In Los Angeles on January 5, 1974, speaking on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.8, Srila Prabhupada discussed the process of deathlessness.
na kascin mriyate tavad
yavad asta ihantakah
etad-artham hi bhagavan
aho nr-loke piyeta
“As long as Yamaraja, who causes everyone’s death, is present here, no one shall meet with death. The great sages have invited the controller of death, Yamaraja, who is the representative of the Lord. Living beings who are under his grip should take advantage by hearing the deathless nectar in the form of this narration of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord.”
Srila Prabhupada explained, “If you remain in Krishna consciousness, Yamaraja will not touch you. Your death is stopped from the point where you begin Krishna consciousness. Your death is stopped. Nobody is prepared to die. That is a fact. You may say, I may say, ‘No, I am not afraid of death.’ That is rascaldom. Everyone is afraid of death, and nobody wants to die. That is a fact. But if you are serious about that thing, that ‘I shall stop my process of death, dying process,’ then it is Krishna consciousness.
“Therefore it is advised, aho nr-loke piyeta hari-lilamrtam vacah: ‘O human society, you have got this body. Just go on drinking the nectarine of krsna-katha.’ . . .
“This is the Bhagavata. There is no comparison. There is no literature throughout the universe like Srimad-Bhagavatam. There is no comparison. There is no competition. Every word is for the good of the human society. Every word, each and every word. Therefore we stress so much in the book distribution. Somehow or other, if the book goes in one’s hand, he will be benefited. At least he will see, ‘Oh, they have taken so much price. Let me see what is there.’ If he reads one sloka, his life will be success. If he reads one sloka, one word. This is such nice things. Therefore we are stressing so much, ‘Please distribute book, distribute book, distribute book.’ A greater mrdanga. We are chanting, playing our mrdanga. It is heard within this room or little more. But this mrdanga will go home to home, country to country, community to community, this mrdanga.
“So, it is advised that nr-loke. Nr-loke means the human form of body, in the human society. We don’t discriminate that ‘This is American society’ or ‘This is European society,’ ‘This is Indian society.’ No—all human beings. It doesn’t matter what he is. All human beings. What to speak of civilized men, even uncivilized . . . Externally, these are divisions. But these distinctions are the body. But the spirit soul is not this body. He is spirit. That quality is one. There is no such distinction, ‘This is better,’ ‘This is lower,’ ‘This is black,’ ‘This is white,’ ‘This is civilized.’ In the spirit-soul platform, everyone is one. . . .
“So, here it is said nr-loke, in this human form of body . . . Here advising, aho nr-loke piyeta hari-lilamrtam vacah. This is advised. Those who are born in the human society, they should join this Krishna consciousness movement where simply hari-lilamrtam vacah. There is no other business. What is our business here? Constantly, twenty-four hours, we are engaged in hari-lilamrtam vacah. That’s all. And so long you are engaged in hari-lilamrtam vacah, there is no question of death. There is no question of death. Then, if you say, ‘We are seeing that devotees are dying —’ ‘Yes, but death has been stopped.’ ‘Then still, why he is dying?’ ‘He is not dying. He is going back to home, back to Godhead.’ Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya [Gita 4.9]. [“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”] Tyaktva deham. He has given up this body, but he is not going to accept anymore a body like this. Then? Mam eva: “He is coming to Me.” What is that mam eva? Yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama [Gita 15.6]. [“That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.”] If you go somehow or other to Krishna, you will never come back.
“So, mrtyu, death, is stopped as soon as you take Krishna consciousness very seriously, immediately, from that moment, as soon as you are initiated. You promise before the spiritual master, ‘Yes, I am initiated, I shall act like this,’ and if you follow, then your death is stopped from that point. No more death. No more death. Simply an official business, just like you sleep and again you awake, similarly, a devotee’s death is like that. It is like sleeping, and next moment in the spiritual kingdom, immediately. Immediately. When he will rise, he will see that ‘I am with Krishna. I am with Krishna.’ ”
The devotees exclaimed, “Jaya Prabhupada!”
