Getting a Human Body – Shankaracharya
"To get a human body is a rare thing. Make full use of it. There are four million kinds of lives which a soul can gather. After that one gets a chance to be human, to get a human body. Therefore one should not waste that chance. Every second in the human life is valuable. If you don't value this then you will weep in the end. Because you are human, God has given you the power to think and to decide what is good and bad. Therefore you can do the best kind of action. You should never consider yourself weak or a fallen creature. Whatever may have happened up to now may be because you didn't know, but now be careful. After getting a human body, if you don't reach God - then you have sold a diamond at the price of spinach."
"To be born a human is more fortunate than to be born a deva. Taking birth as a deva is considered comparable to taking birth as any other life form. Birth as a god is attained by those who perform certain sacrifices and karma, etc. associated with divinity, with the intention to enjoy divine pleasures. The minds of the devatas wander incessantly because of the abundance of enjoyable things in the heavenly realms, and hence they cannot perform purushartha [actions consistent with the goals of human life and evolution]. For this reason, the human birth is considered superior, because here, by doing as much purushartha as possible, one can eventually become one with God. A human being is like a lump of pure gold, whereas gods are like pieces of fine jewelry. Having been perfected as jewelry, their progression is complete, and they cannot be further improved. On the other hand, gold which has not yet been crafted by the jeweler is completely unrestricted in its potential. Hence the birth of a human being is said to be the very best birth for action. Having attained this birth, one should not act carelessly, but should conscientiously perform the best purushartha. Fulfilling one's own dharma while keeping faith in Paramatma is the greatest purushartha. Strive to become one with God in this lifetime. Have firm faith in the Vedas and shastras and keep the company of those wise people who also have faith
in them. Only then will the purpose of your life be fulfilled."
"Do good works without hesitation. The jiva has been experiencing samsara for many, many births. It is only natural, therefore, that its tendencies have become worldly. To turn its tendency toward Paramatma [God] and away from samsara [worldly life] requires effort. In reality, the aim of life is to stop the mind from involvement with this world. If one engages in the spiritual practice of Bhagavan and in thinking and speaking about Him, the mind will start dwelling on Him, and after some time, it will withdraw from samsara on its own. In our daily affairs we should adopt a strategy of quickly attending to good works and things related to the divine. Should any wrong thought arise, on the other hand, we should try to postpone it to another time by saying, "I'll do it tomorrow, or the day after next." In this way, wrong action can be continuously postponed."
Rocks Are Melting:
The Everyday Teachings of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati
[Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Jyotir Math, Himalayas, 1941-53]
Compiled by Rameswar Tiwari
Edited and Introduction by L. B. Shriver
Translation Edited and Annotation by Cynthia A. Humes