In Bhagavad-gītā 8.6 it is said:
yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail.
This is a very good śloka. You should try to see the meaning and purport in the Gītā. Those who are dying like Bharata Mahārāja—who was thinking about a deer and who subsequently became a deer—exemplify this śloka. If we always chant Kṛṣṇa’s names and think about Kṛṣṇa, Vṛndāvana, the gopīs and gopas, Nanda, Yaśodā, and the sakhās like Subala, Śrīdāma, and Madhumaṅgala—if we are always thinking about them, then why won’t we become like them? Like the gopas and gopīs? If, by remembering a deer, Bharata Mahārāja became a deer, then why won’t we be like the gopas and gopīs if we are always thinking about them? Surely it will be. This remembering is called aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā. We don’t know all these things, but we think of ourselves as uttamā, uttamā-mahottamā Vaiṣṇava. We should try to realize that we are nothing; we should think that we have not even reached the platform of a kaniṣṭha Vaiṣṇava.
July 16, 1996 New Jersey