Five Candidates For The Most Amazing Thing

[Maharaja Yudhishthira]“Day after day countless living entities in this world go to the kingdom of death. Still, those who remain aspire for a permanent situation here. What could be more amazing than this?” (Maharaja Yudhishthira speaking to Yamaraja, Mahabharata, Vana-parva, 313.116)

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अहन्य् अहनि भूतानि
गच्छन्तीह यमालयम्
शेषाः स्थावरम् इच्छन्ति
किम् आश्चर्यम् अतः परम्

ahany ahani bhūtāni
gacchantīha yamālayam
śeṣāḥ sthāvaram icchanti
kim āścaryam ataḥ param

1. Childbirth

“Everyone knew it was coming. It wasn’t like the woman’s stomach started hurting from out of nowhere and she rushed to the hospital to see what was going on. Pregnancy is a process, but one that occurs mostly out of sight. Behind a veil, so to speak, but everyone has a pretty good idea what the end result will be.

“No matter the expectations, it is always a miracle. A brand new life. A real person, ready to be your friend, your dependent, your only focus throughout the day. This must be the most amazing thing in the world. Everyone has the same origin; we seemingly came from nothing, but today we are certainly something.”

2. The rising of the sun

[sunrise]“It doesn’t matter the time of year. The weather is not a factor, either. No matter the good or the bad, the sun will always rise in the morning. It is a beautiful sight to behold. The great luminous body ready to dissipate the darkness. Without the sun we wouldn’t survive for long. It is this great miracle in the sky, and it requires no outside intervention. The sun is self-sustaining, and it has yet to burn out.”

3. Commuters on the morning train

“I don’t think there is any other way to accomplish the same. Try finding thousands of people, giving them money, and asking them to appear in one place. The destination appointment repeats. Day after day, the same location. Everyone trying to get into the train, no matter how packed or empty it is.

“This is a natural phenomenon, seen in cities across the world. The root cause is artha, which is the Sanskrit word for profit. Everyone is trying to meet a personal interest, and one way to do it is to travel to a metropolitan area and earn a living as a professional.”

4. Natural wonders

“Waterfalls. Large canyons. Expansive desert areas. Picturesque meadows. Man could never create such beautiful visions. It is beyond the artistic ability. Someone with a higher level of intelligence has to be responsible. If you visit these places in person, you will quickly lose any confidence you had in the theory of atheism.”

5. Someone thinking that they will never die

This is the answer from shastra. In the scriptural tradition known as the Vedas, there is one section where a famous king remarks on what he thinks is the most amazing thing. The premise is that everyone in the past has died. We know this because they are no longer with us. We trust that they existed based on documented evidence and the eyewitness testimony of others.

Despite it being well-established that others have passed on, we somehow think the same will never happen to us. Perhaps we make the acknowledgment every now and then, but day-to-day life is not altered. We act as if we can stay in this place permanently.

Yudhishthira Maharaja considers this to be amazing because the human being is otherwise intelligent. They are considered the topmost species for this reason. Constant acknowledgment of eventual death is not meant to be a source of misery. Rather, from that knowledge I can better direct my daily activities.

[Maharaja Yudhishthira]In other words, work for the highest purpose, one that will be fulfilled in this lifetime and have an influence moving forward. While every person is destined to die, the living force can never be extinguished. I will eventually move on to someplace else.

भक्त्या माम् अभिजानाति
यावान् यश् चास्मि तत्त्वतः
ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा
विशते तद्-अनन्तरम्

bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
viśate tad-anantaram

“One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.55)

With dedication to spiritual life, I can influence the travel for my benefit. Paramartha is the long-term interest, and through connecting with the Vedic tradition and understanding the source behind the material and spiritual natures, my consciousness can be purified to the point that I will never have to return to the land of birth and death. I will receive the most amazing benediction of constant companionship with the all-attractive one.

In Closing:

Birth of child amazing to see,
Out of nowhere a person to be.

Daily into commuter trains packing,
And issues of corporate world attacking.

Most amazing that thinking here to stay,
When others seen to have gone away.

Better the long-term foundation to build,
That destiny by Krishna fulfilled.

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