(The repetition of birth, death, old age and disease—click to enlarge*)
Prabhupāda: The ultimate problem is, of course, death. Nobody wants to die. Even one is very old man, older than me, and his body is not working, he's invalid, he cannot walk even, lying on the bed—still, he wants to live. If some suffering old man, who has so many diseases, invalid person, if you say, "My dear father, grandfather, you are so much suffering. Let me shoot you." "Oh, no, no, no. Don't shoot me." He doesn't want to die. So death is a problem. Nobody wants to die, but death comes and captures him, just like President Kennedy, within a second: (snaps his finger) "Leave this position." Forced. Submit. "Yes. What can I do?" No scientific advancement of knowledge. Of course, this is also another science, Kṛṣṇa science. But we understand scientific knowledge, this material scientists, material science. They are also trying. The Russians sometimes say that "Time will come when science will solve the problems of death. Nobody will die." Let them think like that, but it is not possible.
That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9]. One who is actually learned, advanced in knowledge, he should know that these four things, the miseries of taking birth... The misery of taking birth means we have to take, we have to appear... After this body is finished, we have to take another body. How this body is constructed, developed? In the womb of the mother. The father gives the semina with the living entity within, and mother receives it and develops it, body. This is nature's law. So you have to live within the mother, compact, air-tight packed, for ten months, at least. Just imagine if you are packed in a bag and put in a air-tight compartment, locked up, would you like? You'll die within three seconds. But the arrangement is so nice, by nature's law, the intestine, that the child breathes with the mother's breathing, mother's fooding. Even unconscious, his development of the body goes on. That is nature's arrangement, but you cannot do that. It is by God's grace the child lives. Otherwise, by your so-called scientific calculation, nobody can live in that condition. You just try it. Take any man, pack him, and put him in the air-tight condition. He'll die within three seconds.
So there is suffering during birth. Similarly, there is suffering during death. These are... And the concomitant sufferings always with this body. Similarly there is suffering if you are diseased, and similarly there is suffering when you are old. Just like we are old and some way or other, keeping this body by massaging, by taking some medicine, this way, that way. This body is no longer just like a young man's body. It is suffering body. As soon as you are over fifty years, by nature, so the old age begins. And when you are over seventy years, you are completely old, and you have to suffer the consequences of old age. You may try to keep that old body for... But there is suffering. A young man cannot understand, but one who is old, he can understand, there is suffering. Suffering of old age, suffering of birth, suffering of death, and suffering of disease. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9].
If you are proud of your advancement of knowledge, that you have solved all the questions, all the problems, in the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says, "Don't think like that. That is your foolishness. These problems are there. What you can do?" That is learning: "Yes. Problems are not solved. The problems are there." That is learning. If you have got some problem, and... Just like the rabbits. The rabbits, when they face one hunter and it understands that "Now my life is in danger," he closes his eyes. He thinks that "The problem is now solved." (laughs) And peacefully he is killed. You see? Similarly, the problems are there, but we are closing our eyes: "Oh, there is no problem. We are very happy." That's it. (laughter) So this is called māyā. The problem is not solved, but they are thinking their problem is solved by closing the eyes. That's all.
Now, here is the solution of problem, as Kṛṣṇa says in the fourteenth verse, Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā: "It is very difficult to surmount the problems offered by the laws of material nature, but one who surrenders unto Me, he overcomes." Therefore we are teaching this Kṛṣṇa consciousness to solve the problems of life. It is not sentiment or fanaticism or any sectarian religion. It is a fact that if you want to solve the problems of life, you have to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. There is no other alternative. Kṛṣṇa-nāma karo bhāi āra saba mithyā. You understand Bengali? It says that "Just chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Everything is false, all other means of making some... False." Why? Palāibe patha naya ya mache kichu. "You cannot escape. Just death is waiting behind you." So before death overcomes you, you make a solution of the problem. That is intelligence, that "The greatest danger is awaiting me—death." That is sure. "As sure as death." Everyone knows.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Hamburg, September 8, 1969)
*Pictured above: The conditioned spirit soul is seen changing bodies from childhood to youth to old age to death and then into the womb of another mother. Above, a man is changing garments, and below the soul is changing bodies.
"As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change."