Canto 3: The Status QuoChapter 31: Lord Kapila's Instructions on the Movements of the Living Entities

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.31.9

akalpaḥ svāńga-ceṣṭāyāḿ

śakunta iva pañjare

tatra labdha-smṛtir daivāt

karma janma-śatodbhavam

smaran dīrgham anucchvāsaḿ

śarma kiḿ nāma vindate


akalpaḥ — unable; sva-ańga — his limbs; ceṣṭāyāmto move; śakuntaḥa bird; iva — like; pañjarein a cage; tatra — there; labdha-smṛtiḥ — having gained his memory; daivāt — by fortune; karma — activities; janma-śata-udbhavam — occurring during the last hundred births; smaran — remembering; dīrgham — for a long time; anucchvāsam — sighing; śarma — peace of mind; kim — what; nāma — then; vindate — can he achieve.


The child thus remains just like a bird in a cage, without freedom of movement. At that time, if the child is fortunate, he can remember all the troubles of his past one hundred births, and he grieves wretchedly. What is the possibility of peace of mind in that condition?


After birth the child may forget about the difficulties of his past lives, but when we are grown-up we can at least understand the grievous tortures undergone at birth and death by reading the authorized scriptures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. If we do not believe in the scriptures, that is a different question, but if we have faith in the authority of such descriptions, then we must prepare for our freedom in the next life; that is possible in this human form of life. One who does not take heed of these indications of suffering in human existence is said to be undoubtedly committing suicide. It is said that this human form of life is the only means for crossing over the nescience of māyā, or material existence. We have a very efficient boat in this human form of body, and there is a very expert captain, the spiritual master; the scriptural injunctions are like favorable winds. If we do not cross over the ocean of the nescience of material existence in spite of all these facilities, then certainly we are all intentionally committing suicide.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness