After many births, getting this rare human form which, although transient, is conducive to attain the Ultimate, a wise person should not lose time to strive for the supreme felicity before the body falls. (For,) the body is constantly followed by death, and the sense enjoyments indeed are available all around (to distract man from his ultimate objective).
Points for Introspection:
Human life is very rare, because only after many births one is blessed to get a human body. It is also rare because instead of being born as a human, one could have been born as any other creature like animals, birds, reptiles, insects etc.
The human life is very different from that of all other living beings. For all other living beings, the life is spent in eating, sleeping, reproducing and enjoying the sensory pleasures alone. But, God has given a great gift to humans by bestowing mind and intelligence with thinking and discriminating powers. Through mind and intelligence alone man understands that he has a higher purpose in life, that is to realize the Self, God or Brahman, realizing which he can attain eternal felicity, peace, joy and fearlessness. Although this body itself is impermanent, through this body alone the supreme purpose of attaining permanent happiness is fulfilled.
Using the thinking and discriminating powers of the mind and intelligence, man should introspect, into the very nature of life. Life is full of worries, anxieties and fear. Although the world is full of things to enjoy, every enjoyment is fleeting and perishable. One may get some happiness in the beginning through enjoyment of the worldly objects; but at the end, it leads to misery and suffering. How to get rid of suffering in life and attain permanent happiness? Only by realizing the Self, one can transcend both happiness and misery.
So, what should be the duty of a human being? As soon as he comes to know that in order to attain eternal peace and happiness he must strive to realize the Self, he should wisely take up that pursuit. In this life, there is abundance of worldly matters everywhere causing distractions. Foolishly he should not waste time in such pursuits which will never bestow supreme felicity.
There is a lot of emphasis on the words ‘tūrṇaṃ yateta’ (immediately pursue). Why? Although, the supreme emancipation has to be attained in one’s lifetime, life itself is fleeing. We do not know when the body will fall. As soon as the body is born, death follows it every moment. So, we should not delay in taking up the pursuit to realize the Ultimate. Without wasting time, till body falls, one must keep on striving for niḥśreyas – the supreme good in human life. Then alone human birth will fulfil its purpose. One who follows this path, is wise.
Chanting this shloka repeatedly reminds us of the rarity of human birth.The mind feels grateful to the Lord that we have been given the opportunity to strive to attain the supreme goal. A strong conviction arises in the mind that life is limited and hence should not be wasted in frivolous matters.
लब्ध्वा (labdhvā) = having obtained; सुदुर्लभम् (sudurlabham) = very difficult to be attained, very rare; इदं (idaṁ) = this; बहुसम्भवान्ते (bahu-sambhavānte) = at the end of many lives; मानुष्यम् (mānuṣyam) = human nature; अर्थदम् (arthadam) = advantageous, gives value; अनित्यम् (anityam) = not eternal, transient; अपि (api) = even though इह (iha) = in this world, in this place, here; धीरः (dhīraḥ) = of firm resolve, wise; तूर्णं (tūrṇaṃ) = quickly, immediately, speedily, यतेत (yateta) = should endeavour; न (na) = not; पतेत् (patet) = fall; अनुमृत्यु (anumṛtyu) = following in death; यावत् (yāvat) = as much as, as many as; निःश्रेयसाय(niḥśreyasāya) = for the final beatitude, supreme welfare, for the ultimate bliss; विषयः (viṣayaḥ) = sense enjoyments; खलु (khalu) = indeed, verily,certainly; सर्वतः (sarvataḥ) = from every side, everywhere, all around; स्यात् (syāt) = be.
इह अनित्यं अपि अर्थदं सुदुर्लभं मानुष्यं बहुसम्भवान्ते लब्ध्वा, धीरः अनुमृत्यु इदं यावत् न पतेत्, तूर्णं निःश्रेयसाय यतेत । विषयः खलु सर्वतः स्यात् ।
iha anityaṃ-api arthadaṃ sudurlabhaṃ mānuṣyaṃ bahusambhavāntē labdhvā, dhīraḥ anumṛtyu idaṃ yāvat na patet, tūrṇaṃ niḥśreyasāya yatēta. viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ syāt.
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