Life may be filled with problems, but life is not a problem

When faced with many problems, some people may become depressed, even suicidal, “Life itself is one big problem; I just want to end it through suicide.”

The Bhagavad-gita acknowledges that life can be filled with problems when it refers to the world as an abode of distress (08.15). Despite this starkly negative assessment of the world, the Gita’s overall message is eminently positive because it raises our vision from material problems to spiritual opportunities.

The Gita explains that at our core, we are eternal souls on a multi-life journey of spiritual evolution. We have been transmigrating through various species and have now finally come to the human species. In human life, we have a consciousness that is capable of realizing our spirituality and thereby attaining life and love eternal. And the distresses of material existence are meant to prod us towards spiritual evolution by forcefully reminding us of our incompatibility with matter, of the impossibility of finding enduring happiness in a world where everything is fleeting.

Acknowledging life’s problem-filled nature helps us in focusing on our spiritual evolution. But instead if we see life itself as a problem to be finished through suicide, we err disastrously. Consequently, we incur grave reactions because of the grievous karmic choice of destroying our human body that is a precious divine gift. Moreover, we subject ourselves to spiritual devolution, for we transmigrate to existences with far lesser facility for spiritual understanding.

Whatever our problems, we can rise beyond them if we become conscious of the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna, for he is expert at fixing things externally and internally (18.58).

Thus, both the misperception that life itself is a problem and the reality that life is filled with problems can be most effectively dealt with by cultivating spiritual consciousness.

Think it over:

  1. How is the Gita’s message positive, not negative?
  2. Why is suicide a disastrous error?
  3. How can the distresses of material existence further our spiritual evolution?

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