There are over 8.4 million species (as per science and scriptures) in the world. Out of all of the species, it is only in Human life, that one can reach liberation. It is a rare privilege to be in the human body.
Statistically, your chance of being born in Human life is 1 in 8.4 million (84 lakhs), which translates to 0.00001%. Such a rare life and such a precious gem. What are we doing in this birth?
Even devas, angels cannot attain liberation, with their bodies, and birth, and they may live in the heavens, but the ultimate liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and merger with the absolute Brahman is possible only in Human life. This isn’t a statement of superiority, vs other species, but when it comes to liberation, this is the only gateway.
This birth is the doorway to liberation and we are so close to ultimate freedom, but do we realize that? Are we utilizing the body for the right purpose?
Adi Shankaracharya in his text Vivekchudamani says, for all beings, it is rare to be born in Human Body, and rarer is to be born in the Male body (as it is easier to take up the path socially, and this is not a discriminatory statement or any comparison), and even rarer is to be a Brahmin (one who is by conduct, and not by caste), and even rarer is one who is dedicated to the dharma marga, and even rarer is one who studies the Shastras, even rarer is one who possesses Viveka (power to differentiate between temporary and permanent). (verse 2/v2)
Three things are very rarer and only possible with the grace of God (v3)
1. Human Birth & Human Body
2. A desire for Liberation = Also known as Mukmukshatvam (मुमुक्षुत्वं )
3. Guidance of Perfect Sage/Guru = Mahapurusham Sanshray (महापुरुषसंश्रयः)
Bhagavad Gita also states (v7.3) – Amongst thousands of persons, hardly one strives for self-realization/perfection; and amongst those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.
What greater fool is there than the man who had obtained a rare human body, neglecting to achieve the real purpose of life? Such a person who is clinging to things unreal, and not exerting himself for self-liberation is committing suicide. (v4,5)
There is no liberation without the realization of one’s identity with Brahman, not even in 100 Brahma lifetimes. (v6)
So, if you are reading this, that means you have all of these in some measure or completely. We have the guidance of Swami ji, and some/a lot of desire for liberation. What more can we ask for? Let us now walk the path with dedication.
This liberation is attained through the well-earned merits of several lifetimes and through the grace of God.
This is not a judgment on worldly life, but a time to introspect and observe the things we are investing our energy in. Worldly life, and riches, driven by senses, cant fulfill our soul and we will remain incomplete, till we follow the path of Truth/Permanence.
Some candid thoughts by Adi Shankaracharya. It is for each of us to introspect, what is that we are doing to walk on the path, and how rare the current moment is
Do share your thoughts in the comments.
Vivekachudamani is a Prakaran grant, a focussed text on Advaita Vedanta. The title means – Viveka (Discrimination) is the crown jewel. It shows the key attribute of seeker starts with the development of Viveka (ability to differentiate in permanent and temporary), and opting for permanent.
Verses from Vivekachudamani in Sanskrit referenced here
जन्तूनां नरजन्म दुर्लभमतः पुंस्त्वं ततो विप्रता
आत्मानात्मविवेचनं स्वनुभवो ब्रह्मात्मना संस्थिति
र्मुक्तिर्नो शतकोटिजन्मसु कृतैः पुण्यैर्विना लभ्यते।।2।।
मनुष्यत्वं मुमुक्षुत्वं महापुरुषसंश्रयः।।3।।
लब्ध्वा कथंचिन्नरजन्म दुर्लभं
तत्रापि पुंस्त्वं श्रुतिपारदर्शनम्।
यः स्वात्ममुक्त्यै न यतेत मूढधीः
स आत्महा स्वं विनिहन्त्यसद्ग्रहात्।।4।।
पठन्तु शास्त्राणि यजन्तु देवा
न्कुर्वन्तु कर्माणि भजन्तु देवताः।
इतः को न्वस्ति मूढात्मा यस्तु स्वार्थे प्रमाद्यति।
दुर्लभं मानुषं देहं प्राप्य तत्रापि पौरुषम्।।5।।
आत्मैक्यबोधेन विना विमुक्ति
र्न सिध्यति ब्रह्मशतान्तरेऽपि।।6।।
Navneet ji shared –
This reminded me of Shabad written by Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1563 ~ 1606) in Raag Gauri in SGGS – Page-176.
ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਭਏ ਕੀਟ ਪਤੰਗਾ ॥
Kee Janam Bheae Keett Pathanga ||
कई जनम भए कीट पतंगा ॥
In so many incarnations, you were a worm and an insect;
ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਗਜ ਮੀਨ ਕੁਰੰਗਾ ॥
Kee Janam Gaj Meen Kuranga ||
कई जनम गज मीन कुरंगा ॥
In so many incarnations, you were an elephant, a fish and a deer.
ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਪੰਖੀ ਸਰਪ ਹੋਇਓ ॥
Kee Janam Pankhee Sarap Hoeiou ||
कई जनम पंखी सरप होइओ ॥
In so many incarnations, you were a bird and a snake.
ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਹੈਵਰ ਬ੍ਰਿਖ ਜੋਇਓ.
Kee Janam Haivar Brikh Joeiou.
कई जनम हैवर ब्रिख जोइओ.
In so many incarnations, you were yoked as an ox and a horse. ||1||
ਮਿਲੁ ਜਗਦੀਸ ਮਿਲਨ ਕੀ ਬਰੀਆ
Mil Jagadhees Milan Kee Bareea.
मिलु जगदीस मिलन की बरीआ ॥ Meet the Lord of the Universe – now is the time to meet Him.
ਚਿਰੰਕਾਲ ਇਹ ਦੇਹ ਸੰਜਰੀਆ
Chirankal Eih Dhaeh Sanjareea.
चिरंकाल इह देह संजरीआ ॥१॥
After so very long, this human body was fashioned for you.
ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਸੈਲ ਗਿਰਿ ਕਰਿਆ ॥
Kee Janam Sail Gir Karia || कई जनम सैल गिरि करिआ ॥
In so many incarnations, you were rocks and mountains;
ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਗਰਭ ਹਿਰਿ ਖਰਿਆ ॥ Kee Janam Garabh Hir Kharia ||
कई जनम गरभ हिरि खरिआ ॥
In so many incarnations, you were aborted in the womb;
ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਸਾਖ ਕਰਿ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥ Kee Janam Sakh Kar Oupaeia ||
कई जनम साख करि उपाइआ ॥
In so many incarnations, you developed branches and leaves;
ਲਖ ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਜੋਨਿ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਇਆ ॥੨॥ Lakh Chouraseeh Jon Bhramaeia ||2||
लख चउरासीह जोनि भ्रमाइआ ॥२॥ You wandered through 8.4 million incarnations. ||2||
ਸਾਧਸੰਗਿ ਭਇਓ ਜਨਮੁ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ॥ Sadhhasang Bhaeiou Janam Parapath
साधसंगि भइओ जनमु परापति ॥ Through the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, you obtained this human life.
ਕਰਿ ਸੇਵਾ ਭਜੁ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ॥ Kar Saeva Bhaj Har Har Guramath ||
करि सेवा भजु हरि हरि गुरमति ॥
Do seva – selfless service; follow the Guru’s Teachings, and vibrate the Lord’s Name, Har, Har.
ਤਿਆਗਿ ਮਾਨੁ ਝੂਠੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ Thiag Man Jhooth Abhiman
तिआगि मानु झूठु अभिमानु ॥ Abandon pride, falsehood and arrogance.
ਜੀਵਤ ਮਰਹਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਰਵਾਨੁ ॥੩॥ Jeevath Marehi Dharageh Paravan ||3||
जीवत मरहि दरगह परवानु ॥३॥ Remain dead while yet alive, and you shall be welcomed in the Court of the Lord. ||3||
ਜੋ ਕਿਛੁ ਹੋਆ ਸੁ ਤੁਝ ਤੇ ਹੋਗੁ ॥
Jo Kishh Hoa S Thujh Thae Hog
जो किछु होआ सु तुझ ते होगु ॥ Whatever has been, and whatever shall be, comes from You, Lord.
ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਦੂਜਾ ਕਰਣੈ ਜੋਗੁ ॥
Avar N Dhooja Karanai Jog
अवरु न दूजा करणै जोगु ॥
No one else can do anything at all.
ਤਾ ਮਿਲੀਐ ਜਾ ਲੈਹਿ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥
Tha Mileeai Ja Laihi Milae || ता मिलीऐ जा लैहि मिलाइ ॥
We are united with You, when You unite us with Yourself.
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇ ॥
Kahu Naanak Har Har Gun Gae ||
कहु नानक हरि हरि गुण गाइ
Says Nanak, sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord, Har, Har.