Human Body-A Rare Opportunity

No living entity can exist without doing work. The objective of work is the very basis of our life. Without work, of some sort, life becomes a burden. There can be two objectives of performing work. The objectives are

(1) To get freedom from problems or sorrows.

(2) To attain happiness.

However the reality of everyday life is that we continue to be unhappy although we perform work to attain happiness in an attempt to free ourselves from sorrow. Even when we are smiling, the sorrows of our hearts continue to trouble us all the time. Yet, we do not stop performing work. The activities of the world go on unabatedly, although the sorrow continues, in the hope that someday, unhappiness shall come to an end. Unfortunately that day shall never come since we are looking for happiness at the wrong place and are applying the wrong means. The fact of the matter is that no living entity can exist without performing work even for a moment. Even if one is sleeping, work goes on in the form of dreams. The breathing happens involuntarily. This means that activities shall be done by the body or the mind; either voluntarily or involuntarily. The summary of Vedic understanding is that man is only striving for the attainment of Ananda, spiritual happiness. That means that if spiritual happiness is attained, one will be relieved of sorrows automatically. When there is knowledge, automatically one shall be relieved of ignorance. One experiences “false” happiness or a shadow of the true spiritual happiness when one is in deep sleep, in the dreamless state, the Sushupti (सुषुप्ति) state. This state is only realized after one wakes up, but is not cognizable in the sleeping dreamless state. It is the memory of the state that is realized on waking. However in this state happiness is not attained, although all worries had been forgotten. This was because the mind was in abeyance in the dreamless sleep state. This is the same experience when one is unconscious. The end of sorrows does not automatically imply that one shall receive happiness, however the converse is true. The happiness of the world can never be considered as true happiness; it is happiness born out of matter, a semblance of happiness born out of our ignorance. That is the reason why, on attaining worldly happiness, sorrow continues to stay. Hence the most important task for man, is to get rid of ignorance which is the primary motivation for man to look for happiness in the material world. It should therefore be understood that the root of all suffering is ignorance alone.

The Vedas warn man that unless ignorance is removed, having attained the rare human body, no other body in creation is capable of attaining knowledge, following the removal of ignorance. So this rare opportunity of removing the beginningless ignorance should not be wasted. If this opportunity is wasted, the living entity shall continue to re-incarnate in 8.4 million species with no respite from sorrow. Even the celestial beings or Devatas hanker for the human body because only human body has the capacity to perform activities and work for attainment of happiness. All other bodies are meant only to suffer or enjoy the fruits of their work which they would have performed in an earlier human birth. The celestials’ bodies are meant for enjoyment, yet they cannot attain spiritual happiness. The lower beings like ghosts, goblins, insects, worms, birds etc undergo sorrow and suffering, with no scope for either enjoyment or happiness. The human beings undergo both enjoyment and sorrows but they are given an additional capability of performing motivated work by which they can strive for spiritual happiness or redemption. Once the opportunity of the human birth is lost, many millions of Kalpas (कल्प) pass on, but one is not guaranteed of the next time, when one shall receive the human body. One Kalpa is a period of 4.32 billion years, which also represents 12 hours that constitute the day of Lord Brahma.  Scriptures such as the Ramcharita Manas and the Srimad Bhagavatham exhort this truth that “A person is a slayer of his own soul, who, having attained the rarest of the rare human body, does not strive through spiritual practice and guidance to end ignorance.”

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2 thoughts on “Human Body-A Rare Opportunity

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  1. I have been moved by this article.

    I have a question. Is reincarnation in a lower form possible? For example since as you’ve mentioned the human body is the apex in this reality, can one incarnate as a lower form? I thought we pass through all the other forms first before getting to the human body.

    The concept of kalpa period is very interesting. Especially the 4.32 billion years in comparison to the 12 hours. Where does the soul go for all this time? Other forms of bodies in other realities? Still learning and collecting experiences?

    The numbers mentioned are also of much interest. I’ve heard before that most humans have exited for 84 cycles. Might this be the same as the 8.4 million species that we have to experience first? And 432 as our natural frequencies when grounded.

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Yes, re-incarnation is possible, very much, in lower forms, although one has reached the human form. Going back to 8.4 million is a big possibility according to the Vedic scriptures and the direct realization of elevated sages. The logic is like this

      If I am a human being, and I am attached to eating, eating from morning to night. I think of food all the time and I take the first opportunity to grab at food and talk to friends about food. Now each category of animals has been described in detailed in vedic Scriptures. Now, based on your understanding when I am interested in food, like this, which animal am I reminded about?…. Think…
      Its of course the “hog”. This is the most striking feature of my life, the very basis of my life. But this human body is not meant for eating, mating and sleeping. So a glutton shall obviously re-incarnate as a hog, so say the scriptures. This is done with a good intention by Nature. We have been given this human body as Grace, as blessing. But if this life is wasted after food, Nature is kind. She says this body is wasted, so She gives you another body , where you enjoy “food”, you eat so much, so much more that you become fed up. In your prior-previous life-time before you became human, by arrangement of Nature, you could not enjoy food, during the natural course of evolution. You then became human; in that birth, Nature found out that you still are interested in food. The hog’s life is suited for eating voraciously. As a human if you eat too much you may get sick, but as a hog, you need not worry about health..the more you eat “whatever”, the better you “enjoy”. Similarly humans overtly engaged with sex, take bodies of monkeys. Ladies you like to show their bodies, are reborn as trees, so that they get “fed” up, standing at the same place naked!! and so on. Almost all species find such descriptions in Puranas.

      The soul is busy transmigrating all the time. With every tiny emotion, you have a body. For 4.32 billion years you transmigrate through 8.4 million bodies. However when the living entity enters final maturity after going around for millions of Kalpas, intelligence is attained. That is why you may find many elevated people who are not particularly spiritual, but are concerned with knowledge and do not simply get engaged in just eating, mating, sleeping and defending. Out of the 8.4 million species there are about 3 million lower species like ghosts, goblins etc who get that body because of excessive desire, people who committ suicide and so one, where the suffering is many million times severe than that experienced by humans. Then there are about 1 to 2 million species of the higher planetary systems which science can perhaps never discover, the higher vibratory realms where the enjoyment is many many millions of times higher than what the richest man of earth can ever imagine.
      Until people realize that the goal of life is neither to go to these upper subtle realms of enjoyment nor try to settle on earth, they go on cycling between the higher realms and earth without rest. This is where the concept of liberation comes into being, a dimension of no return. This can be attained only on the earth plane when one gets the rare opportunity of becoming human. Of course the higher planetary subtle systems of the Devatas etc are pleasurable but they do not constitute to “eternal happiness”, they do not guarentee joy “forever”. Hence based on good Karma , a man of higher recknoning stays for say 70 years on earth and transmigrates a billion times in the higher realms, which Vedic scriptures call as “unfortunate”. The life span of Devatas is many many millions of years and the life span of Devatas can be a few 100 Kalpas, before one gets an opportunity to come down to earth. many of the successful people, may do good, but do not aim for liberation and hence they go up and down for several million cycles and never reach to a point of liberation. Liberation becomes the desire of the heart only by the grace of a true sage, who is already liberated and “appears” on the earthly plane by the will of the Lord. Such a person remains liberated forever and is never born or dies like so-called ordinary individuals

      Yes the third paragraph is right and correctly understood, but reading the above you may get the fair picture of what I am trying to convey.

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