“… this struggle for existence is due to ignorance, for otherwise every living being is an eternal part of the Supreme Lord. There is no need to live as an elephant or man, American or Indian; one should desire only to achieve liberation from the cycle of birth and death.”
This is from the Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.3.25
[This chapter of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is entitled “Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender.” In this chapter, the King of the elephants, Gajendra, having been attacked by a crocodile, prayed to the Personality of Godhead for protection.]
I do not wish to live anymore after I am released from the attack of the crocodile. What is the use of an elephant’s body covered externally and internally by ignorance? I simply desire eternal liberation from the covering of ignorance. That covering is not destroyed by the influence of time.
In this material world, every living entity is covered by the darkness of ignorance. Therefore the Vedas enjoin that one should approach the Supreme Lord through the spiritual master, who is described and offered prayers in the Gautamiya-tantra as follows:
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who with the torchlight of knowledge has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance.”
Although one may struggle for existence in this material world, to live forever is impossible. One must understand, however, that this struggle for existence is due to ignorance, for otherwise every living being is an eternal part of the Supreme Lord.
There is no need to live as an elephant or man, American or Indian; one should desire only to achieve liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Because of ignorance, we consider every life offered by nature to be happy and pleasing, but in the degraded life within this material world, from the life of Lord Brahma down to that of an ant, no one can actually be happy. We are making so many plans to live happily, but there cannot be any happiness in this material world, however we may try to make a permanent settlement in this life or that.