To forget that the world is a hurtful place is to place ourselves on a path full of hurts

Suppose we walk out on a thorny path without any footwear. We will hurt our feet. If someone warns us that the way is thorny, they aren’t being pessimistic; they are simply preparing us for the inevitable.

Similar is the Bhagavad-gita’s warning that the world is a place of distress (08.15). Hurts can come upon us at any moment from our own body and mind, from the people around us and from nature. To prepare ourselves for the hurts of material existence, we need to equip our consciousness with spiritual attachment and absorption. 

Wherever our consciousness is, that’s what we experience most intensely. For example, if we are attached to cricket, then our consciousness may get so caught in a cricket match thousands of miles away that we become oblivious to things and events around us.  Similarly, if we are attached to the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna, we will become so absorbed in him that life’s ups and downs won’t affect us that much. Unfortunately, most of us stay in material consciousness, being captivated by the promise of worldly pleasures. And thus we put ourselves on the path to suffering.

Gita wisdom explains that though we can’t avoid getting hurt in this world, we can resize the hurt. If our consciousness is locked into the world, that hurt gets maximized. If our consciousness has expanded beyond the world, that hurt gets minimized. When our consciousness is thus expanded, we don’t fixate on specific hurts; we need to see the world’s overall nature and seek to spiritualize our consciousness. Then, if and when it is possible, we can work to rectify the specific hurt. 

Most importantly, by striving to spiritualize our consciousness, we can raise ourselves not only above that particular hurt but also become more connected to the one who is the shelter beyond all hurts.


Think it over:

  • When is the Bhagavad-gita’s declaration that the world is a hurtful place not pessimistic? 
  • How does the location of our consciousness determine our experience?
  • How can Gita wisdom help us minimize the world’s hurts?



08.15 After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.

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  1. The WORLD is the WORD with LUST

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