Shankaracharya Swami Brahmanand Saraswati - Guru Dev
Guru Dev - Shankaracharya Swami Brahmananda Saraswati

Damage caused in the beginning [of one's life] can be rectified,
but damage caused at the end [of one's life] cannot be corrected
translation by Premanand © Paul Mason 2021

Who gets to attain "paramgati", the 'Supreme goal'? Explaining this, Bhagwan says -

अन्तकाले च मामेव स्मरन्मुक्ता कलेवरम्  ८ - ५
यः प्रयाति त्यजन्देहम य याति पमाण गतिम्   ८ -१३

antakäle ca mämeva smaranmuktä kalevaram 8: 5

yaù prayäti tyajandehama ya yäti paramäà gatim 8:13
[Bhagavad Gita ch8:v5/v13]

that is to say, 'the one who in the end (at the hour of death), departs from the body remembering me, attains "paramgati" the Supreme goal.'
Make effort from now onwards such that your final time does not get spoiled. Only when you practice Bhagwan's worship from now onwards practice Bhagwan's worship, so that you will be able to contemplate thereof in your final moments. At this time, if your mind will be predominantly occupied by "samsari" actions, then even in your final time you will contemplate the same. Therefore, from right now, be cautious, that you remember Bhagwan observing "swadharma", performing personal duties in a righteous and proper manner.
Whatever happened in the beginning has already happened; but now strive to set your final time right because if a mistake occurs in the final time, it will result in a loss for up to many lifetimes. Damage caused in the beginning can be rectified, but damage caused in the end cannot be corrected. For this very reason remain alert from now onwards.

    1. The term 'aadi' in Sanskrit/Hindi means 'beginning', 'origin'. Here it refers to the early stages of life.
    2. The term 'ant' in Sanskrit/Hindi means 'end', 'completion', 'death'.
    3. The 'Supreme Goal' refers to the highest condition which is the merging of the soul with the Ultimate.
    4. Swadharma is that action which is in accordance with one's nature and duties.

We provide medicine and recommend the diet

'In order to attain peace and happiness in this “samsaara”, ‘earthly existence and rebirth’, and to obtain eternal release from “bhavrog”, ‘birth sickness’, in the form of birth and death, the medicine is; the service of Bhagwan, and the diet is:-

सदचर सद्दिचरपूर्वक स्वधर्मनुश्थन
“sadachara saddicharapuurvaka svadharmanushthana”
‘undertaking actions in accordance with one’s nature and duties in a righteous and proper manner’.

If medicine is taken but its diet is not followed, proper benefit cannot be obtained. To get full benefit from the medicine, observation of diet is necessary. Be certain that you have to depart from here (this world); hence, do not spend all your time in making arrangements and fulfilling responsibilities here. Perform the righteous tasks of which you are capable so that your mind does not become tarnished, and pass your time dedicated to Bhagwan.

If you will not maintain purity in your practical life, then whatever you will do to worship Bhagwan will also not be completely fruitful - the result will be the same as that which happens by observing an improper diet with the medication. This is why in our place, we provide medicine as well as explaining its appropriate diet. Just as in the case of the diet, when the process of performing actions according to Vedas and Shastras is neglected, then no “siddhi”, ‘perfection, accomplishment, success’ is accomplished. This is why, while alerting us, Bhagwan (Krishna) has said –
 यः शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य वर्तते कामकारतः।
न स सिद्धिमवाप्नोति न सुखं न परां गतिम्॥ १६-२३॥

“yah shaastravidhi mutsrijya vartate kaamakaratah.
na sa siddhi mavaapnoti na sukham na paraangatima..”

[Bhagavad Gita 16:23]

तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ।
ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि॥ १६-२४॥

“tasmaachchastram pramaanante kaaryaakaaryovyavasthitau..
gyaatvaa shaastravidhaanoktam karma kartu mihaarhasi..”

[Bhagavad Gita 16:24]

‘Whoever contravenes the knowledge of the Shastra, doing work according to free-will - that which is pleasing to the mind - they will not meet with complete success, not meet with happiness, nor will the final beatitude - moksha - be really gained. Therefore, for resolving which work is suitable and which work is unsuitable, you should accept the authority of the Shastra. Know the laws of Shastra as to which work is suitable.’
–  [translation of Guru Dev’s paraphrasing which is included in 'Amrit Kana']