See misery as confirmation of scripture – and as impetus to further confirm scripture
Devotee-seekers sometimes ask, “I am living according to scripture, yet I am getting misery. Why?”
The occurrence of misery in our life doesn’t falsify scripture – rather, it verifies scripture.
The Bhagavad-gita (08.15) declares the material world to be a place of misery. This statement is not pessimistic; it is just an unsentimental report of objective reality. While living in this world, we are regularly tormented by psychophysical misery, social misery and environmental misery, and are eventually devastated by disease, old age and death. Worldly propaganda that promises happiness here is simply misleading. The Gita by speaking the unvarnished truth triggers us to start coming out of self-defeating illusion. So when we encounter misery, we can see it as a confirmation of the scriptural verdict about this world and as a demonstration of the falsity of worldly propaganda.
We may understandably protest, “But when I am suffering, I need relief.”
Yes, scripture definitely offers relief. Its pronouncement about this world is a prelude to its essential message: devotional absorption in Krishna provides the supreme fulfillment that relieves us of all misery. Keeping this message in mind, we can see misery as impetus for deepening our devotion: “The initial message of scripture has turned out to be true. Let me investigate if its essential message is also true.”
With this bold, devotionally adventurous spirit, when amidst misery we intensify our remembrance of Krishna, we will experience how devotion raises our consciousness above misery – the misery may exist, but it doesn’t make us so miserable. Being thus elevated above the trouble, we can calmly find the best way to practically deal with it. The Gita (18.58) assures us that Krishna by his mercy will guide us to go beyond problems and to ultimately go beyond the problem-filled material existence.
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