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Material Problems and Spiritual Solutions

Material Problems and Spiritual Solutions

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Published by: rvktirumalai on Sep 22, 2012
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Material Problems and Spiritual SolutionsIntroduction:
Krishna says in Bhagavat Gita (8.15) that this material world is “…dukha alayamasaasvatham…” a place of miseries and temporariness. One may readily agree with the temporary natureof this world because, everything changes with time. Everyone here is subjected to six transformationslike taking birth, grow, live for some time, produce some byproduct, dwindle and vanish. But most of thetime it is difficult for one to understand that this world is full of miseries. This is because we always seek for happiness and want to forget all the miseries quickly. We want to keep only happy memories with us.Hardly anyone is there, who would like to hear about other’s miseries and problems in life. Butnonetheless this world is full of miseries. The temporary cessation of miseries is considered to be thehappiness in the world. Unless one gradually develop a craving for an object or a goal, one will not feelhappiness in attaining it. One may be a very rich man, but if he does not have an appetite for eating, hecannot relish his meal. In the entire life, we do only these two things: Craving for an object and workingtowards it to attain it. We spend a portion of our life in craving i.e. a period of unhappiness and spendanother portion in the sense of happiness of having attained the object or goal. Unless we spend some period in unhappiness, one cannot relish the happiness in this world. Thus we experience only relativehappiness in this world. This is compared to a situation where a person is forced to struggle for breath by immersing him in the water and then letting him out to take breath for a short duration. That personimmediately forgets his suffering inside the water and will think that the short duration of free breathingoutside to be happiness. This is the exact situation, which all of us are undergoing in this world. In thisessay, the root cause of our suffering, its nature, approaches in solving material problems and somespiritual solutions available from vedic literatures are addressed.
Material problems:
All problems in this world can be categorized in to two major divisions namely, Absolute andRelative. The absolute problem is one which is true for all beings and for all time. Relative problemschanges from person to person. If one is able to solve the absolute problem, relative problems does notexist for him. The vedic literatures reveal both absolute and relative problems in great detail along withthe method to overcome them.Absolute problems:The absolute problems described in the vedic literatures are Birth, Death, Old age and Disease.These are all considered as problems because, nobody wants to undergo the pain experienced during birth, death, old age and disease. These problems are considered absolute because nobody is exempt fromthis at any time. The sufferings encountered in these four problems are described in Garuda purana ingreat detail. Some of them are described below.
 Birth:
Most of us do not remember, how much suffering that we have undergone during our birth. The purana describes that one is put inside a dark womb of a mother, with no body to talk to or express thefeelings, not even sufficient space to move or stretch one’s body. Whenever the mother takes acidic food,it burns the soft skin, helplessly experiencing the pain. Also some tiny worms present in the wombconstantly tortures causing untold miseries. At the end of the pregnancy, one undergoes terrible pain in
 
