“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.27)
जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्
ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च
तस्माद् अपरिहार्ये ऽर्थे
न त्वं शोचितुम् अर्हसि
jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ‘rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi
1. Waking up in the morning
“I want to sleep for at least a week straight. Serious. What is out there for me? Under the covers, with the fan running, I don’t even hear the outside world. Near complete sensory deprivation. I don’t need to eat anything; that only causes more problems.
“If I get up, I know that I will be attacked with one issue after another. I will become so exhausted throughout the day that I will long for the return to where I am currently: the bed. There is no point in waking up; I swear.”
2. Feeding yourself on time
“You receive conflicting advice. One group says to eat on a regular basis, in a timely manner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, at a minimum. Maintain control over portions. Skipping meals is when you start to overcompensate, leading to health issues.
“An emerging group gaining in popularity says the opposite. Fast on an intermittent basis. Consume all of your calories for the day within a specific window of time. A few hours, at most, and the rest of the time give your digestive system a break.
“I can do better than both groups. Just forget eating. Don’t even think about it. If you are super hungry, go grab something, but otherwise don’t pay it any attention. What is the point, anyway?”
3. Getting an education during youth
“For the twelve plus years that I spent in school, there was not a single day that I enjoyed going. I never looked forward to school. This was my sentiment dating back to the pre-school era. I specifically remember negotiating with my mom to allow me to stay home one day. It so happened that someone from the school later knocked on our front door.
“I thought I was in trouble, for sure, but it turns out that there were horses visiting the school that day and they wanted to know if I would like to see them. Meet the horses, climb onto them, dress up, and take pictures. It was a memorable experience, especially since I had intentionally skipped school.
“When we reach adulthood, how much of what we have learned actually applies to daily life? Many people would contend that very little does. Therefore, what is the point of it? Why not learn through example and life struggles, instead?”
4. Taking care of people who need help
“You’re supposed to assist the needy. Lend them a helping hand. Take care of the sick and the downtrodden. Blah, blah, blah. What is any of that really going to do? Why would they want to hang around in this miserable world, anyway? It is not like the healthy are any happier. If you’re healthy, it just means people expect more out of you. They take advantage.”
5. Working for a living
“They tell you to find your passion in life. In school they ask what you want to be when you grow up. What if I don’t want to do anything? I will live off of others. You might consider that shameful, but what does it really matter in the end? We are all going to die. Once that forced exit occurs, everything gets left behind, including your reputation.”
While it may seem hopeless, while it may seem like there is no point to living, while it may seem like nothing is worthwhile, while the risks are too strong, with a reward not even close to commensurate, there is a purpose to living. It is indeed a blessing to be in this human form of life.
Shri Krishna confirms in Bhagavad-gita that death is certain for the person who has taken birth. He acknowledges the reality, and nothing can change that law of nature. Yet, instead of using that reality as an excuse to do nothing, the Supreme Personality of Godhead recommends the path of dharma. Use guaranteed death as the impetus to follow righteousness, honor and duty.
This is because there is an achievement to be had, purushartha. The greatest benefit to the living being who is an enjoyer, purusha, while associating with this land of temporary matter, prakriti. Work in such a way that the consciousness will be purified. That is the perfection of human life.
Upon achieving this perfection, the component activities become purified. It is like travelling on a time machine and repairing previous wrongs. All of those days I decided to wake up. All of that time spent in school. The association with the less fortunate. The attention to rules and regulations in eating and sleeping.
Everything culminated in the attachment to the lotus feet of the all-attractive one. This means that everything was worth it. Had I not participated in life, I would not have found the proper destination. For this blessing I am thankful to everyone, including nature itself, for revealing to me the Absolute Truth, the one whose effulgence is bright enough to light up the entire universe for eternity and beyond.
To my lethargy appealing,
Desire to wake up not feeling.
Since destined to end,
Why effort to expend?
But when to dharma steered,
The past mistakes cleared.
Since now to eternity bound,
Shelter of lotus feet found.
Categories: the five