Another Life Will Be Another Misery

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active; and again the night falls, O Partha, and they are helplessly dissolved.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.19)

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भूत-ग्रामः स एवायं
भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते
रात्र्य्-आगमे ऽवशः पार्थ
प्रभवत्य् अहर्-आगमे

bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ
bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate
rātry-āgame ‘vaśaḥ pārtha
prabhavaty ahar-āgame

“Take this premise of someone who is contemplating ending it all. They are way down. They are so sad with the way life has turned out. One misery after another. The headaches keep piling on. Nothing works out. It seems to only rain on them.

“They are ready to go. Maybe they will put an end. As they are about ready to pull the trigger, so to speak, they stop. They pause for a moment and contemplate the matter. Hesitation. Second thoughts.

“In this way, they are up and down. Do they try again, for another life? Or do they try to make this one better? This is a common situation, I think. Who isn’t suffering out there? It doesn’t matter how much money they have. It doesn’t matter if they are married or all alone.

“With the truth of reincarnation, isn’t it better to start over? Why not invest in a future life? Why not hope for the best, since nothing is working out at present?”

The truth is that another life will be another misery. This is because the source of the misery is birth itself. As soon as there is birth, death is certain. There is no way around it.

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

“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)

The material world is miserable and temporary. You could argue as to which comes first. As soon as I learn something is temporary, there must be misery. This is because in the case of enjoyment, there is a point of completion. The ride comes to an end, so to speak. Party’s over. Closing time.

In the case of unhappiness, there is already misery. Granted, that will also come to an end. Happiness and distress arrive on a schedule, like the seasons. A wise person is able to tolerate the fluctuation.

मात्रा-स्पर्शास् तु कौन्तेय
आगमापायिनो ऽनित्यास्
तांस् तितिक्षस्व भारत

mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
āgamāpāyino ‘nityās
tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata

“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.14)

[seasons]Just how many births will it take to end the misery? How many chances do we need to make an existence successful? How does a person actually become siddhartha? How do they find the highest gain and become truly fortunate?

There is actually no time limit. The universe goes through cycles of creation and destruction. The period of manifestation falls in between. At the moment, we see living beings around us. The collective is known as the population.

The host of beings arrives, remains for sometime, and then departs. Even after the dissolution of the entire cosmic manifestation, which takes place after billions of years, the beings become manifest again.

It would seem to be an infinite cycle of misery, but there is hope. The person who reaches the unmanifest realm never has to return. That place is not subject to birth and death. It is not like mrityu-loka.

आ-ब्रह्म-भुवनाल् लोकाः
पुनर् आवर्तिनो ऽर्जुन
माम् उपेत्य तु कौन्तेय
पुनर् जन्म न विद्यते

ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ
punar āvartino ‘rjuna
mām upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate

“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.16)

Reaching the unmanifest realm is going as high as possible. The human being has the best opportunity for this achievement, which requires vitality. I am alive at the moment. This means that hope is not lost. At any second I can turn things around. My fate is sealed as soon as the consciousness shifts in nature.

अन्त-काले च माम् एव
स्मरन् मुक्त्वा कलेवरम्
यः प्रयाति स मद्-भावं
याति नास्त्य् अत्र संशयः

anta-kāle ca mām eva
smaran muktvā kalevaram
yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ
yāti nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ

“And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.5)

[Krishna's lotus feet]Remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead at the time of death. This triggers a spiritual birth in the next life. To assure proper remembrance while departing, practice remembering while staying, which means right now, today. While we have the chance, remember and maintain good association, of those who will help us in remembering.

In Closing:

With untold misery at play,
Desperate for a better way.

Pointless it seems to stay,
Next life’s chance to weigh.

In whichever direction to go,
Repeated misery to know.

Only launched to highest realm when,
Free from birth again.

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