Once their lived a wealthy man who cared little about bhakti and was very much engrossed in sense enjoyment activities.
One day, by some good fortune he met a sadhu who informed him the importance of chanting and hearing the Holy Names of the Lord in the final moment.
Hearing this advice, the rich man thought, “If the whole purpose of this life is to remember the Lord’s name in the final moment then why should I do it now ? Let me do it when I am about to die.”
Then to ensure that he doesn’t forget the same, he informed his family members to chant the Holy Name when he is on death-bed.
After this he continued with his enjoyments. After few years the rich-man suffered a paralytic attack due to which he became bed-ridden and was unable to speak.
Even for his daily needs, he had to use sign language to communicate with his family.
When he realized that there are only few breaths remaining, he signalled them to chant the Lord’s names.
But some of his family members could not understand. And those who understood refused to chant.
They were eagerly waiting for him to die so that they could inherit the riches and were worried if the man will return back to normal health if they chant the Holy names and so stood silent.
Moral of the story:
To remember the Holy names of the Lord, to chant or hear His names is not a child’s play. It requires our endeavor through out the life and mercy of the Lord.
In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 7.6.1 Prahlad Maharaj instructs his classmates as
kaumaara aacaret praajno / dharmaan bhaagavataan iha
durlabham maanusham janma / tad apy adhruvam arthadam
Prahlada Maharaja said: One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life — in other words, from the tender age of childhood — to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements.
The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection.
Our elders led a simple, clean Vedic life right from childhood and thats why they were all hale and healthy, active even during the old age and could be prepared for the final exam.
If we sincerely practice devotional service when we are healthy, then the all merciful Lord makes all the arrangement to remember,chant, hear His names in the final moments.
But if we have not done our home work properly then how can we expect to pass the final test ?