Do not Waste the Gift of Human Life

Sri adi shankaracharya says in his ‘vivekachudamani’: “three things are difficult to the grace of the divine: human birth, desire for liberation and guidance and protection of a spiritually enlightened person.”
Most people believe in the existence of god, and also in the presence of soul (soul) in every living entity. Yet not many consider it necessary to inquire into and understand the nature of god or of the soul. They pay perfunctory obeisance to god and occasionally seek mundane material favours from him. They are quite content to go through life, with its fleeting pleasures and not-so-fleeting miseries of life: eating,sleeping,mating and defending. Finally, time (kala) overtakes them and they succumb to death, without having realised the true value of human life.
There are two sides of human life:the material which concerns the body,the mind and nature;and the spiritual which concerns the soul and god and the relationship between the two.
A majority of people spend their entire lives catering only to the needs of body and mind.The most compelling of these needs is to please the sense(kama),for which one needs wealth(artha).To obtain sufficient wealth,many are persuaded to procure it by any means,fair or foul.vedanta does not deny man the enjoyment of sense pleasures or the necessity of earning money.Infact, vedanta accepts mans requirement for both and has included them in the four purusharthas(pursuits or objectives)prescribed for him: dharma(code of values),artha(wealth),kama(sense pleasures) and moksa(liberation).
Vedanta however,cautions us not to chase kama and artha indiscriminately and recommends that these two pursuits are tempered by dharma.Dharma is thus placed before kama and artha as it regulates the two.These three purusharthas are called trivarga and they serve man’s material quest.
Moksa,the fourth pursuit is seperate from the trivarga,because it is a spiritual quest.For moksa, knowledge and realisation of the soul is a prerequisite.Sadly,however,we completely neglect the obligation to understand the soul.Although several questions plague our minds,we do not try and search for answers.What is the nature of god? And of the soul?What is the relationship between the two? What happens after death?How does the soul transmigrate from one body to another?Are there heaven and hell?What is the purpose of life?
Vedanta holds that human birth is rare and,therefore,precious and it should jot be wasted.The Shrimad bhagavatam states,” having obtain, after many birth and deaths,this rare human body,though ephemeral,affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection.Thus,the wise and heroic human being should earnestly strive for the ultimate perfection of life before death overtakes him.Afterall,sense pleasures are available even through the bodies of other life species.
Man is graced with a unique nature. He us distinct from and far superior to all other life forms. He is undowed with a highly developed conciousness and abundant intelligence coupled with the ability to discriminate.Vedanta considers the discriminate faculty in human being,when not under the sway of his sensory urges, to be truely unique. But man fails to manifest his unique nature because the animal tendencies in him are overpowering.
The rarity and usefulness of the human body is once again highlighted,this time by lord krishna himself,during his last discourse with his friend and devotee, Udhava, in the Shrimad bhagavatam.”The human body is rare and available by one’s good fortune.It is a most suitably built ship, which,when captained by a competent guru and favored by the wind of god grace can be used to cross the ocean of samsara.If a man fails to utilize all these favorable conditions,he should be called a killer of his own spiritual self.

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