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Krishna Prema's Food for Thought 2023 # 2 - Remember you will die — 2177 weeks left!

Did you know that most of us will have a lifespan of approximately 4576 Weeks? That's 88 years, which is the average lifespan of a human according to some optimistic estimations. Today is my birthday, and that means already 2400 weeks (46 years) have passed since I started my journey in this world. That also means I got around 2177 weeks left before death approached me. Of course, I could die any moment, but another two thousand weeks is my life expectancy.

A poster with the title „My Life in Weeks“, that sticks to the door of my wall cupboard has become an exciting source of reflection. Every week I take a black pen and fill in the next empty box — another week has passed, and I am again a little closer to the end!

„Why do you do this? That's crazy! Isn’t this very depressing?“ , is what some of my friends have asked me. Let me try to explain. For one who wants to enjoy in this world, the thought of death is very unpleasant. Who wants to be reminded that death will eventually take away everything? But pushing aside reality will not help in the longer term. According to some statistics, 72% of people die without writing a will, which indicates that although everyone knows that we have to die at some point, death seems to always come as a surprise.

Being regularly confronted with our mortality is not a morbid exercise but rather a healthy way to face reality and it is a very ancient practice too. In Latin, there is a term called memento mori or „remember you will die“. Some medieval theologians and philosophers consequently would have a human skull on their desks to remind them of their mortality. In St. Benedict Rule for monastic living, we also find the instruction “keep death daily before your eyes“ (1), and in the Gita, Lord Krishna declares that knowledge means to understand the problems of life, namely birth, death, old age and disease — janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam. (2)

For those who want to sincerely practice spiritual life, facing inevitable death is essential! Why is this so? Because our mortality can remind us of what is essential in life. Imagine you only have a couple of weeks or even days or hours to live. How would you spend these days, these hours? What would you do? What would still be important to you? ​

In this way, contemplating our death can help us prioritise life decisions. What is essential to my life? What should I focus on before time runs out? Knowing that half of my life is already over and that I only have another 2000 weeks left gives me the inspiration to do something meaningful with my remaining time before I leave this world.

Our practice of Krishna Consciousness is the ultimate solution to the problems of birth, disease, old age and death. As the Bhagavatam beautifully declares: „Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.“ (4)

In other words, although the time factor brings everyone closer to death, those who use their time to glorify the Lord will not be affected since they will attain eternal life. With this understanding, I am looking forward to the upcoming 2177 weeks, which I want to spend wisely, which gives me new opportunities to glorify the Lord and establish my relationship with Him.

Filling in the next empty box weekly will remind me of what’s truly important and that I should not waste any time, for time is our most valuable asset. „Even a slight fraction of time cannot be purchased with millions of dollars, and therefore even a moment of time lost without profit must be calculated as the greatest loss in life“ (5) or as H.H. Keshava Maharaja so nicely puts it „There is no point in killing time once you realise that time is killing you!“ (6)


1 - St. Benedict Rule for Monastic Living, Rule, 4.47

2 - Bhagavad Gita 13.9

4 - Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.17

5 - Srila Prabhupada, Purport SB 3.10.11

6 - Book Bhagavata - The Constant Companion, H.H. SB Keshava Swami, page 34


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