Are you living your life 100%? Or are you just in existence mode?
Have you ever asked yourself why God has bestowed and gratify our sensual desires; not eat, drink and be merry; nor even to while away our days till death comes calling.
The message that Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani gives us in this book is: You can change your life for the better! In this volume are gathered together Rev. Dada’s profound, yet practical reflections on the meaning, the value and the purpose of this human birth.
Step by step, Rev. Dada takes us on the path – starting with the worth and the significance of this human birth; the goal we should aspire to achieve; followed by practical suggestions on how we may fulfill the purpose for which God intended us to take birth upon this earth, to live a life that is well spent, and great blessing to us and others.
Fulfill your true Destiny by accompanying Rev. Dada on this fascinating journey Godward!
Sri Adi Shankara, the great spiritual genius of ancient India, tells us in one of his memorable works:
Jantunaam narajanma durlabham.
It is hard for any living creature to achieve birth ill a human form.
It is said that upon being asked what are the three greatest blessings of this world, Sri Shankara replied:
1.) To be born as a human being.
2.) To have mumukshatwa, the longing for liberation, the longing for mukti, the yearning for emancipation from the circle of birth-life-death-rebirth.
3.) To be in contact with a tatvadarshana - someone who has beheld God face to face, to whom God is the greatest reality of life.
In the Hindi language the same idea is expressed forcefully, yet simply: Manush janam durlabh hai hot na baron bar.
Are you utilising this great gift of the human birth to its fullest potential, or are you living life on the surface, breathing, passing time, just existing?
Millions of species live upon this planet earth. There are micro organisms, unicellular organisms, insects, worms, flies and hundreds of other creatures of whose existence most of us are unaware. But the crown of creation, the highest species on earth is homo sapiens, the human being. Man is at the top of the evolutionary ladder.
This great gift of the human birth is bestowed on all of us - billions after billions of human beings, down the ages - but how many of us have realised its value? How many of us are living life 100% - as God intended us to live?
The ancient Hindu scriptures tell us that there are thousands upon thousands of beings, including devas, demigods, insects, worms, flies, beasts and birds that God has created in this vast universe, one speck of which is this planet that we human beings call our home. There are in all, 8.4 billion life forms that a soul may enter at the end of any life cycle. In other words, each one of us has an approximate .00001 % chance of receiving a human form again in our next lifetime!
Of all these creatures, it is only humans who are given the opportunity for Liberation or mukti from the circle of birth, death and rebirth. It is believed that one is born as a human being only when one has performed good karma in overwhelming measure in one's previous birth - in other words, one must have a credit balance of good karma to be blessed with this human birth.
This is why our saints and sages emphasise the inestimable, invaluable attainment that is human life. According to the Garuda Purana "The supreme knowledge of God can only be attained in a human form of life". ''You have been blessed with a human birth, which is difficult to attain" Adi Shankara tells us. "Don't waste the precious moments of your life in pursuit of sensual pleasures." Tulsidas too emphasises the same truth: "This human body is the gateway leading to liberation. Having attained it, you must strive to take care of your spiritual progress."
The question is: are we doing justice to this priceless gift that God has bestowed on us?
There is a story told to us of a man who decided to go fishing very early one morning. He settled himself comfortably on a grassy slope on the bank of a stream and cast his fishing line into the still, dark waters. His feet hit upon an object, and he pulled it from beneath his feet to find that it was a bag filled with stones. Sitting alone in the darkness, he took out one stone after another from the bag and threw it into the stream, to while away the time as he waited for the fish to bite. When dawn broke, he was holding the last stone in his hand, and he glanced at it idly before throwing it away. Imagine his shock, when he saw that the stone was actually a large, shining diamond! In his unthinking, unknowing ignorance, he had thrown several of those precious gems away in sheer carelessness!
You, dear friends, who hold this little book of mine in your hands, how old are you today? 20? 30? 40? Let us say, n years old. Would you agree with me if I told you that you too have wasted, thrown away n X 365 X 24 X 60 X 60 precious moments, each one of them more valuable than a diamond?
I have said to myself repeatedly "Man's tragedy is that he thinks he has plenty of time!"
Our ancient philosopher, Bhartrihari, tells us harshly, but truthfully: "People who, despite taking this human birth, do not engage in study, do not perform penance or charity, do not imbibe knowledge, do not adhere to dharma, nor imbibe virtues such as courage, patience and piety - such people are no better than animals."
Animals eat, sleep, mate, fear for their safety and life- and kill or forage for food. As human beings, are we doing anything more than our brother beasts? Of course we make money; but you would surely realise that I did not refer to that difference!
What is man's life expectancy? Most of us would be gratified to be centenarians: but again, as Bhartrihari points out:
A man lives long who lives a hundred years:
Yet half is sleep, and half the rest again
Old age and childhood. For the rest, a man
Lives close companion to disease and tears,
Away from loved ones, working for other men.
Where can joy find a space in this short span?
Have you ever asked yourself the question: What am I? Many of us identify ourselves with our bodies. Let me recall for you, the words of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: "Arjuna!" says the Lord to his dear, devoted disciple, "Remember, you are not the body you have worn!" The body is but a garment you have worn. You are something else. You are the wearer of the garment. But you identify yourself with your body, your physical form- and this is the root of all sin. Man, as our ancient scriptures have taught us, is a composite of body, mind and soul. This, in essence, is the eastern concept of being. Man is essentially a soul, who has worn a body, and brought with himself the instrument of the mind, to be able to do his work on this earth plane.
However, the western view is different. In the west they believe that man is a body - with a mind and soul in it. The emphasis here is on the body, while the eastern view emphasises the soul. I only wish to remind you of this great truth - each one of you is essentially an immortal soul. You are not the bodies with which you have identified yourselves, you are essentially souls. Each one of you is that at man, the spirit that can never die. But alas, we identify ourselves with the bodies we wear - and therefore we do not live happy, healthy, harmonious and purposeful lives!
May I say to you, living life at the physical, material level is not true living - it is just existing!
The story goes that a hardworking man died and went to Heaven. When he met his Maker face to face, he asked Him outright, "Lord, what is the idea of making men old? Why do you take away our physical gifts one after the other - our strength, our stamina, our speed, our agility - until we are left in a frail and decaying body?"
And the Lord replies, "Dear Child, ageing is not a curse - it is a gift that I have bestowed upon you, so you may become mature and wise, realise that you are not the body, that you do not belong to this world, but to ME, your Heavenly Father!"
The message of this story is indeed beautiful! The proverb says, "What I gave, I got; what I lost, I gained." We lose childhood to gain youth. We lose youth to gain adulthood. At every stage of life, we lose to gain! Since time passes out of our lives like running water, let us lose years to gain insight and wisdom! Let us realise that the goal of this worldly life is to lose all that is physical and material to gain the lasting bliss of the soul!
Brahma Sutras (81)
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