Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 8, Verse 15

मामुपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दु:खालयमशाश्वतम् |
नाप्नुवन्ति महात्मान: संसिद्धिं परमां गता: || 15||

mām upetya punar janma duḥkhālayam aśhāśhvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ sansiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ

mam upetya punar janma duhkhalayam ashashvatam
napnuvanti mahatmanah sansiddhim paramam gatah

māmMe; upetyahaving attained; punaḥagain; janmabirth; duḥkha-ālayamplace full of miseries; aśhāśhvatamtemporary; nanever; āpnuvantiattain; mahā-ātmānaḥthe great souls; sansiddhimperfection; paramāmhighest; gatāḥhaving achieved

Translation

BG 8.15: Having attained Me, the great souls are no more subject to rebirth in this world, which is transient and full of misery, because they have attained the highest perfection.

Commentary

What happens when one attains God? Once God-realized the soul is liberated from the cycle of life and death, it reaches the divine abode of God and remains there forever. It does not take birth in the material world again and suffer its miseries. Life in the material world from birth till death is full of suffering.

The struggle starts inside the mother’s womb itself, where we hang upside down for nine months. Then we go through a painful process of taking birth and delivered into an unknown world, where we have to cry for our every need. As we grow, we need to learn to speak, eat, walk, etc. Then comes the turmoil of adolescence, which is a mentally challenging phase. As adults, marriage and relationships test our endurance and patience to accept and accommodate individualities. We struggle to maintain social responsibilities. Then comes old age with its gifts of sickness and disease. All through our life, we suffer from pain and miseries; induced by our own body, mind, people, or circumstances around us. Then finally, we die, which is again an extremely painful experience.

But why does God put us through so much pain and misery? In God’s grand design, the purpose of these miseries is to realize that the material realm is not the permanent abode for the soul. It serves as a correction home for the souls who have forgotten God and are trapped in the material world. These sufferings and miseries help the souls develop the desire for God. Consider an example of a person who accidentally puts his hand on burning coal. Immediately, due to the burning sensation and pain he experiences, he withdraws his hand.

What really happened here? When the man touched hot coal, his skin started burning, and the neurons on his skin sent a message to the brain of the pain he experienced. The brain immediately sends commands to his hand muscles that remove his hand to avoid further burning and pain. Therefore, pain is a signal that something is not right and needs correction. Similarly, the pain and miseries that we experience in the material world; are stimulation for us to shun our defective consciousness. These inspire and motivate the lost souls to tread toward their ultimate goal of union with God.

Those worthy souls who commit themselves in exclusive devotion attain God and reach His Divine Abode. However, those souls who remain engrossed in material affluence and forget God continue to rotate in the cycle of birth and death. Eventually, we get what we make ourselves worthy of and the endeavours we choose to undertake.