People are confused by the story of Ajamila, not just in India, but all over the world. It is said of Ajamila that at the time of his death he called out to his son. His son’s name was Narayana. In the world, when someone is close to death, he will ask to see those he is most attached to one last time. Ajamila was extremely impious and frequently associated with prostitutes, but he was very attached to his son. He wanted to say, “Call Narayana”, but he was only able to utter “Narayana” and then he fell unconscious. Although he didn’t actually die at this time, it is said that he expired and then attained the divine abode of Vaikuntha. Perhaps those who say this haven’t read this story.
In the Bhagavatam it is clearly written that after Ajamila called out for his son, he became unconscious. Everyone becomes unconscious before death. Unconsciousness happens when someone cannot tolerate the pain he is suffering. This doesn’t mean he dies. Someone is being struck once, twice, three times – each time he is screaming in pain. The fourth time he is silent because he falls unconscious. People may think he is dead, but after some time he regains consciousness and sits up. So there is a point where the senses and mind cannot tolerate the pain, and after this, they stop working. If death occurs, it happens only after this.
The pain you experience at the time of death is so great that even before death you cannot speak at all. You are unable to utter even a worldly name, let alone God’s name. So to say a name at the time of death really means it has to be said before death. Even so, this isn’t possible. Even if it were possible, in Ajamila’s case, he did not die after becoming unconscious. Instead he had a vision that the messengers of Lord Vishnu and the messengers of Yamaraja (the god of death) had come. They were debating with each other and Ajamila overheard this.
Yamaraja’s messengers were saying, “He is a great sinner. We will take him to hell.” Vishnu’s messengers said, “No, you won’t. He took God’s name Narayana. You can’t take him.” In the end, the messengers of Vishnu had greater authority and chased Yamaraja’s messengers away. (Bhagavatam, 6.2.20) In other words, after Ajamila uttered "Narayana," the messengers of Vishnu saved Ajamila from death and they chased away the messengers of Yamaraja. The scriptures clearly say he was saved from death. This being the case, how could he have gone to Vaikuntha? Then what actually happened?
To be continued . . .
An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
14 August 2010
Bhakti Dham, Mangarh
© Radha Govind Samiti
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