We should not think that the only apprehended culprit is President Nixon and that we are safe. There is a Bengali proverb: "Dry cow dung is used for fuel, and it is said that when the dry cow dung is being burned, the soft cow dung is laughing, saying, 'Oh, you are being burned, but I am safe.' It does not know that when it dries out, it will be thrown into the fire too." We may laugh because President Nixon is in trouble, and we may think ourselves very safe because we have a big bank balance, but actually no one is safe. Eventually everyone will dry up and be thrown in the fire. That is a fact. We may survive for a few years, but we cannot avoid death. In fact, it is said, “As sure as death.” And what is the result of death? One loses everything—all honor, money, position and material life itself. Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā (10.34), mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham: “I am all-devouring death.” Kṛṣṇa comes as death and plunders everything—bank balance, skyscrapers, wife, children and whatever. One cannot say, “My dear death, please give me some time to adjust.” There is no adjustment; one must immediately get out.
Foolish people are unaware of the miserable conditions of material life. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (13.9), janma-mṛtyu jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam. Real knowledge means knowing that however great one may be, the four principles of material life are present: birth, old age, disease and death. These exist in the highest planetary system (Brahmaloka) and in the lowest (Pātālaloka).
tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ
tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukhaṁ
kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā
“Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet down to the lowest planet. As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them.” (Bhāg. 1.5.18)
When Dharmarāja asked Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira what the most wonderful thing in the world was, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira replied: ahany ahani bhūtāni gacchantīha yamālayam. “Every moment people are dying, but those who are living are thinking, ‘My friend has died, but I shall live forever.’ ” (Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.116) Soft cow dung thinks the same way. This is typical of conditioned beings.
Bhagavān, the Supreme Lord, is not in this position. It is therefore said: bhagavān ātma-māyayā. We come onto this planet to enjoy or suffer life for a few days—fifty or a hundred years—but Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not come for that purpose (na māṁ karmāṇi limpanti). It is further stated, na hy asya varṣmaṇaḥ: “No one is greater than Him.” No one is greater than Bhagavān or equal to Him. Everyone is inferior.
According to Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 5.142), ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya. There is only one master—Kṛṣṇa. All others are subservient, beginning with Lord Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśvara, Indra, Candra and all the demigods (there are thirty-three million demigods) and the middle and lower species. Everyone is bhṛtya, or servant. When Kṛṣṇa orders, “My dear Mr. So-and-So, now please give up your place and leave,’, one must go. Therefore everyone is a servant. This is the position of Lord Brahmā and the ant as well. Yas tv indragopam athavendram aho sva-karma [Bs. 5.54]. From Lord Indra to indragopa, an insignificant insect, everyone is reaping the consequences of his karma.
We are creating our own karma, our next body, in this life. In this life we enjoy or suffer the results of our past karma, and in the same way we are creating further karma for our next body. Actually we should work in such a way that we will not get another material body, How can this be done? We simply have to try to understand Kṛṣṇa. As Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9):
janma karma ca me divyam
evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti so ’rjuna
“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.”
This sounds very simple, but actually understanding Kṛṣṇa is very difficult. If we become devotees of Kṛṣṇa, understanding Kṛṣṇa is easy. However, if we try to understand Him by jñāna, karma or yoga, we will be frustrated. There are many types of yogīs, but he who is devoted to Kṛṣṇa is the topmost yogī. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is far above all yogic processes. In India there are many yogīs who can display some magical feats. They can walk on water, make themselves very light or very heavy and so forth. But what is this compared to Kṛṣṇa’s yogic mystic powers? By His potencies, great planets are floating in space. Who can manage to float even a small stone in the air? Sometimes a yogī may show a little mystic power by manufacturing some gold, and we are so foolish that we accept him as God. However, we forget that the real yogī, the Supreme Lord Himself, has created millions of gold mines and is floating them in space. Those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious are not befooled by yogīs who claim to be Bhagavān. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person wants only to serve the foremost yogī, Yogeśvara (varimṇaḥ sarva-yoginām). Because we are trying to become His devotees, we accept the Supreme Lord, Yogeśvara, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa Himself states in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55):
bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
“One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.”
This process is actually very simple. One must first of all realize that the first problem is the conquest of death. Presently we consider death compulsory, but actually it is not. One may be put into prison, but actually prison is not compulsory. It is due to one’s work that one becomes a criminal and is therefore put in jail. It is not compulsory for everyone to go to jail. As living entities, we have our proper place in Vaikuṇṭhaloka.
paras tasmāt tu bhāvo ’nyo
’vyakto ’vyaktāt sanātanaḥ
yaḥ sa sarveṣu bhūteṣu
naśyatsu na vinaśyati
avyakto ’kṣara ity uktas
tam āhuḥ paramāṁ gatim
yaṁ prāpya na nivartante
tad dhāma paramaṁ mama
“There is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is. That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible, and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That is My supreme abode.” (Bg. 8.20–21)
Everything is present in Vaikuṇṭhaloka. There we can have an eternal, blissful life full of knowledge (sac-cid-ānanda). It is not compulsory for us to rot in this material world. The easiest way to go to the Vaikuṇṭhalokas is: janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ [Bg. 4.9]. Simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa. Why does He come? What are His activities? Where does He come from? Why does He come in the form of a human being? We only have to try to understand this and study Kṛṣṇa as He explains Himself in Bhagavad-gītā. What is the difficulty? God personally explains Himself as He is, and if we accept Bhagavad-gītā as it is, we shall no longer have to transmigrate. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9]. We shall no longer have to endure birth and death, for we can attain our spiritual bodies (sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]) and live happily in Kṛṣṇa’s family. Kṛṣṇa is providing for us here, and He will also provide for us there. So we should know that our happiness is in returning home, back to Godhead, where we can eat, drink and be merry in Kṛṣṇa’s company. (From Teachings of Queen Kunti By AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)