Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya, (etc. leads chanting of verse and synonyms:)
- śrī-śuka uvāca
- evam etan nigaditaṁ
- pṛṣṭavān yad bhavān mama
- nṛṇāṁ yan mriyamāṇānāṁ
- manuṣyeṣu manīṣiṇām
- (SB 2.3.1)
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: "Mahārāja Parīkṣit, as you have inquired from me as to the duty of the intelligent man who is on the threshold of death, so I have answered you."
Prabhupāda: (interrupts the chanting of the śloka) Repeat once, twice more. (chanting resumes) Next? Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja, you can.
Prabhupāda: No. First of all read.
Prabhupāda: Yes. (Kīrtanānanda Swami chants, Śrīla Prabhupāda corrects him) Mriyamāṇānām. Karandhara. (he chants) You... Anyone? More? (chanting resumes) Very good. Anyone else? Hṛdayānanda? (he chants verse) So, translation? Read translation? Translation? Oh, no, word meaning, yes.
Pradyumna: (reads synonyms, then:) Translation: "Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Mahārāja Parīkṣit, as you have inquired from me as to the duty of the intelligent man who is on the threshold of death, so I answered you."
Prabhupāda: Now, this is the important part of the verse, that "man who is on the threshold of death." Who can say that "I am not on the threshold of death?" Is there any man in this universe who can say that "I am not on the threshold of death." Can anyone say? Everyone is on the threshold of death. That's a fact. But such questions are made amongst them... Everyone is subject to death, and threshold, on the threshold of death. Nobody can say that "I shall live for so many years." No guarantee. Everyone is on the threshold of death. Any moment, we can die. Therefore it is said,"As sure as death." All other things may be not sure, but death is sure. Therefore, before death, one... Manīṣiṇām, manuṣyeṣu manīṣiṇām. Not ordinary man. Manīṣī. Manīṣī means thoughtful. They question, "What is to be done now, before death comes? Shall I die like cats and dogs, or shall I die like human being?" This is the question. Cats and dogs dying, nobody cares. But a human being dying, there are so many ceremonies, mourning.
Because human life is important. So Parīkṣit Mahārāja, although he was on the threshold of death, he was allowed seven days time. He was cursed to death, but he was given seven days time. "You, king, you shall die within seven days—after seven days—being bitten by serpent." This is was the curse given to him. He accepted. He could counteract it. Parīkṣit Mahārāja was Vaiṣṇava. He was very powerful. But he thought that "Yes, I am offender. The brāhmaṇa boy has cursed me, I shall accept it." So, he prepared himself for death. For seven days he placed himself on the bank of the Ganges without drinking a drop of water, and for seven days continually, he heard Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from Śukadeva Gosvāmī. That was decided. Harer nāmānukīrtanaḥ. In any circumstances of life, hearing and chanting is prescribed. So Parīkṣit... Śukadeva Gosvāmī said, "My dear King, I have explained to you what is to be done now, at the time of death." So we should take example or instruction from the behavior of Parīkṣit Mahārāja that on the threshold of death...Everyone is on the threshold of death, but the foolish persons, they do not know. Foolish person thinks that "I shall live forever." That is foolishness.
- ahany ahani bhūtāni
- gacchantīha yamālayam
- śeṣāḥ sthāvaram icchanti
- kim āścaryam ataḥ param
Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja was asked by Dharmarāja, "What is the most wonderful thing within this world?" He answered this, ahany ahani bhūtāni gacchantīha yamālayam, "Everyone, every moment, is going to the Yamarāja's place, the superintendent of death, where a man's life is scrutinizingly studied, what he has done, and..." I say man, not animal. Animal, they have no such thing wrong or right, because it is animal. But a human being must have this conscience, right or wrong. Pravṛtti, nivṛtti.
In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ janā na vidur āsurāḥ. Asura-jana, those who are demons, they do not know these two things— pravṛtti and nivṛtti—what is our duty and what is our not duty. Pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca... (BG 16.7). That is modern civilization. They do not know. What is our duty to do and what is our duty not to do—they do not know. Neither any education, in this life what we should do, what we should not do. So therefore this particular word is mentioned here, manīṣiṇām. In human society, those who are specifically intelligent, for them, Caitanya-caritāmṛta kāṛacā, he says, kṛṣṇa yei bhaje sei baḍa catura. Catura means very intelligent. Without being intelligent, nobody can take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But our propaganda is to educate people to become intelligent. They are foolish. They do not know the value of life. They do not know what is going to happen after death. No. Just like cats and dogs.
Therefore Upaniṣad says, Gargopaniṣad, etad viditvā yaḥ prayāti sa brāhmaṇaḥ. "One who leaves this body after knowing everything, he is brāhmaṇa." And etad aviditvā yaḥ prayāti sa kṛpaṇaḥ. "And anyone who dies without knowing the value of life, he's kṛpaṇa, miser, cripple-minded." Because he could not utilize the opportunity given to him by nature. Such nice beautiful body, you American boys and girls-nice country, good facilities, no poverty—everything is very nicely given to you. But, if in spite of all these facilities, if you don't take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you are kṛpaṇa, miser. "Miser" means one who has got money, but he cannot utilize it. He is miser. And one who knows how to utilize money... There are many merchants. They get a few thousands of dollars from their father, but due to intelligence he increases to millions of dollars. That is intelligence. And miser, or foolishness, is that "I get some money from my father, but I spend it for nothing." So this human form of life is specially meant for becoming brāhmaṇa.
We are therefore creating brāhmaṇas. We are not creating śūdras. Śūdras are already there. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ. Anyone born is a śūdra. Śūdra means who has no knowledge, ignorant. He is called śūdra. Paricaryātmakaṁ kāryaṁ śūdra-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44). Śūdra is not intelligent. He cannot do anything nice, thoughtful. "Ehh, get some work, get some few dollars daily. Eat and sleep." That is śūdra. They cannot do anything independent.
A brāhmaṇa will not accept anyone's service. That is especially forbidden, that a brāhmaṇa. . . Brāhmaṇa, even if he is in difficulty, he should not accept anyone's service like a dog. Especially this word is used. A dog cannot live without master. A dog, if he hasn't got a good master is a street dog. He may be killed at any time. He has no protection. Therefore this very word is used. Śūdra means dog. He must have a master, otherwise he cannot live. So there are classes of men, śūdras. No, they must have a protection. Women must have protection, because they cannot do anything independently. To give them independence means to create some trouble. In the Manu-saṁhitā it is clearly said, na strī svātantryam arhati. Woman cannot be given independence. No. They must be protected. When they are child, up to twelve years, thirteen years, say, fifteen, sixteen years, not more than that, she must be protected by the father. And at the age of thirteen to sixteen years, she must be married. Find out some boy who can take charge, the second charge. And when she's old, the charge is given to the elderly sons. So woman is protected like that.