The World By Itself Is Not Miserable
Posted November 29, 2005
BG 3.28: Prakriti comprises of events caused by interaction of modes (guna gunesu vartate). These events or circumstances create dualities. These dualities in Gita are referred as " hsukh and dukh ie. happiness and distress", "labha and alabha ie. profit and loss", " jaya and ajaya ie. victory and defeat", "satrau and mitrau i.e enemy and friend", "ninda and stuti ie. criticism and praise", "sensory pain and pleasure" and so on.
Mind, intelligence, false ego and senses interact with these events and circumstances. The way we see these interactions is dependent on kind of filtering mechanism used by our mind/ self or in other words our spiritual advancement.
These interactions can be perceived as follows:
1) These events and circumstances can cause suffering to living entity which is also referred as dukh. This is distorted way to react to these events or circumstances.
2) These events and circumstances can cause happiness to living entity which is also referred as sukh. Surprisingly, Gita states that this is also distorted way to react to these events or circumstances.
3) These events and circumstances can also not affect our state of mind and self. Such person is equanimous in duality. He does not react to duality and lets it go. Gita states that this is right way to interact with duality ie. with equanimity. The state of mind of such person is independent of external environment.
4) Gita states that the state of mind/self should be inwards. Such state is referred as atma-ratih and atma-traptih which means the state where one derives bliss and satisfaction from within.
1 or 2 stages are undesirable.
3 is state of neutrality.
4 is state of spiritual advancement.
As we advance in bhakti, stage 1 and 2 are reduced and stage 3 and 4 are increased. Most difficult is to advance is stage 4. Bhakti is a gradual process where reduction of stage 1 and 2 and increase of stage 3 and 4 go together.
The kind of filtering mechanism used to achieve state where one's own self is independent of external environment and happy from within is called karma-yoga, sankhya-yoga, jnana-yoga and bhakti-yoga . The goal and the end result of these yogic paths is same (BG 5.4 ).
The material world has dualities. But the distorted way we react to world make us miserable. The world by itself is not miserable.
Many times due to depressive thoughts people want to escape or run away from this world (e.g. suicidal thoughts or attempts of suicide). In spirituality, that tendency is reflected in denying the present life and focussing on life after death which is claimed to be free of miseries ( e.g. Vaikuntha).
Unfortunately, Bhagavat Gita states that such person who are full of
miseries in present life cannot spiritually advance to Vaikuntha. First,
they need to advance to state of equanimity where they are unaffected by
duality. In such state, they won't see world as miserable. Until we see
world as miserable and don't act with equanimity, we remain as neophyte
devotees. BG 2.15: The person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress
and is equanimous in happiness and distress becomes eligible for moksha or