Once, Srila Vyasadev’s grandfather approached him and requested,“My dear grandson! I am very afraid of death. I do not want to die. Kindly make some arrangement for me so that I will not die.” Çréla Vyäsadeva replied, “My dear grandfather, how is it possible that you will not die? Everybody who has taken birth must die. This is a universal truth. I have never heard of one who does not die.
You are requesting of me something which is not possible”. His grandfather insisted, “My dear grandson, you are an incarnation of God. You can do anything. There is nothing which is impossible for you, please grant my request. At least you can try approaching Yamaraja and ask him not to punish me with death.” Having been forced by his grandfather in this way, Srila Vyasadeva took him to Yamaraja. Vyasadeva spoke, “O, Yamaraja! I have come to you with my grandfather to request something on his behalf. My grandfather does not wish to die as he is very afraid of death. As you are the destination of the living entities who die, I humbly request that you relieve him of the burden of death. If at all you are able to help in this regard, please grant me this favour.”
Yamaraja replied, “Yes, it is true that all living entities come to me after death. But I am not the controller of death. I only judge their activities and reward them according to their karma. I cannot stop his death.”
Srila Vyasadeva enquired, “Then who is the controller of death?” Yamaraja answered, “Mahakala-purusa is the controller of death. If you go to him, he may be able to help you achieve your goal.”
Hearing this, Srila Vyasadeva prepared to meet Mahakala-purusa. Before leaving, Vyasadeva’s grandfather approached Yamaraja and requested him to accompany them so that he might advise Mahakala-purusa to stop his death. Yamaraja, out of respect for Vyasadeva, agreed. When they reached the abode of Mahakala-purusa, Vyasadeva explained their reason for coming. he said, “O Mahakala-purusa, you are the controller of death. Due to a great fear of death, my grandfather does not want to die. Please be kind enough to stop his death.”
Mahakala-purusa said, “Yes, I am the controller of death, but I do not know for what exactly your grandfather is destined, and I arrange things according to the destination of the living entities. Please go to Citragupta as he has all the records on your grandfather. Please go there and find out what your grandfather is destined for.”
Before starting out for their meeting with Chitragupta, Vyasadeva’s grandfather asked Mahakala-purusa to join Yamaraja, Vyasadeva and himself. Thus the four of them proceeded to Citragupta’s office. Vyasadeva approached Citragupta, humbly requesting him to find out about the death of his grandfather. Citragupta, at the request of Vyasadeva, checked the file and informed the visitors that according to the record of Vyasadeva’s grandfather, he was not destined to die. Everybody was happy and relieved to hear this news, as they had all come there with the intention of stopping the death of the grandfather. While they were all busy expressing their happiness, Citragupta exclaimed, “wait! wait a minute. Actually the record says that Vyasadeva’s grandfather will avoid death in this life as long as he does not meet Vyasadeva, Yamaraja and Mahakala-purusa together. Whenever these three personalities come together in his presence, he is sure to die....” Before Citragupta could finish his sentence the grandfather fell dead on the spot.
We can see from this narration how the grandfather of Srila Vyasadeva made so many endeavours just to meet death, although he did not want to die. His intention was to avoid death, but his efforts only served to lead him more swiftly to his demise. Although he was not scheduled to die, he went to so much trouble to make sure that exactly those three personalities would gather together in his presence, thus unwittingly causing his own death. Thus people always try their best to stop or delay death. In reality most people are simply engaged in activities that serve to bring them closer to death. All endeavours to stop death become the cause of death, as happened in the case of the grandfather. He travelled so far and worked so hard just to manifest the conditions that would bring about his death.
(Excerpt from the Chapter 3 "Death is inevitable" from the book Death- The Final Call. To order this book online, Click here )