Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 2: Chapter 1: Verses 1-14
The process of meditation and the cosmic form of the Lord described Sri Suka replied : This enquiry of yours, made with a view to the good of the world, 0 king, is most welcome. It is esteemed by the knowers of the Self and is the most important of all that is worth hearing, remembering or chanting. There are thousands of things worth hearing and attending to, O ruler of kings, for men who are attached to their home and engaged in performing the five great sacrifices enjoined on the householders, and are blind to the truth of the Self. Their span of life, O king, is stolen away at night by sleep or by copulation, and in the day-time by endeavours to make money or to provide for the family. Maddened by affection for those that are intimately connected with oneself, viz., one's body, progeny, wife and so on, unreal as they are, one fails to visualize their end, though actually witnessing it. Therefore, 0 descendant of Bharata, he who seeks to attain the fearless state (of Moksa) should listen to, recite and dwell on the stories of the almighty Lord Sri Hari, the Soul of the universe. To be put in mind of Sri Narayana at the last moment (of one's life)that alone is the supreme reward of human birth, howsoever this may be earned through Self-Knowledge or Devotion or even through steadfastness to one's sacred duty. Even ascetics, O king, that are established in the Absolute and have reached beyond the sphere of injunctions and inhibitions generally delight in discoursing on the virtues of Sri Hari. This Purana, which is known by the name of Bhagavata and is as sacred as the Vedas, I studied towards the end of the Dwapara age, from my father, the sage Dwaipayana (Vyasa). Fully established as I was in the Absolute, my heart was captivated by the pastimes of Lord Sri Krsna of excellent renown. That is how I studied this Purana, O royal sage. You being a votary of Lord Visnu, I shall recite the selfsame Purana to you; for the mind of those who repose their faith in this Purana quickly conceives disinterested love for Sri Krsna (the Bestower of Liberation). For those who have developed an aversion for this world and seek to attain the fearless state, as well as for realized souls that have attained union with God, O king, the chanting of Sri Hari's names has been concluded to be the best means as well as the end. To a man who is negligent about his own interests, of what use in this world are long years of life that slip away unnoticed (are spent in ignorance) ? Much more valuable is the hour, consciously spent, in endeavouring for the highest good. Having come to know that he was to live only an hour more, the royal sage Khatwanga renounced everything in that short space of time, and sought refuge with Sri Hari, who dispels all fear. The limit of your life, O descendant of Kuru, is yet seven days from now. Meanwhile accomplish all that is conducive to your welfare hereafter. When the hour of death comes, man should shake off all fear and cut with the sword of non-attachment the tie of affection for his body as well as for those that are connected with it.