Prabhupada explains the process of death and how to avoid it

January 8, 2022 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

April 7 1974 Bombay
Prabhupāda: This example is givenSuppose we are walkingThis step, when I assure that “This is all right, it is not, it will not go down,” then I take up this. Then again thisThis example is given. Similarly, change of body like that. As soon as it is settled up what kind of body he is going to accept or which is being offered to him, daivanetreṇa, by higher authority, then this man leaves this body and again enters in the womb of the body which he is destined to get. This is the process of death.
Yadubara: Is that immediate, Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Prabhupāda: Immediate. Just like immediate I am walking. When it is fixed up, then I take up. Then when it is fixed up, then I take up, like this. Immediately.
Yaśomatīnandana: What about hell? How does the jīva soul go to hell?
Prabhupāda: Yes. They go. Those who are going to hell, that is fixed up very quickly. It doesn’t take much time. Hell means he is getting the next body, hellish body. That’s all. Suppose he is going to get the hellish body to become the worm of stool, so in that way he enters the worm, mother worm, to get the body and enjoy the hell. That’s all.
Satsvarūpa: Don’t they sometimes have to go to Yamarāja first for practice?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is daivanetreṇa. These things are finished very quickly. And if it takes little time, then this man who is dying, he remains in coma and does not die. Because the judgement is going on, the decision waiting, coma. You have seen sometimes a man is in coma for seven days, eight days? Yes. That means his judgement is going on, that… Such kind of death means very sinful death. Not yet settled up, very complicated case. Therefore it takes time.
Yadubara: What about persons who die in their sleep? Is that a sinful death?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Dream or awakened, everything is dream, gross dream and subtle dream. That’s all. This is also dream. What do you mean by dream? Dream means existent for a little period. That’s all. So night dream is for two hours and this dream is for twenty-four hours.

Yaśomatīnandana: So in other words when it says that one goes to hell, any lower species is also like hell. If one is going to assume a dog’s body, then does he go to hell before he assumes a dog’s body?
Prabhupāda: There is statement like that, that one is put into the hellish condition for practicing little, and then he is put into the womb of such mother.
Yaśomatīnandana: Is that a long duration of practice or just…, very short?
Prabhupāda: No, very short. Short mean their short. It may take little more time.
Girirāja: Now they have machines that when the person is in coma, the machines artificially keep the heart beating and the other processes…
Prabhupāda: Then heart beating will go on, either you apply machine or no machine. Heart beating. But when the heart stops, no machine can revive it. So what is the use of machine? But by nature’s way when the heart beating will stop, no machine can help. That is not possible.
Girirāja: So the doctors face a dilemma, that they keep the heart going by the machine, but they don’t know whether the patient is actually living or dead. So they are afraid to stop the machine. They don’t know how to decide when to stop the machine.
Prabhupāda: But when they stop it…?
Girirāja: Then the patient is dead. (laughter)
Yaśomatīnandana: That is the modern science, so imperfect. They don’t even know whether a person is live or dead.
Prabhupāda: What do they know? They know something, but everyone knows. Even the birds and beasts, they also know something.
Girirāja: “In this way, one after another the body changes and the soul transmigrates. See how the plant worms change from one twig to another so carefully. Similarly the living entity changes his body as soon as the higher authorities decide on his next body.” [break]
Prabhupāda: …the modern civlization is that they have no knowledge about the change of body. Almost 99 percent people, they do not know.
Yaśomatīnandana: Even the so-called religions, the religions even don’t teach.
Prabhupāda: They do not know.
Girirāja: “This body is exactly like one of the bodies which we always see in dreams. During our dream of sleep we create so many bodies according to mental creation.” [break]
Prabhupāda: …the psychologically whatever mental condition we prepare throughout this life, that means you are preparing next life, and in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvam tyajanty ante kalevaram [Bg. 8.6]. 
The situation of the mind at the time of death will carry you to the similar body. Just like one who likes to eat some special foodstuff, so… Suppose the meat-eaters… So the mentality is “How to eat meat, how to eat meat.” So they are given next life the canine teeth to give facility for eating meat. Canine teeth means dogs, cats, tigers, like that.
Girirāja: “Unless we have a particular type of body, we cannot enjoy or suffer according to our mental proclivities inherited from the previous life.” [break]
Prabhupāda: …another exampleAsaṅgo ‘yaṁ puruṣaḥ. It is said that this living entity is untouched by this material body. Asaṅgo ‘yaṁ puruṣaḥ. So the example is given that the moon reflected on water appears to be moving, but moon is separate from that movement. …Unnecessarily he thinks that “I belong to this country, I belong to this society.” That means he creates another body. And if he knows perfectly well that “I do not belong to any of these bodies,” that is brahmabhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54]. That teaching required, that every being is unattached to this body. Therefore yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape… Anyone who is maintaining himself under bodily concept of life, he is no better than the animals. [break] The demonic person does not accept any good lesson. Mūrkhāyopadeṣo hi prakopāya na śāntaye. Because he is foolish, if you give him good advice, he will be angry. Still, we have to do that.
On the other hand this is what happens if one is a devotee of the Lord
SB 2.3.17–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.
PURPORT-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 (jīva) so that 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 to perfection is immediately opened