As soon as birth is taken, the māyā is there; we forget. Immediately, father, mother, other relatives, they take up the child and pats very nice. So in this way we forget that we were in such a precarious condition, almost suffocating. Almost it is suffocating. After coming out from the womb of the mother, if you are packed up again in such airtight bag, within three seconds you will die. We live under the protection of the Supreme Lord; otherwise that is not a living condition. Just imagine within the womb. So this we forget, and being taken care of, affectionate father and mother, on the lap, we think life is very nice, this life. But this is māyā; this is illusion.
Actually, this bhava, to take birth, is very, very unpleasant task. It is blazing fire, bhava-mahā-dāvāgni. So if we can cleanse our heart during this life . . . this is that opportunity. It is not possible . . . when I take birth as an animal, cats and dogs, that is not possible. But as I have got now this human form of body, we should not be again misled. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni (CC Antya 20.12). If we can cleanse our heart, then this blazing fire of repetition of birth and death can be extinguished.
But the illusory energy is so strong that we forget our last death-time miseries. At the time of death we suffer very much, so that . . . just imagine, when we give up our life, how much difficult position at that time. So we forget birth and death. As soon as there is birth, there is death also. Death means . . . the more you are advancing in age, that means you're dying. You are advancing in death. The child is born . . . "When this child is born?" "Just yesterday." That means he has already died one day.
So in this way, death is progressing. As soon as there is birth, the death is there immediately, side by side. I am one day old means I have died one day. I am seventy-six years old means I have already died seventy-six years. Suppose I live, say, eighty years, ninety years. So I have already died seventy-six years. So death is sure. They say, "We are advancing." What is that advancement? Death is sure. You cannot control birth. Birth, death, old age . . . you cannot stop old age. And disease. You can manufacture nice medicine, but you cannot stop disease.
So we have become steel-hearted, steel-framed heart. We do not consider all these things. These are practical. And still, we are under the impression that we are advancing in material civilization. So we are advancing in the art of cutting stone and wood, that's all. This is our advancement. Just like in your country, within two months they can build one wood house. Means expert in cutting wood.
This is advancement: wood-cutter, stone-cutter. But we are not meant for cutting wood and stone. We are meant for understanding our spiritual identity. There are many birds, the wood-cutter bird. So that is not very expert manifestation of our intelligence. So this cleansing of heart will be possible by hari-nāma-dheyaiḥ, this chanting of hari-nāma:
- harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
- kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
- (CC Adi 17.21)
Anything, any spiritual process, is meant for cleansing the heart. Either you take karma-yoga or jñāna-yoga or dhyāna-yoga or bhakti-yoga, the ultimate goal is that cleansing the heart. At the present moment I am under misconception, dirty things accumulated on my heart that, "I am this body," and therefore I do not try to realize that I am soul, and under bodily concept of life . . . as the animals they are also in bodily concept of life, they are busy eating, sleeping, mating and defending, similarly, human civilization has become like animals. They are interested only in eating, sleeping, mating and defense. That's all. But that is not our position. It is a chance to get out of the entanglement of birth, death, old age and disease.