anta-kale ca mam eva
smaran muktva kalevaram
yah prayati sa mad-bhavam
yati nasty atra samsayah
And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
Commentary by Srila Prabhupada
In this verse the importance of Krishna consciousness is stressed. Anyone who quits his body in Krishna consciousness is at once transferred to the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is the purest of the pure. Therefore anyone who is constantly Krishna conscious is also the purest of the pure. The word smaran (“remembering”) is important. Remembrance of Krishna is not possible for the impure soul who has not practiced Krishna consciousness in devotional service. Therefore one should practice Krishna consciousness from the very beginning of life. If one wants to achieve success at the end of his life, the process of remembering Krishna is essential. Therefore one should constantly, incessantly chant the maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Lord Caitanya has advised that one be as tolerant as a tree (taror iva sahisnuna). There may be so many impediments for a person who is chanting Hare Krishna. Nonetheless, tolerating all these impediments, one should continue to chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, so that at the end of one’s life one can have the full benefit of Krishna consciousness.
Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur
This verse answers the question “How are you to be known at the time of death?” Smaran means remembering me, knowing me in truth, not like knowing pots or cloth. The method of knowing or remembering the Lord is now explained in fourteen verses.