They are trying to solve so many questions, but this question does not arise in their mind, that "I don't wish to die. Why death is forced upon me?"
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[Posted Mar 7, 2007]

Let Science Postpone Death


His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder-Acharya of the world-wide Hare Krishna Movement, Brahma Sampradaya Acharya

Srila Prabhupada
Morning walk with disciples, Los Angeles, June 21, 1975

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cemetery Prime problem set aside

Prabhupada: Who can become more learned than Vyasadeva? Therefore he is known as vidvan, the most, supreme learned. He made this Srimad-Bhagavatam to help these rascals who are spoiling their life only in sense gratification.

Life is meant for tapasya. Tapo divyam putraka yena shuddhyed [Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.1]. They do not know that our existentional condition is impure. The question does not arise that "I do not wish to die. Why there is death?" They are so dull-headed, this question does not... They are trying to solve so many questions, but this question does not arise in their mind, that "I don't wish to die. Why death is forced upon me?" Inquire. Come on, all philosophers and scientists, come and make an inquiry commission, that "I don't want to die. The death is forced upon me. I don't want to become old man, and it is forced upon me. What is the reason?" Therefore they are rascals. The prime problem, they have set aside. Big, big scientists... That Professor Einstein and other, other, they are big, big scientists. They do not consider this question, that "I am a big scientist. So I am also going to die. So why it is?" That question, they have set aside. And they manufacture atom bomb to make dead very easy, not to stop death, but death-making very easily available. This is scientific. Hmm? Is that scientific?

Bahulashva: No.

Prabhupada: [chuckles] Everyone is dying, and they accelerate death. And that is taken as scientific.

Satsvarupa: They are also making research how to stop death.

Prabhupada: Huh?

Satsvarupa: They're making... But it's useless.

Prabhupada: So that is in our hands; that is not in their hands.

Devotees: Jaya, Prabhupada!

Revatinandan: Some time back I was reading an article on an airplane, one of those airline news magazines, about the science of gerontology, the science of putting off death or stopping death. They say, "Within twenty-thirty years we will have stopped it. We will even reverse the process of old age. We'll become younger." That was their claim.

Prabhupada: They can do it—that is credit. But what is this credit, that people are dying and you discover atom bomb to accelerate death very quickly? If they are thinking like that, then sanity is coming. At least, they are thinking like that, that "Why death should not be stopped?" That will be credit if they can do so, but at least this question, it comes. Then they become human being, not dogs. And so long this question does not come, they are cats and dogs. This is athato brahma jijñasa.[1] This is the inquiry. Sanatana Gosvami when he approached Chaitanya Mahaprabhu he first questioned this, ke ami, keno more jape tapa-traya: "I was minister. That's all right. But I do not know why I shall accept death. Therefore I have come to You." This is minister, intelligence, that "People praise me, I am minister, I am very learned scholar, but I do not know why I am under the tribulations of three-fold miseries, and what is my position." Ke ami, keno more jape tapa-traya: "Who I am? I don't want all these things, why they are troubling me?" Gramya-vyavahare pandita, tai satya kori mani: "These fools and rascals, they call me, I am very learned scholar, and I also accept it, but I do not know why I am suffering." This is Sanatana Gosvami's question. So what they are doing? They are making research?

Revatinandan: Yes.

Prabhupada: Who are they? Very important men?

Revatinandan: Well, it just said... The magazine was not terribly detailed. It just said that many scientists involved in this are claiming that within twenty-thirty years they will reverse the aging processes. I think it is a bogus claim actually. They dream all kinds of things like that.

Satsvarupa: They say when a person is born, there is a kind of clock inside them that runs so long. If they can change that clock, then they'll make it stretch out.

Prabhupada: Another foolishness.

Bahulashva: Most of these big philosophers don't ever think of that question, Srila Prabhupada.

Prabhupada: Huh?

Bahulashva: These big philosophers never think of that question.

Prabhupada: Because they have no answer.

Bahulashva: Yes.

Prabhupada: The difficult subject matter, they set aside.

Bahulashva: They avoid.

Prabhupada: Yes.

Revatinandan: But this gerontology is not a major subject in any of the universities yet.

Prabhupada: They know, "It is not possible by us." They know it.

Bahulashva: I was speaking with Professor Stahl about this point in Berkeley. And he also had no answers for this question. He thought that there was no such thing as eternal life.

Prabhupada: Well, then, therefore you are a rascal. Then why you are struggling to live? Why, when you are sick, why do you call doctor, physician? Why this tendency? Why you are making research in medical science, opening hospital? Die. Why you are not willing to die? Then what is the answer? He says, "There is no such thing as eternity," but why you are struggling for eternity? Then what is the answer? Hmm?

