“The miseries of life, namely birth, death, old age and diseases, are present everywhere within the material world. But one who understands his real constitutional position as the eternal servitor of the Lord, and thus knows the position of the Personality of Godhead, engages himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 2.51 Purport)
“It’s not fair that some children in school have friends and others don’t. Do you know how demeaning it is to have everyone else in the class invited to a student’s birthday party except you? How would you feel? No, this should never happen. The stigma from that omission can have lasting negative effects. It is better if we just outlaw any birthday invitations from within the classroom. Also, no more making friends with only certain kids. No one should feel that rejection in the early years.”
“It’s not fair that one team loses and one team wins. These are just kids after all. Sports is meant to be fun. Why should one team feel good after the day and the other feel bad? What are we doing to our children? It is better if we don’t keep score. This way no one’s feelings get hurt. Everyone has a good time and we don’t cause any long-term mental trauma.”
“The tobacco companies need to pay for what has happened to so many smokers. Sure, the consumers made the decision to smoke, knowing full well that the habit wasn’t good for them. But still, the tobacco companies knew what they were doing. They are responsible for so many deaths. They caused so many diseases. Through a class-action lawsuit, there will be some redemption for the victims. The companies owe this money to them.”
“Don’t eat saturated fat. It clogs your arteries and leads to heart disease, which is a leading killer among adults. Don’t fail to exercise properly; otherwise you will become obese, which is another leading cause of death. Eat enough fruits and vegetables every day; otherwise you will be in bad health. Stay away from the fast food restaurants, whose only objective is to earn a profit. They don’t care what they put in their food. If you get cancer and die, they won’t have any concern. They should be forced to be more responsible with their marketing. If it weren’t for them, people would live so much longer.”
In all of the above referenced situations, there is surely some truth to the claims, but the glaring omission is the inevitability of death. If there is really any blame to go around for negative outcomes in life, with the worst outcome being death, then it should lay squarely on the shoulders of birth. As soon as one takes birth, they are guaranteed to die. This is assured. Nothing can be done to stop the eventual death once the birth takes place.
“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.27)
Can we sue birth? Can we put birth on trial? Can we stop birth from taking place?
Delving into this last question will actually get us somewhere. All other attempts will only fail. In professional sports, in the past players often got injured in the head through collisions with other players and with the object of interest, such as the ball or puck. Helmets were then introduced, with the hope that this would solve the problem of head injuries. The result today, however, is that with the added protection players more liberally attack the game, flying at high speeds and colliding even more violently with other players. Concussions are now a major problem, so much so that the behavior in the games is being policed in such a way that there is strong restriction, inhibiting the natural flow of the games.
In human interaction, there are guaranteed to be unpleasant situations. Not everyone will be nice to us. Not everyone will have many friends. Not everyone will be liked. So many will be mocked, ridiculed, made fun of, and belittled. Policing the behavior of others will do little to stop this, as in any human interaction there are bound to be varieties. Have we never belittled someone? Have we never made fun of someone else? Surely we have, and so we are assured to be on the receiving end of the same behavior from time to time.
No matter what foods we eat, we are guaranteed to die. This is just a fact. If you eat carrots your whole life and nothing else, you will die. If you exercise all the time, watch your cholesterol, don’t overexert yourself, and stay level-headed, you will still die. Birth is the real culprit in this death. Others may form the immediate cause, in which case there is just punishment slated for them if they are guilty, but ultimately it is birth in the material land that causes the death.
Only in the spiritual science is there any attempt made to stop birth. It isn’t necessarily recommended that one act like a tree either. “If you don’t want to get hurt, just sit in your room all the time and say nothing. This way you’ll never experience defeat and you’ll never have anyone to blame for your problems.” As this goes against the nature of spirit, there is a better way to end birth and death. It involves tolerating the different situations in life.
“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 2.14)
Summer and winter come and go like clockwork each year, and they each have their pros and cons. The living spirit must tolerate both seasons, in spite of the complaints. I can complain all I want about the heat of the summer, but I still have to live throughout. I have no other option. The same applies to the interactions with other living entities. It must be tolerated; there is no avoidance of the interaction.
How to tolerate it becomes the question. What is the tolerance supposed to bring? Should we all purposefully suffer?
The spiritual consciousness puts an end to birth and death. The spiritual consciousness is the original consciousness, so there is no harm in finding it again. In that pure state, one tolerates heat and cold, happiness and sadness, and praise and ridicule. They more than tolerate it; they are unaffected by it. If you have a higher purpose to fulfill with your actions, the unwanted elements of life will be like little distractions that you won’t want to pay attention to.
How do we regain the spiritual consciousness?
There must be connection with the Supreme Spirit. Only the human being has the ability to connect with Him through conscious action. The animals reach their limit with eating, sleeping, mating and defending. The nonmoving creatures can’t go anywhere. They are stuck where they are. The human being can find God through consultation with authorized works. In those works, the nature of the material land is explained, as well as the certainty of birth, old age, disease and death.
The purpose of birth is also explained. Birth is a way to try our hand at competing with God. As there is no way to surpass God in areas of opulence, birth is guaranteed to bring misery. The time factor erases everything eventually, and so whatever is gained is temporary. The body itself is not permanent, so its degradation and eventual destruction are causes for sadness for the person ignorant of the true nature of spirit.
“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 8.16)
The spiritual world is eternal and full of bliss. There is no birth there. Death does not take place either. Since there is no birth, there is no cause for sadness. There is no blame to go around, because the cause for blame is absent. Seems like a utopian idea based only on faith, but actually a replica of the spiritual atmosphere can be created in the temporary land. This gives a glimpse of the eternal life spent in the association of the Personality of Godhead, the origin of all life.
Nature is nature, there is nothing we can do to change it. We can escape it, however. We can work within its laws to find the best end: residence in the spiritual plane. The spiritual consciousness is best created today through the chanting of the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” It is then strengthened through avoidance of meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. Through such a simple formula all good things are found.
So many problems, like games losing
Disease and friends others choosing.
With such things blame to go around,
Plenty, but initial cause not found.
Birth is what came first,
Then death, condition the worst.
Question then of birth to stop how,
Chant holy names and find answer now.