Vedantic Wednesday:Blessings of Human Birth

Very often we find ourselves at logger heads with the divine providence – asking many questions, making demands and at times even wondering what we did do deserve this kind of life. I am not sure how many times we have even thought about the grace that has already been showered on us. It is stated in vedic knowledge that human birth is a great blessing by itself.

Amongst the many living beings in the universe, man (women included) is not the most powerful, not the fastest, not the smallest and not the biggest. By many comparisons the other members of creation are colourful, distinctive and seemingly at peace with themselves. Yet, this human birth is still considered very special. Why?

Out of many reasons that one can give the following three reasons stand out glaringly.

(a)    We have the ability / faculty of self-awareness.

It is very popularly said that man is the only being who poses the sixth sense.  This ability to be aware of not just the external surroundings but also our inherent nature or our inner world creates the first big difference.

(b)   We have the ability to choose our responses.

All other plant and animal forms live their lives pre-programmed. They do not have the luxury to change their responses, depending on situations or stimuli.  If hungry the lion has to kill and if you are sheep – you have to herd. They are thus programmed to react and it is not in them to choose their reaction. However, man can choose how he wants to respond to a situation. There is no auto mode for our actions. This ability presents the fundamental aspect of making choices.  This may be the reason why it is often said that as a man you create your own destiny. A luxury that is not available with any other creature

(c) We have the ability to pursue divine or spiritual paths.

This third aspect is special because as per the Vedas, the chance for liberation, is provided only to a human being.  It is said in the scriptures that even other higher forms of birth such as Devas, have to come back as human beings and only then even attempt attaining moksha. The path of spiritual evolution is the one that leads to the ultimate aim of attaining moksha (liberation).  This path is one of the choices available to a human being.

If one looks closely at the above three reasons, one will realise why the human birth is considered rare and special.  These considerations are those that made the religious stalwarts since time immemorial to declare the human birth as a great blessing of the lord.

Now that we have achieved this rare distinction of being born as a human – what we do with this life is not a mere choice but a great responsibility!

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