Bahulashva: Well, when we tell them your philosophy, Srila Prabhupada, he became silent. The one... We were having a debate, and the one chairman of the debate, he then he turned to Mr. Stahl. He said, "So what do you think of this answer, Mr. Philosopher?" And Mr. Stahl just sat there very quiet. He couldn't say anything.

Prabhupada: (chuckles) Everyone is trying to live. That is Darwin's theory also, "struggle for existence." So why you are trying to exist if there is no such thing?

Satsvarupa: Well, they say, "We don't mind if we're not eternal, but we want to live as long as possible."

Prabhupada: Why? That is my question. Why? Why this tendency?

Revatinandan: Some years back...

Prabhupada: That means it is unnatural. "I am eternal, but this death has been forced upon me. That is unnatural." That is intelligence.

Revatinandan: Some time back in the newspaper... This old president of America, Harry Truman, died, and it mentioned that he was eighty-eight years old and that in the last eight years he had been in and out of the hospital ten times for surgery. So in eight years he had been operated on ten times. At eighty-eight years old he was still trying to live, and finally he died.

Prabhupada: Just see, just see.

Revatinandan: So much misery; still, he would not die. He tolerated all these operations.

Bahulashva: This Professor Stahl, he was saying that his experience is that everything is changing and temporary. So therefore he was thinking that that is the nature of all things, that they are temporary.

Prabhupada: Temporary, this (indistinct). Why this "temporary" word has come into existence unless there is the opposite, "eternal"? Why do you use this word, "temporary"? When you say, "It is fraud," and there must be something as honesty. Otherwise, why this "fraud" has come? Hm? We say, "This is light"—means there is something as darkness. This is relative world. The Professor Einstein said relativity. This is relative: as soon as there is darkness, there must be light. Otherwise, how you understand light and darkness? So unless there is eternity, how do you bring this word, "temporary"? What is their answer?

Bahulashva: They have no answer.

Prabhupada: Unless there is father, there is no meaning of the word son. Unless there is husband, there is no meaning of the word wife. This is the relative world, and they are accepting this relativity. So how they can deny? As soon as you "temporary" say, you must accept there is eternity.

Bahulashva: We were telling him that although everything is changing, he was still existing.

Prabhupada: Yes. Now, existing, but why you are in change? That is the question. "I am existing," that we say, but we are trying to solve the problem of changing. But this changing is not very happy, to die and again accept another body and remain to, in the womb of the mother to develop that body in an airtight condition. So why these foolish persons do not take it as very miserable? And with the risk of being killed by the mother. Nowadays their abortion and killing. So is it very nice life, that you die and you enter into the mother's womb to develop another body? And that also not secure. Is that very nice life? [break] Write many articles on this subject matter and prove them that "You are all fools." [break] ...major problem, they have left aside.

Bahulashva: The main problem.

Prabhupada: [laughs] Yes. And Krishna says, therefore, "These are your real problems: janma-mrityu-jara-vyadhi duhkha-doshanudarshanam [Bhagavad-gita 13.9]. If you are intelligent, then you should keep always in your front these problems."

Bahulashva: They think that we're avoiding the real problems.

Prabhupada: Huh?

Bahulashva: They think that we're avoiding the real problems because we're not doing business.

Prabhupada: We are not doing business? We are doing the best business. You are working hard day and night, and without working, we are living comfortably. They cannot dream of. [break] ...is their envy, that "These people, without doing anything they are living so comfortably. And we are working so hard day and night." [break] Yes, this is envious.

Bahulashva: Srila Prabhupada, we have scheduled some meetings with many professors there, from this Graduate Theological Union and other places. Dr. Judah will be there and some of his associates.

Prabhupada: Dr. Judah, he wanted to see me earlier, no?

Bahulashva: Yes, he'll be coming here probably on Tuesday or Wednesday. He's just coming from Boston. They had a big library convention there for the theological schools in the United States. So he had to go to speak at that, and then he'll be coming back.

Prabhupada: Did he speak anything about Hare Krishna?

Bahulashva: He's always speaking about this Hare Krishna movement. [Prabhupada chuckles] He gave one lecture just about two weeks ago. It was very very nice. I attended, and I was also speaking something.

Prabhupada: No, he is serious about studying this movement.

Bahulashva: Yes.

Prabhupada: That is nice. Anyone who is serious, he will appreciate.


1. The Vedanta-sutra states, athato brahma jijñasa: "Now one should inquire about Brahman." [Back to text]

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