switching over to the new environment by taking birth. Even after taking birth, one has to undergo lot of miseries due to stomach pain, mosquito bites, diseases, etc…and unable to communicate properly to theguardians about the needs. Such is the miserable situation.
 Death:
The same purana describes that death is the most miserable problem in this world. Nobody wantsto die, but one has to face the death independently. Everyone has to face the death alone. Nobody cansay, ‘I am so afraid, I cannot face it’. No. There is no exception. It is said that one experiences a painequivalent to the sting of 40,000 scorpions at a time. Such is the misery.
Old age:
It is described in Srimad Bhagavatam (third canto, thirtieth chapter), about how one executeslife and pass on to the old age and death.“He gives heart and senses to a woman, who falsely charms him with mäyä. He enjoys solitary embracesand talking with her, and he is enchanted by the sweet words of the small children. The attachedhouseholder remains in his family life, which is full of diplomacy and politics. Always spreading miseriesand controlled by acts of sense gratification, he acts just to counteract the reactions of all his miseries, andif he can successfully counteract such miseries, he thinks that he is happy. He secures money bycommitting violence here and there, and although he employs it in the service of his family, he himself eats only a little portion of the food thus purchased, and he goes to hell for those for whom he earned themoney in such an irregular way. Thus the unfortunate man, unsuccessful in maintaining his familymembers, is bereft of all beauty. He always thinks of his failure, grieving very deeply. Seeing himunable to support them, his wife and others do not treat him with the same respect as before. Deformed by the influence of old age, he prepares himself to meet ultimate death. Thus he remains at home just likea pet dog and eats whatever is so negligently given to him. Afflicted with many illnesses, such asdyspepsia and loss of appetite, he eats only very small morsels of food, and he becomes an invalid. Inthat diseased condition, one's eyes bulge due to the pressure of air from within, and his glands becomecongested with mucus. He has difficulty breathing, and upon exhaling and inhaling he produces a soundlike ghura-ghura, a rattling within the throat. In this way he comes under the clutches of death and liesdown, surrounded by lamenting friends and relatives, and although he wants to speak with them, he nolonger can because he is under the control of time. Thus the man, who engaged with uncontrolled sensesin maintaining a family, dies in great grief, seeing his relatives crying. He dies most pathetically, in great pain and without consciousness.”
 Disease:
Uninvitingly diseases come to us. There is no scarcity of diseases in this modern world. Onecan easily observe this from the flourishing medical field. Every street, there is atleast a couple of medical shop. One can just peek in to any hospital to know how much miseries are being hidden there.There is no exception, everybody had to undergo diseases even though we don’t like.Relative problems:Relative problems according to literatures are broadly classified in to three categories namely, (i) miseriescaused by one’s own mind and body, (ii) miseries caused by other’s mind and body, (ii) miseries caused by natural calamities. These problems are relative because, it appears in various degrees to eachindividual and one man’s suffering may be another man’s happiness.
 
(i) Own mind and body: Many times we undergo mind related problems like emotion, depression, fear,ego clashes, etc… and body ailments. One cannot deny, we have to undergo all these problems almosteveryday.(ii) Other’s mind and body: Although sometimes our mind and body do not cause us problems, our relative’s mind or boss’ mind, etc… can cause us problems. Atleast a mosquito may come and bitecausing us some problems.(iii) Natural calamities: Problems like famine, flood, tsunami, earthquake, accidents, etc… causessuffering on us.
Modern science approach in solving problems:
One may say that modern science has given us advancements like T.V, cell phone, aeroplane,motor car, etc… But all these inventions are not solving our problems which we have discussed above.Modern science has only attempted to cover up the actual problems by diverting our attention to thesefascinating gadgets. In fact, none of the above mentioned problems are solved permanently by modernscience. One may argue that science has made great advancement in medical field. It is true, but diseaseshave nonetheless taken different forms even more crucially with advancement in medical field. The pointis modern science approach is consuming lot of our time to cover up the problems rather than to solvethem. At this point, one should realize the importance of the real treasure of India, the vedic literatureswhich we have shamelessly neglected after seeing the fascinating gadgets, the foreigners have broughtinto India during the time of industrial revolution.
Spiritual solutions:
There are innumerable perfect solutions available to lead a perfect life. A few of them are captured for discussion below.Change in educational system:Our entire education system has changed after the industrial invasion. Previously a gurukulsystem was maintained, where the students primarily learns the art of simplicity and respect for elders.Technologies were taught on secondary basis. It was taught only to some well disciplined students. Our ancestors were very intelligent to maintain this type of educational system because they strongly believedthat technology in the wrong hands will create havoc in the society and it will be used for exploitation and pollution. This we can practically see today in terrorism and in industrialization. Only exploitation isgoing on in the name of globalization.Theory of evolution claims that human beings have taken birth from monkeys. Many people believe this theory because they think that they are more intelligent than their ancestors by comparingmerely with the technological development. But the effect of thinking in this way has increaseddisrespect for the elders, thinking them to be technologically foolish. Life is lot more than justtechnological development. Why are we still holding on to this strongly disproved theory of Darwinism?Already, this theory has been disproved as merely a mental speculation and has been completelyeliminated from academics in western countries. Practically we can see the effect of this false theory in

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