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The problem is birth and death. But nobody wants birth and death. Nobody wants. But it is there on account of our material life. So in the material life there are four problems: birth, death, old age and disease

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"the problem is birth and death. But nobody wants birth and death. Nobody wants. But it is there on account of our material life. So in the material life there are four problems—birth, death, old age and disease"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1973 Conversations and Morning Walks

The problem is birth and death. But nobody wants birth and death. Nobody wants. But it is there on account of our material life. So in the material life there are four problems: birth, death, old age and disease. So long one has to accept a material body, he has to accept these miseries also.


Pradyumna:

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro 'parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī
(BG 2.22)

"As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones."

Graham Hill: And you go back to the Godhead. You go back to home.

Prabhupāda: That is ultimate goal. So long we do not go back to home, back to Godhead, we have to, in our material existence, we have to change from one body to another. That is going on. And there are 8,400,000 forms of bodies. The cats and dogs, they are also living entities, but they have got a different type of body. Every one of us, different type body. Even they are children, their body is different from your body. Even the features. Although their body is obtained . . . there are some similarities. But if you analyze very scrutinizingly, there will be some difference from your body, from your daughter's body, from your boy's body.

So every body . . . every living entity is getting a certain type of body according to his desire. According to his desire. So that desire means material enjoyment. Just like you have got certain desires to become champion in racing. Another body has got desire to become something else. Another body has got desire for something else. So we have got this freedom by the grace of God, or Kṛṣṇa, because we are children. He has given freedom: "All right. If you want this, take it." In this way our life is going on. This is called birth and death. One chapter you are finishing in one life, next chapter begins another life, next chapter begins another life.

So the problem is birth and death. But nobody wants birth and death. Nobody wants. But it is there on account of our material life. So in the material life there are four problems—birth, death, old age and disease. So long one has to accept a material body, he has to accept these miseries also. Birth is also misery. When the child remains within the womb, in a compact bag . . . very precarious condition. We have forgotten, but it is very precarious condition. And for ten months, because he is unconscious at least for seven months, he cannot understand. But after seven months, when the child becomes conscious, it is very intolerable.

He always prays, "Oh, how to get out? How to get out?" Then he gets, come out, comes out. Then another life begins. That is also accompanied with so many miserable conditions from the birth. Just like—don't mind—when you drive your car, it is not a very good position. (laughter) Yes. But you are doing, taking that risk for winning over. But the position is not very good. At any moment there can be accident.

So similarly, we are trying to achieve some goal of life, every one of us—there are so many varieties of living entities—with the risk of life and death, old age and disease. But if we know what is our actual aim of life . . . the actual aim of life should be back to home, back to Godhead. Then this human form of life is successful. Just like your son, if he goes out independent . . . now he is under father's protection, he is very happy. But if he declares his independence . . . just like Śyāmasundara. He is very rich man's son. His father, I met him. His father is a big lawyer, big businessman.

But he declared independence. And I know his life history, how much he had to go through so many serious things. Similarly, we are also sons of God. We have declared independence, and we are going through so many chapters of life and death in different . . . now we have got . . . suppose you have got now a nice Englishman's body, but next body you do not know what kind of body you are going to get. That will depend on your karma and desire.

Graham Hill: Do we know what sort of body we have been in . . . in the past?

Prabhupāda: Yes, in the past. We forgot. But in the past we had life. Just like in the past I was young man. That's a fact. Similarly . . . but that young body is no more existing. Similarly, I had a past life, but I have forgotten. That is the difficulty. Because forgetfulness is our nature. Death means forgetting what was your first . . . past life. That is by nature we become forgetful, because if we remember our past life and compare with this life . . . suppose one was very rich man, and if he becomes a poor . . . a cat and dog, then if he remembers, then it is very unbearable for him. Therefore nature helps him to forget. Forget. Otherwise he cannot do it.