Distress is not due to the nature of nature but due to our disharmony with nature

Suppose we get a warning that the weather outside is freezing cold. If we still venture out without wearing any warm clothes, we will naturally feel afflicted. But is the weather the cause of our distress? No, we are; more precisely, our choice to go out in that weather without warm clothes is.

Similarly, the Bhagavad-gita (08.15) offers us a cautionary note about the nature of the world we live in: it is a place of distress. Does that mean we all are condemned to live in distress lifelong? No, the Gita itself was spoken to relieve Arjuna’s distress. On hearing the Gita, he regained his composure and harmonized himself with divine will (18.73).

In fact, inspiring everyone to harmonize with divine will is the Gita’s central message. It explains that we are at by our nature joyful beings, for we are souls, parts of the all-joyful supreme soul, God, Krishna. We can relish our innate joyfulness by lovingly harmonizing with him. Unfortunately, we are presently living in disharmony. Neglecting our divine connection, we are seeking worldly gratification and getting the consequent repetition of birth and death with its attendant distresses. These distresses are caused by our disharmony with our nature, not by material nature itself.

In fact, material nature is designed to serve as an arena for us to harmonize with Krishna. When we strive to serve him and to use our material resources in a mood of service to him, we harmonize with both our spiritual nature and the purpose of material nature. By such harmony, we minimize much material distress, and we access spiritual happiness that makes unavoidable distress bearable.

Rather than resent distress or resign to distress, we can rise beyond it by absorbing our consciousness in Krishna.

Think it over:

  1. What is the purpose of the Gita’s declaration that this world is a place of distress?
  2. What is the root cause of our distress?
  3. How does harmonizing with Krishna help us deal with distress?

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