Prabhupada responded, “This is the fact. So don’t fall down. Don’t be childish, that ‘Yes, I have promised before spiritual master, before Krishna, before fire. All right, that’s all right. Let me break.” No, don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t lose this opportunity. You are now on the point of deathlessness . . . .
“One who has fallen down from the bhakti-yoga, where does he go? Sucinam srimatam gehe: in the house of very rich man and in the house of nice Vaishnava brahman. This is the opportunity. This is first-class opportunity. If you take your birth in the house of Vaishnava brahman, just like these children are taking birth, father and mother Vaishnava. They are very fortunate. They are not ordinary children. Otherwise they would not have gotten this chance of chanting and dancing before Deity and Vaishnava. They are not ordinary children. The parent must take care, very good care, that they may not fall down. They have got the chance. Now train them to complete this Krishna consciousness. That is the duty of father and mother. ‘Now this child has come under my care.’ If both the father and mother think like that . . . ‘Oh, here is a child who has taken shelter of me as mother, who has taken shelter of me as father. Oh, it is my duty to train him in such a way that no more birth, no more death.’ Therefore Bhagavata says, pita na sa syat . . . na mocayed yah samupeta-mrtyum [SB 5.5.18]: [“One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a relative, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod.”] ‘One should not become mother, one should not become father, if he cannot release his children from the clutches of death.’ And how one can be saved from the clutches of death? This is the process: hari-lilamrtam vacah. If he is trained up . . . Therefore we have got this school in Dallas. From the beginning, hari-lilamrtam vacah. They are being trained up in hari-lilamrtam vacah.
“Once one becomes situated in hari-lilamrtam vacah, that means he has stopped his process of death. Of course, this body is material. It must make a show that this material body . . . But he is a spiritual body. He is going back to home, back to Godhead. There is no doubt about it. Therefore Yamaraja’s duty . . . Yamaraja is Vaishnava. He wants to see that you do not die again. He wants to see that you continue your deathlessness. Now you are engaged in krsna-kathamrtam vacah. So that is the point of… Just like a diseased man. A diseased man, as soon as goes to the physician and he gives the right medicine, and he takes it, that means his diseaselessness condition has already begun. It will take little time. So in the meantime, in that treatment time, diseaselessness condition, if you make another infection, that is your fault. Otherwise, deathlessness begins from the day of initiation. Adau gurvasrayam. As soon as you take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, your point of deathlessness begins immediately. Immediately. And if you continue the advice and instruction of the spiritual master, or the shastra, then you become deathless. No more death. And Yamaraja wants to see that actually you are continuing your deathlessness process. This Krishna consciousness is so nice. Therefore it is advised.
“Now, if somebody argues that ‘A devotee is also dying. How can I say there is deathlessness?’ No, he does not know. Devotee is not dying. There is very good example. Just like a cat: he catches the rat and he catches his cub also. But these two kinds of catching are different. When the cat catches a rat, that rat means his “chi-chi-chi” means dying, actually dying. And the cub, he is feeling very comfortable: “meow, meow, meow.” Because the same cat, catching process is the same, but the feeling is different. So a devotee, seemingly dying, is not dying. He is going back to Krishna. He is very pleased, ‘Now my labor is finished. I am going to Krishna.” That is his feeling. And others, they are crying, “Oh, this is my estate. This is my family. This is my, this is my, this is my . . . I am leaving. I do not want to leave it. What will happen to that?” He is crying. That is death. And this is not death. It appears like death, but it is actually not death. Just like the electric fan, if you make the switch off, it has stopped running, but if you say, “Still running,” that is not running; that is a show of running. Actually, the running is stopped. Similarly, as soon as you surrender to God through His representative, your death is stopped, unless you make it nullified by accepting anything which is against the bhakti principle. Otherwise, your deathlessness is guaranteed. That is stated here. Na kascin mriyate tavad yavad asta ihantakah. If you simply know that “Yamaraja is there. He is supervising that I may not fall down,” then you will not die. You will not die. It is not impractical. It is practical. Try to perceive the truth that since you have begun Krishna consciousness, to become Krishna conscious, your death has been stopped. But don’t fall down and again capture death. That is the instruction.”