(Click to enlarge painting of the Vishnudutas saving Ajamila who called "Narayana" at the time of death)
"In human society all over the world there are millions and billions of men and women, and almost all of them are less intelligent because they have very little knowledge of spirit soul. Almost all of them have a wrong conception of life, for they identify themselves with the gross and subtle material bodies, which they are not, in fact. They may be situated in different high and low positions in the estimation of human society, but one should know definitely that unless one inquires about his own self beyond the body and the mind, all his activities in human life are total failures. Therefore out of thousands and thousands of men, one may inquire about his spirit self and thus consult the revealed scriptures like Vedānta-sūtras, Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. But in spite of reading and hearing such scriptures, unless one is in touch with a realized spiritual master, he cannot actually realize the real nature of self, etc. And out of thousands and hundreds of thousands of men, someone may know what Lord Kṛṣṇa is in fact. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 20.122-123) it is said that Lord Kṛṣṇa, out of His causeless mercy, prepared the Vedic literatures in the incarnation of Vyāsadeva for reading by the intelligent class of men in a human society which is almost totally forgetful of the genuine relation with Kṛṣṇa. Even such an intelligent class of men may be forgetful in their relation with the Lord. The whole bhakti-yoga process is therefore a revival of the lost relation. This revival is possible in the human form of life, which is obtained only out of the evolutionary cycle of 8,400,000 species of life. The intelligent class of human being must take a serious note of this opportunity. Not all human beings are intelligent, so the importance of human life is not always understood. Therefore manīṣiṇām, meaning 'thoughtful,' is particularly used here. A manīṣiṇām person, like Mahārāja Parīkṣit, must therefore take to the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa and fully engage himself in devotional service, hearing, chanting, etc., of the holy name and pastimes of the Lord, which are all hari-kathāmṛta. This action is especially recommended when one is preparing for death."
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.3.1, Purport)
"Death is not very much welcome for those who are too much attached to material enjoyment, which culminates in sex. There is an instructive story in this connection. Once when a saintly person was passing on his way, he met a prince, the son of a king, and he blessed him, saying, 'My dear prince, may you live forever.' The sage next met a saintly person and said to him, 'You may either live or die.' Eventually the sage met a brahmacārī devotee, and he blessed him, saying, 'My dear devotee, you may die immediately.' Finally the sage met a hunter, and he blessed him, saying, 'Neither live nor die.' The point is that those who are very sensual and are engaged in sense gratification do not wish to die. Generally a prince has enough money to enjoy his senses; therefore the great sage said that he should live forever, for as long as he lived he could enjoy life, but after his death he would go to hell. Since the brahmacārī devotee was leading a life of severe austerities and penances in order to be promoted back to Godhead, the sage said that he should die immediately so that he need not continue to labor hard and could instead go back home, back to Godhead. A saintly person may either live or die, for during his life he is engaged in serving the Lord and after his death he also serves the Lord. Thus this life and the next are the same for a saintly devotee, for in both he serves the Lord. Since the hunter lives a very ghastly life due to killing animals, and since he will go to hell when he dies, he is advised to neither live nor die.
King Purañjana finally arrived at the point of old age. In old age the senses lose their strength, and although an old man desires to enjoy his senses, and especially sex life, he is very miserable because his instruments of enjoyment no longer function. Such sensualists are never prepared for death. They simply want to live on and on and extend their life by so-called scientific advancement. Some foolish Russian scientists also claim that they are going to make man immortal through scientific advancement. Under the leadership of such crazy fellows, civilization is going on. Cruel death, however, comes and takes all of them away despite their desire to live forever. This type of mentality was exhibited by Hiraṇyakaśipu, but when the time was ripe, the Lord personally killed him within a second."
