Vedic scriptures describe the creation in details. The universe is filled with countless living entities and they are categorized as under 8,400,000 species. Visnu Purana gives the details as below Species Type Species Number Aquatics 900,000 Plants and trees 2,000,000 Insects and reptiles 1,100,000 Birds 1,000,000 Four-legged animals 3,000,000 Human beings 400,000 Total 8,400,000 All these 8,400,000 species may not be present on the earth, but are spread throughout the universe.
Humans have developed consciousness
All living entities have consciousness, but the extent we can perceive that consciousness is different. This is because the consciousness gets covered or in other words the consciousness is not sufficiently developed. For example we see that some species can move and some cannot move. Species such as trees, grass, plants etc. do not move because they do not have sufficiently developed consciousness. Lord Caitanya has further pointed out that out of 400,000 species of human beings, not all are civilized. Only some of the human species are civilized and out of many such civilized persons, there are only a few who are devoted to the scriptures or cultivation of Knowledge. Animals cannot engage in cultivation of knowledge or in further development of consciousness. This is the major difference between humans and Animals. Hence we can conclude that if a human does not engage in cultivation of knowledge, he is no better than animals. The human body is highly developed and has full consciousness.
Animals are better than human in material enjoyment
We see that many humans are simply engaged in fulfilling basic bodily necessities that are common in both animal and in humans. These bodily necessities are – 1. Eating 2. Sleeping 3. Mating and 4. Defending People make themselves so busy in fulfill these necessities that they have no time for cultivating spiritual knowledge. How much ever we try by so called advancement in science or technology, we see that animals have better facilities to enjoy these. For example we see that elephants have a better facility to eat. A person may be very rich and we may make many varieties of things available to eat but we cannot eat as much as an elephant. Even a very rich man eats just 4 chapatis. He does not realize that he is working so hard day and night but he cannot eat more than 4 chapatis, that is available even to the begger in street. There is no food scarcity for animals but for human civilization there is food scarcity and we are still trying so hard day and night to solve the food problem. We work very hard to get a house so that we can sleep peacefully, but in the soft beds we do not get sleep. Actually when we sleep on hard floor, our back gets massaged and all the pain goes away. But in soft bed this pain accumulates and then leads to back ache. Any way when we fall asleep we do not even know where we are sleeping. A polar bear is capable of sleeping 6 months. But we cannot sleep that much. In fact if we sleep a little more we do not get any sleep. Even mating is difficult for Humans. But we see that for birds, its mate is always there. The sex enjoyment that we get for a few moments, Snakes get few hours. Hence snakes have better facility to enjoy. If we try to enjoy more sex, we begin to get impotent. We do not get the same enjoyment anymore. We spend so much time in defense but we see that daily people are dying all around us. If there is a danger on road, a bird immediately flies away where as we cannot. We create better weapons to defend ourselves but we see that we face danger from those very weapons. Even if somehow we work very hard from many years and develop better facilities than animals, still if we spend our life simply in the matter of: eating, sleeping, mating, and defending then how are we better than animals? For these necessities, it is not very much necessary for the human being to receive education, because naturally every living being has natural education for these demands of the body.
Human life begins with inquiry about Absolute truth
When Sanatana Gosvami left his government post and came to Caitanya Mahaprabhu for the first time, he asked the Lord, "What is education?" Although Sanatana Gosvami knew a number of languages, including Sanskrit, he still inquired about real education. He said that "the general populace calls me highly educated, and I am such a fool that I actually believe them". The Lord replied, "Why should you not think you're well educated? You're a great scholar in Sanskrit and Persian?"."That may be," Sanätana Gosvämé said, "but I do not know what I am. I do not wish to suffer, but these material miseries are forced upon me. I neither know where I've come from nor where I'm going, but people are calling me educated. When they call me a great scholar, I am satisfied, but in truth I am such a great fool that I know not what I am." Sanätana Gosvämé was actually speaking for all of us, for this is our present situation. We may be proud of our academic education, but if asked what we are, we are not able to say. Everyone is under the conception that this body is the self, but we learn from Vedic sources that this is not so. Only after realizing that we are not these bodies can we enter into real knowledge and understand what we actually are. This then, is the beginning of knowledge. Real knowledge begins with this enquiry to understand "what I am." Human life is especially meant for spiritual education or Krsna Conscious education. The first statement in the Vedanta-sutra says - Athatho brahma-jijïasa. “Now we have to inquire about Brahman, the Absolute Truth”. That inquiry is the business of a human being. Enquiry into the absolute is what distinguishes a Human being from an animal. Therefore for the human being spiritual education is essential. Animals are unable to enquire about the absolute or take up spiritual education.
Human uses knowledge to lessen/end his suffering
Many animals can realize when there is immediate danger about to fall on it where as some do not realize. For example we see that the butcher takes goat for slaughtering. One goat is taken for slaughter and another goat is given some grass to eat. The other goat does not realize that the next turn is his. He is simply busy in enjoying his grass. Among the animals that realize there are some who simple want to ignore the danger. For example we see that when a rabbit is faced with danger it simply closes it eyes and thinks that there is no danger. In a storm an ostrich simply buries its head in ground thinking that there is no danger. Some humans similarly regard that this ignorance is bliss. Ignorance does not mean that there will be no suffering. The turn of goat will comes. The storm does burry the whole ostrich. May other animals fight to get rid of the problem? A deer runs as fast as it can where as a tiger attacks the problem. Humans have been gifted with advanced consciousness and facility to realize the danger and suffering. With Krishna consciousness he can end all his suffering. But if he prefers to remain in ignorance, closing his eyes or keeping himself busy in material activities, then he is no better than those animals.
Human life is very precious but very rare
If we can count the population of insects, ants, trees, plants, birds, aquatic etc we see that the population of humans is a very small number. All living entities have the same spirit soul and to get a particular animal body is easy. If we have desire of a particular type of animal body, Krishna fulfills this desire easily but to get human birth is very difficult. Example of seeing a white elephant with a pearl on the head is given. At first white elephants are rare. If an elephant remains celibate for 100 years then it develops a pearl on its head. We all know how elephant have a acute weakness for sex. To trap an elephant, the hunter digs a hole on the ground. Then a female elephant is trained to allure the elephant and when the elephant goes after female elephant, female elephant passes from the side of covered hole while make elephant falls straight in the hole. For such species to remain celibate for 100 years is very rare. Another example is given that suppose there is a log floating on the ocean. And there is a turtle swimming somewhere else. Now the log has a hole in the middle. The probability of human birth is as small as the probability that the turtle will put its head through the hole in the log and see outside? We know that turtle withdraw its limbs at the slightest sign of danger. Hence for this curiosity and this braveness to come in turtle is very rare. It’s only on Human birth that one can take up spiritual education or Krishna conscious education. A little endeavor in Krishna consciousness can protect a person from grave danger. It can relieve him permanently from all suffering and take him back to home, back to Krishna. So many lifetimes, birth after birth, we have simply spent in enjoying the senses, and engaging simply in eating, sleeping, sex life and defending. At least one human life one should try to spend in Krishna consciousness. Happiness in Krishna consciousness is many times more than that which can be achieved by any material enjoyment.