There are two types of knowledge, ascending and descending. Ascending knowledge means to try to figure something out, to theorize, to research from the perspective of the mind, within the limitations of the material world. A transcendentalist takes shelter of descending knowledge, which comes directly down from the spiritual world, properly transmitted via qualified spiritual authority.

According to the spotless revealed scriptures, there are 8,400,000 species of life. The scientists have not yet discovered every one of these species, but we know this for a fact as it is given in the authorized Vedic literature. Not every species may be present at the same time on every planet, but there are 8,400,000 species of life.

The breakdown is-
900,000 species of aquatics. Fish and other life forms that exist in the water.
2,000,000 species of trees and plants
1,100,000 species of insects and reptiles
1,000,000 species of birds
3,000,000 species of 4 legged creatures
400,000 species of humans

We’ve been born in every one of these species. We’ve had many births in many types of bodies, in many different places, and each time, we’ve identified ourselves with that particular body. We’ve essentially been masquerading. We’re not these temporary bodies, same as we’re not the Halloween costumes that we put on for an evening of fun, an evening of pretend or make-believe, and then try to choose what to wear the next year.

In the animal or insect or plant species, we cannot understand spiritual science. And not every human form is equally capable to hear Absolute Truth. For example, there are aboriginal tribes that are barely above animal consciousness. For those of us in human form capable of listening to this recording or reading the transcript, we have that gift now, to be able to understand Absolute Truth and learn who we really are.

Even in the human form, we’ve been male, female, we’ve had all different colors of skin, we’ve been wealthy, we’ve been poor, we’ve been strong and we’ve been weak, and we’ve lived in many different cultures. We’ve been princes and princesses, kings and queens. We’ve been beggars and common laborers. We’ve lived in the cities, we’ve lived in the country….. We’ve been gods and goddesses and we’ve been demons. We’ve lived on planets where there is great beauty and material opulence, and we’ve lived in situations of great suffering with disfigured forms.

It’s been one costume after another. Same as we’re not these Halloween costumes, we’re not these material bodies. To accept the bodily covering as the self is the same as to accept the costume as the self.

We’re spirit soul, part and parcel of Krsna, God, and we won’t be totally satisfied until we recognize our position and start to realign ourselves with Him and eventually return to the Lord’s eternal abode. The body is temporary, same as the Halloween costume. We’re eternal by nature, and nothing will give satisfaction to the soul other than regaining our God consciousness.
The purpose of human life is to end the ongoing sojourn of birth and death, with its many different types of bodies, so many different temporary costumes, none of which are us. We’re very fortunate to be placed as we are, with ability to hear from authorized sources of spiritual Truth. It’s a very rare opportunity that we have.

The science of how to achieve this topmost goal is outlined in the literatures presented to us by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.