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 4.27.12, Purport)
"Yamarāja once asked Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, 'What is the most wonderful thing within this world?" Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira replied (Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.116):
ahany ahani bhūtāni
śeṣāḥ sthāvaram icchanti
kim āścaryam ataḥ param
Hundreds and thousands of living entities meet death at every moment, but a foolish living being nonetheless thinks himself deathless and does not prepare for death. This is the most wonderful thing in this world. Everyone has to die because everyone is fully under the control of material nature, yet everyone thinks that he is independent, that whatever he likes he can do, that he will never meet death but live forever, and so on. So-called scientists are making various plans by which living entities in the future can live forever, but while they are thus pursuing such scientific knowledge, Yamarāja, in due course of time, will take them away from their business of so-called research."
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.2.57, Purport)
"The people I have seen in America are very restless. They go from one apartment to another apartment or from one country to another country. That restlessness is there because we are searching after our real home. To go from this place to that place will not give eternal life. Eternal life is with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, 'Everything belongs to Me, and I have the superexcellent abode, which is called Goloka Vṛndāvana.' If one wants to go there, he must simply become Kṛṣṇa conscious and try to understand how Kṛṣṇa appears and disappears, what His constitutional position is, what our constitutional position is, what our relationship with Him is, and how to live. Simply try to understand these ideas scientifically. Everything in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is scientific. It is not bogus, whimsical, sentimental, fanatical or imaginary. It is truth, fact, reality. One must understand Kṛṣṇa in truth.
We have to give up this body, willingly or unwillingly. The day will come when we will have to submit to the laws of nature and give up this body. Even President Kennedy in his procession had to submit to nature's law and change his body for another body. He could not say, 'Oh, I am the President; I am Mr. Kennedy. I cannot do that.' He was forced to do it. That is the way nature works.
The purpose of our developed human consciousness is to understand how nature works. Aside from human consciousness, there is consciousness in dogs, cats, worms, trees, birds, beasts and all other species. But we are not meant to live in that consciousness. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says that after many, many births we have attained the human form of body. Now we should not misuse it. Please utilize this human life to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness and be happy."
(Easy Journey to Other Planets, Chapter 2)
"We must know why we shall take to devotional service, pāraṁ paraṁ jigamiṣor, not to remain within this material world. Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām (SB 10.14.58). Here in the material world, padaṁ padaṁ vipadām. Every step there is vipada; there is danger. So don't think that 'She is dying' or 'He is dying, and I shall not die.' Everyone will have to die. Every step, there is danger of dying. It is not that... The bhute pare gobar hasi... Everyone has to die. So before that death we must become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious so that ante nārāyaṇa-smṛtiḥ (SB 2.1.6). The end will come today or tomorrow or day after tomorrow. Nobody will live here. But the success is if we can remember Nārāyaṇa at the end of life. That is success. Ante nārāyaṇa-smṛtiḥ. We should practice that. Don't bother about that 'I shall die tomorrow. You are dying today, so I am better than you.' Nobody will live here. Everyone will die, and we must be prepared for death. And the devotee has no fear for dying because if he is completely surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, then he is going back to Him. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti (BG 4.9), simply by surrendering to Kṛṣṇa.
And what is that surrendering? Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru, mām evaiṣyasi asaṁśayaḥ (BG 18.68). Without any doubt. He is giving assurance. Four things only. Always think of Kṛṣṇa. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī mām. Anyone can do it. Everyone can offer Kṛṣṇa patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ (BG 9.26). Everyone can hear from Kṛṣṇa what is Kṛṣṇa. Where is the difficulty? The difficulty is that we want enjoyment in this material world. That is the difficulty."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, November 12, 1976)
"My Guru Mahārāja used to say that 'Why should you wait for another life? Finish Kṛṣṇa consciousness business in this life.' In this life. Why you should set aside the business for another life? No. Tūrṇaṁ yateta anumṛtya pateta yāvat (SB 11.9.29). This is the instructions of... Before the next death you should prepare yourself for death. Death is inevitable. You cannot avoid death. But before the next death comes, if you become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, then your life is successful."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, December 7, 1975)