam ca yann asau, tasyarte yat-ksano nitah. Tasya rte, one who is passing time in this way, simply with krsna-katha, chanting also... If you have no time... If you have spare time, don't sit idly. If there is no facility for reading books or talking about Krishna, chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. If you have got... Next moment, you can interchange, read something. Always be busy with Krishna. Then sun will not be able to kill you. You are going to live forever. This is the process.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.27, June 12, 1972)