We have our self made this world Duḥkhālayam Aśāśvatam

Hare Krishna.

18th December, 2014, Gurgaon.


Two weeks back HG Bimla Prasad Prabhuji visited ISKCON Gurgaon center and gave a very different lecture on the famous verse of Bhagavad Gita.

mām upetya punar janma
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ (BG 8.15)

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

Prabhuji first asked how many devotees have heard the words ‘duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam’. When not too many hands raised, Prabhuji joked that these are very commonly used words in ISKCON and most of the devotees should have heard them by now. Then instead of explaining and expanding the purport Prabhuji asked the devotees what has been their personal experience of duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam. Prabhuji squarely rejected the standard replies of birth, old age, disease and death and asked devotees to introspect what has been their own individual experience of this world being duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam. Prabhuji stressed that experience is always personal and never general. Prabhuji also stressed that we should not follow blindly and should match what is written in scriptures with our own experience. And only when we see that whatever is written in our scriptures is matching with our experience then our faith becomes solid other wise doubts can creep in.

It was quite an interesting session as usually preachers do not push the devotees in this way. It was quite interesting when Prabhuji said that most of us do not remember our own birth and haven’t faced death and other experiences in life have also not been so bad, in fact life is moving quite well for most of the those present in the hall ! Prabhuji left his lecture with question hanging in the air for us to retrospect.

It got stuck inside me as I realised that I too could not think of what practical experience I can share from my own experience. I really liked the way prabhuji pushed us with questions rather than an answer to force us to think.

As the luck would have it Prabhuji was delivering his regular lectures at Punjabi Bagh temple the day before and I attended it via www.mayapur.tv. In the lecture Prabhuji again mentioned mentioned the word duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam but mentioned that bhakti is performed su-sukham (with joy) BG 9.2. Coincidentally I had used the same verse in my last blog, just a few days back. Prabhuji said that this is world is not a place of misery but we have made it a place of misery by not following Lord’s instructions. If we follow Krishna’s instructions then the life would be blissful. What a wonderful reply.

Today morning as I was chanting my rounds, my past experience which proved that this world is indeed duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam came floating in my mind.

I realised that there were two ways I had earlier made my life duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam and then I tried to match my own experience with few verses from scriptures. Here it goes, two ways by which I did everything wrong in my life

  1. Sense gratification by indulging in

a. Gambling
b. Intoxication
c. Meat eating
d. Illicit sex

Before coming in touch with devotees I broke almost all the above regulations. While trying to enjoy via my senses I never realised that every so called enjoyment was temporary and unsatisfying once it was over, each pleasure was momentary. I never realised that not only my senses remained unsatisfied but they also pull down my consciousness, which was going in a complete downhill trajectory. Also rather than getting satisfied, my senses were getting inflamed, each sense gratification would leave me for hungry for the same. The wait for a sense gratification was more satisfying then that particular pleasure itself. It was as if more is required to douse them but they were acting like a fuel in the fire rather than water!

BG 3.39: Thus the wise living entity’s pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.

  1. No God in my life : The main problem was that there was no place for God in my life. Well there was a god and it was me ! In my early opinion the world revolved around my interests, my satisfaction, my enjoyment! And when I won’t get it then I would become frustrated and angry and when I would get it then it was meant for me anyway and I was ready for more. I had no faith in God, leave aside in any scripture. Subconsciously I hankered for something but didn’t know what it was or what will satisfy it, and in the meantime I jumped from one sense gratification to another.

BG 2.66: One who is not connected with the Supreme [in Kṛṣṇa consciousness] can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?

Later, Bimla Prasad Prabhuji spoke that it is not that the Lord has opened a torture chamber for us and we are being forcefully put into misery. The problem is that we are breaking almost every possible regulation written in our scriptures and letting our greed/lust rule our mind and intelligence, hence we are suffering. So it is we ourselves who have made this world duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam by our own conduct.

It took two lectures by prabhuji for a fool like me to realise what is actually meant by duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam and how by following the Guru, Acharya and scriptures my life has turned less anxious, the senses are a little more controlled and bhakti has made my material life far more satisfying and joyous.

BG 2.70: A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires — that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still — can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.

I also realised that Lord is most merciful and when we take shelter of His name and His devotees, even endeavour to become His devotee then the same material world becomes far more peaceful and satisfying, as we start serving Krishna with our senses.

Srila Prabhupada gives a simple four way formula in his purport of Bhagavad Gita 13.8-12 on how to be happy in this material world

The best process for making the home pleasant is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If one is in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can make his home very happy, because this process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very easy. One need only chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Kṛṣṇa, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship. These four things will make one happy.

It will be, as Srila Prabhupada often writes, make the best use of a bad bargain !!

All glories to HG Bimala Prasad prabhuji.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.