tatas ca vah prcchyam imam viprcche
visrabhya vipra iti krtyatayam
sarvatmana mriyamanais ca krtyam
suddham ca tatramrsatabhiyuktah
tatah—as such; ca—and; vah—unto you; prcchyam—that which is to be asked; imam—this; viprcche—beg to ask you; visrabhya—trustworthy; viprah—brahmanas; iti—thus; krtyatayam—out of all different duties; sarva-atmana—by everyone; mriyamanaih—especially those who are just about to die; ca—and; krtyam—dutiful; suddham—perfectly correct; ca—and; tatra—therein; amrsata—by complete deliberation; abhiyuktah—just befitting.
O trustworthy brahmanas, I now ask you about my immediate duty. Please, after proper deliberation, tell me of the unalloyed duty of everyone in all circumstances, and specifically of those who are just about to die.
In this verse the King has placed two questions before the learned sages. The first question is what is the duty of everyone in all circumstances, and the second question is what is the specific duty of one who is to die very shortly. Out of the two, the question relating to the dying man is most important because everyone is a dying man, either very shortly or after one hundred years. The duration of life is immaterial, but the duty of a dying man is very important. Maharaja Pariksit placed these two questions before Sukadeva Gosvami also on his arrival, and practically the whole of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, beginning from the Second Canto up to the last Twelfth Canto, deals with these two questions. The conclusion arrived at thereof is that devotional service of the Lord Sri Krsna, as it is confirmed by the Lord Himself in the last phases of the Bhagavad-gita, is the last word in relation to everyone's permanent duty in life. Maharaja Pariksit was already aware of this fact, but he wanted the great sages assembled there to unanimously give their verdict on his conviction so that he might be able to go on with his confirmed duty without controversy. He has especially mentioned the word suddha, or perfectly correct. For transcendental realization or self-realization, many processes are recommended by various classes of philosophers. Some of them are first-class methods, and some of them are second- or third-class methods. The first-class method demands that one give up all other methods and surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord and thus be saved from all sins and their reactions.
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