“Doubts due to misconceptions of myself and mine – in other words, my body, my relatives, my property, my wife, my children, my wealth, my country, my community, and hundreds and thousands of similar illusory contemplations – cause bewilderment for the conditioned soul. By assimilating the instructions of the Bhagavad-gita, one is sure to be released from such bewilderment because real knowledge is knowledge that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, Lord Krishna, is everything, including one’s self.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.15.31 Purport)
“Have you ever stopped to consider how the animal community typically doesn’t require training? I know that you can teach dogs to do certain things, like obey on command, jump, settle down, follow, and so forth. There is the saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
“At the same time, the dog would typically survive on its own if such instruction were lacking. The bird knows where to return after flying out for the day. The mother cow instinctively sheds tears upon separation from her calf. Vedic literature often uses this comparison to convey the strength of someone’s anxiety due to separation.
“There is no school. There is no advanced placement examination. There is no library to visit. The animals can basically go by the intelligence they have from the beginning, gifted by nature. Is man meant to be the same way? Does instruction only scramble what would otherwise be a simple and basic existence?”
The instruction is available precisely to fulfill a higher purpose. This is a wise comparison, as we see the cats, dogs and birds do not have to visit a temple to have their needs fulfilled. They are not concerned with voter turnout in the upcoming election, if a stack of fake ballots gets dropped off in the middle of the night to help the cheating party overcome a deficit.
The instruction available to man is thus not for enjoying like the animals. Otherwise, placement in such a body would be preferable. If I want to enjoy sex life day and night, it would be better to take birth as a monkey. If I want to fly through the sky, become a bird. Choose the life of a fish in order to survive in the water.
Man requires instruction for connecting with God. There is no other purpose. Sense enjoyment can take place for the uneducated. They are sleeping on a bed, enjoying food, and comingling with the opposite sex just as much as the person earning a doctorate degree from a prestigious university.
The instruction from Vedic literature has the foundation of renunciation. Known as vairagya in Sanskrit, this is to control the senses; not to torture. Man can impose limitations, which he already follows when it comes to achieving success with diet, exercise, advancement of career, educational advancement, and so forth.
Why not impose the same for the highest purpose of all? Why not voluntarily accept a little austerity in order to purify the consciousness? Why not try to remove doubts pertaining to identity, which is otherwise constantly changing due to shifting conditions of life?
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that by following the instructions of works like Bhagavad-gita, a person will understand the Almighty. Through understanding Him, they will automatically know the self. This is the most valuable instruction, as once I know who I truly am, I will have proper direction in life.
That direction is not known in other forms of body. The time factor has to apply; there is little chance to rush through. On the other hand, time is generally the friend to the human body. Though it has a debilitating influence on the body itself, the duration within that form facilitates the acceptance of the highest instruction, which opens the doors to true eternal living, where the body-spirit dichotomy no longer applies.
I should wholeheartedly accept this instruction and give it some attention. Place it at the top of the priority list for objectives on a given day. The morning is the best time to start, with internal purification through the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते
स्व्-अल्पम् अप्य् अस्य धर्मस्य
त्रायते महतो भयात्
pratyavāyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.40)
Follow the guidance of the acharya, who is expert at both quoting from the instruction manual and implementing it in the current period of time. There is nothing to be lost in this attempt, but a person can overcome the greatest fear in the process.
If like the animal to choose,
Then great opportunity to lose.
Since sense enjoyment already,
And reincarnation steady.
But now for higher goal appeal,
Shastra wisdom to reveal.
Such that happy today and tomorrow too,
Connecting with source of everything who.