No one can escape death nor can anyone delay it

Material science can discover the nuclear bomb to accelerate the process of death, but it cannot discover anything that can protect man from the cruel hands of old age, disease and death.

isopanishadpageaday-24. Death is unavoidable
Sri Isopanishad | page-a-day series | 24

Continued from previous page… Thus the perfect disciple must be like Arjuna, and the spiritual master must be as good as the Lord Himself. This is the process of learning vidya (knowledge) from the dhira (the undisturbed).

An adhira (one who has not undergone the training of a dhira) cannot be an instructive leader. Modern politicians who pose themselves as dhiras are actually adhiras, and one cannot expect perfect knowledge from them. They are simply busy seeing to their own remuneration in dollars and cents. How, then, can they lead the mass of people to the right path of self-realization? Thus one must hear submissively from a dhira in order to attain actual education.


TRANSLATION. Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality.

PURPORT: Since the creation of the material world, everyone has been trying to attain a permanent life, but the laws of nature are so cruel that no one has been able to avoid the hand of death. No one wants to die, nor does anyone want to become old or diseased. The law of nature, however, does not allow anyone immunity from old age, disease or death. Nor has the advancement of material knowledge solved these problems. Material science can discover the nuclear bomb to accelerate the process of death, but it cannot discover anything that can protect man from the cruel hands of old age, disease and death.

From the Puranas we learn of the activities of Hiranyakasipu, a king who was very much advanced materially. Wanting to conquer cruel death by his material acquisitions and the strength of his nescience, he underwent a type of meditation so severe that the inhabitants of all the planetary systems became disturbed by his mystic powers. He forced the creator of the universe, the demigod Brahma, to come down to him. He then asked Brahma for the benediction of becoming amara, by which one does not die. Brahma said that he could not award the benediction because even he, the material creator who rules all planets, is not amara. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (8.17), Brahma lives a long time, but that does not mean he is immortal.

Hiranya means “gold,” and kasipu means “soft bed.” This cunning gentleman Hiranyakasipu was interested in these two things—money and women—and he wanted to enjoy them by becoming immortal. He asked from Brahma many benedictions in hopes of indirectly fulfilling his desire to become immortal. Since Brahma told him that he could not grant the gift of immortality, Hiranyakasipu requested that he not be killed by any man, animal, god or any other living being within the 8,400,000 species. He also asked that he not die on land, in the air or water, or by any weapon. In this way Hiranyakasipu foolishly thought these guarantees would save him from death. Ultimately, however, although Brahma granted him all these benedictions, he was killed by the Personality of Godhead in the form of Nrisimha, the Lord’s half-lion, half-man incarnation, and no weapon was used to kill him, for he was killed by the Lord’s nails. Nor was he killed on the land, in the air or in the water, for he was killed on the lap of that wonderful living being, Nrisimha, who was beyond his conception.

The whole point here is that even Hiranyakasipu, the most powerful of materialists, could not become deathless by his various plans. What, then, can be accomplished by the tiny Hiranyakasipus of today, whose plans are thwarted from moment to moment?


(To be continued to the next page…)

Source: Sri Isopanishad. Translation and purports by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Copyright BBT International


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