Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes the experience of being reborn and the effect of Maya over the soul by explaining an early verse from Sharanagati.
Excerpted from the upcoming release Amnaya Tattva.
When a departed soul’s karma is finished he must again take birth. This is the law. He will not be able to avoid it. It will happen suddenly as though in the meantime. The waves of janma-mrityu, birth and death, will come and take him forcefully to his birth. He will be knocked senseless and forced down to the ground of the earth. Unconsciously he will take on the form of a tree or plant and then a fruit. From the fruit he will move into the body of a human, or animal, or insect according to the reactions of his karma. If his next body due is a human body he will take the form of some rice or some food, and in this way move into the body of his future father. From his father’s body he will move into the womb of his mother’s body.
Sometimes when a jiva soul is in the womb of his mother his consciousness will suddenly come back to him and he will see his own form as an atma, soul, and he will see that the Paramatma, Supreme Soul, is living with him. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has expressed this experience and feeling of such a jiva soul within the womb.
jananī-jaṭhare, chhilāma yakhana,
eka-bāra prabhu! dekhā diyā more,
vañchile e dīna dāse
“While I was bound in the terrible confines of my mother’s womb, You once revealed Yourself to me, oh Lord! Yet since then You have deprived this poor servant.”
Not everyone receives this consciousness or feeling in the womb but Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has expressed it in one of his songs.
When the jiva soul is living in the womb of his mother he has some general consciousness and feelings. When the jiva soul’s body and senses form within the womb, his awareness begins to come back to him, though it is not so strong, after being knocked senseless by the waves of birth and death. But when he is born and comes out from his mother’s womb he forgets everything. His next life begins from that moment. After birth, the jiva soul loses all memory of his previous experience, and his karma provides him with opportunities in his future in this life.
In this way the waves of janma-mrityu, birth and death, are always flowing throughout this mundane world and the jiva souls revolve through the passing show of material existence.