REBIRTH IS PAINFUL

By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Prabhupada Distributing Prasadam

“Lord Rishabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one’s heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever.” [SB 5.5.1]

This human form of body is meant for rectifying or purifying our existence. That they do not know. Especially in the modern age! They do not know that this body is temporary and that we, the living entities, are eternal. This is our bondage. So long we are within this material body, we are under bondage. Real life is eternal life – without any birth, death, old age and disease. Where is that science? There is no such department of knowledge which teaches how one can live eternally without any disease, without any old age and without any death and without any birth.

If there is birth, there is death. And between the two, birth and death, there is old age and disease. Where is that scientist who is trying to solve this problem?

And Krishna put this problem before us: janma-mrtyu-jarā-vyādhi duhkha-dosānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9]: the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease. This is knowledge. They are making plans for so many things, but where is that plan to stop janma-mrtyu-jarā-vyādhi (birth-death-old age- disease)? That is not so easy. Therefore they have avoided it. They do not touch this point. They are making arrangement for temporary so-called happiness. But that attempt is done even by cats and dogs. That is not successful life.

Rebirth is very painful. But because we are mūdhas (fools), we have forgotten how painful rebirth is. We do not remember it. We had to pass through it. We can simply imagine how painful it is to remain in the womb of the mother, packed up in an airtight bag where you cannot even move your hands and legs. So these are the tribulations of taking birth. And similarly the tribulations of death! Sometimes one remains in coma for months and suffers so much. Sometimes he cries… tears actually come out. We cannot see, but within the body of the dying man there is so much pain. This is called janma-mrtyu (birth-death). And in an old man’s life, there are difficulties. And vyādhi – everyone is subjected to some kind of disease. So we do not take account.

So here Risabhadeva is stressing on this point. “My dear boys, do not spoil your life by living like cats and dogs.” Do not (indulge in sense gratification). This is not meant for this (human) life. This human form of life is meant for different purposes. Durlabham mānusam janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam. That we should always remember – that this human form of body is obtained after many, many births. Bahūnām janmanām ante [Bg. 7.19]. Bahu sambhavante. Sambhava means birth and death. So we should not forget this. Everyone should be very serious. That is civilization. Not that to remain busy for sense gratification, just like cats and dogs – fighting. This is not good.

So to achieve this highest goal of life, it requires tapasya (austerity). It is not easily obtainable. So therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has recommended, param vijāyate śrī-krishna-sankīrtanam. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has recommended not whimsically. This is the prescription of this age: kīrtanād eva krishnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet [SB 12.3.51].

If you perfectly chant this Hare Krishna mantra, kīrtanād eva krishnasya—not any other name but Krishna- then you can become free from this material association, or the contamination due to material contact (mukta-sangah). That is the special advantage of this age.

This age, Kali-yuga, is full of faulty things. Kaler dosa-nidhe. It is an ocean of faulty things. It is very, very difficult. A man is suffering from itches or sores all over the body. So where should he apply ointment? He should be dipped in the ointment. This is the position. Similarly, how much will you find out, “This is faulty, this is faulty, this is faulty.” The life in the Kali-yuga itself is faulty. Everything is faulty.

But still, Krishna is so kind. He has given an opportunity that simply by chanting His holy name one can become free from this faulty position. Kīrtanād eva krishnasya mukta-sanga param vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. It is possible.

[An excerpt from a lecture given on the Srimad Bhagavatam (5.5.1) on October 23, 1976 in Vrindavan, India]

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