(Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talk to Yuva Veers of Youth Empowerment Program 6thbatch)
Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam, punarapi janani jathare shayanam
Iha samsaare bahu dustare, krupayaa paare paahi murare|| 21 ||
Meaning: Birth again and again, death again and again. Sleeping in the mother’s womb again and again. This Samsaar (world of miseries) is indeed very hard to cross. Oh Muraari! Please take me across with your boundless compassion.
In Bhagavad Gita 9th Chapter Verse 33, Krishna says:
‘Anityam asukham lokam, imam praapya bhajasvamaam’
Krishna is giving the definition of the world (lokam) in two words – Anityam (Temporary) & Asukham (Misery). ‘The nature of the world is temporary and miseries, having come here seek Me.’
Every birth we get as a result of our past Karmas (actions) is conducive to fulfill our unfulfilled desires that we have accumulated in the past. According to our past Karmas, we get a birth of an animal or plant or human being which will help us to exhaust our existing bundle of desires and help us to evolve. In any other birth except human birth, only exhaustion of desires (those were carried forward from earlier births) takes place and no new desires are created. Finally, one gets a human birth as a result of his good Karmas which is an opportunity to evolve and become Divine. However, in the process of exhausting one’s desires and in human birth, he starts new actions thus creating new desires. To exhaust these new desires, one has to take more births (plant, animal or human, depends on the quality of desires). And every birth is a painful transition.
When we say the cycle of birth and death is painful, we mean the number of instances when a person is happy is far lesser than the instances when he suffers. The suffering starts in the mother’s womb. Amidst all the dirt, a baby has to live for nine months. When he comes out, he cannot express what he wants till a certain age. He tries his level best to make others understand but is left at the mercy of others’ understanding of what he needs. In this way, he has to go through a lot of sufferings of the mind and body throughout his adolescent and teenage. In the youth, he thinks he enjoys, but causes more sufferings to himself. Middle age is spent in living a hard life to earn for one’s family. Old age is spent in disease & worries, and finally one dies. Throughout his life, at certain intervals he gets to enjoy a small glimpse of happiness which makes him feel that he’s happy. But if we compare the number of instances of happiness and suffering, the count of the latter is definitely more.
It becomes more pathetic because, man lives a life not at his maximum potential. He lives thinking that he is this body or mind or intellect and not realizing that he is the Supreme Self governing this whole Universe. It’s like the story of a tiger who was brought up amongst sheep and who kept thinking that it’s a sheep. However, some are fortunate enough to understand what their nature is, at least intellectually. But even their lives are miserable. It’s only a rarest few who are able to experience what it is like to be Divine. They alone are the ones who have escaped all sufferings and always abide in bliss.
This verse is a cry of the few who have intellectually understood the reality of this world and wish to know the Truth. They beg to the Lord to show His compassion on them and take them to their Real Home.