Why Do We Suffer?

SB 1.17.17

Dharma said:

“Such words which remove the fear of those who suffer are very befitting of a Pāṇḍava. These good qualities made All-Attractive Krishna become submissive to you.

18-20

“We don’t really know what the real cause of our suffering is, O great man. There are many confusing opinions about it.

 “The competent who are free from doubt declare that the self is responsible for the self. Others think the responsibility lies with the gods. Someone else thinks it is a cause and effect of nature. And still others think this is beyond our mental and intellectual capability to understand. O philosopher-king, form your own opinion of which of these is best.

Parīkṣit asked Dharma, “Who broke your legs?”

Dharma replies, “There are many different opinions.”

Who is responsible for our suffering? Some say no one is responsible; it is merely a chance event – a random cause and effect of nature. Others say it is a result of divine, celestial powers toying with our destiny. Others are simply confused and say there is no way of knowing for sure.

But competent thinkers who are free from doubt declare simply, “You are responsible for yourself!”

Our own freewill creates our own destiny. Dharma says, “You are responsible for your own destiny, because the self-of-the-self holds you responsible.”

Who holds us responsible for our choices? The “self-of-the-self,” Godhead, the Supersoul does. God is good. So know it clearly and without doubt that nothing in your destiny is harmful, even if it is painful. As Parīkṣit said, that which is good should be rewarded and that which is otherwise should be punished to curb it down. A leader should follow this principle. The ultimate king and leader of all living beings, Godhead does. The self-of-the-self rewards what is selfless in our free choices, and punishes what is selfish, to curb it down.

We create our destiny and the divine soul within enforces it.

Dharma’s answer to the question, “Who broke your legs?” is extremely interesting. “It is just destiny which has broken my legs,” he answers. “This evil man is not the true cause.”

Although the evil man is not the ultimate cause of Dharma’s pain, he is still instrumental in it. Therefore he is not absolved from punishment, and Parīkṣit is about to raise his sword to slay him! Any good leader must punish and curb down all those who are instrumental in causing harm to the harmless. This is more for the benefit of the offender than the offended, for it dissuades the lawless from behaving in a manner which creates their own dismal destiny.

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About Vraja Kishor

Invoved in Hare Krishna and Hardcore Punk since 1988 (Beyond, Inside Out, Shelter, 108). From 1992, I studied Bhagavat Gītā and Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu at the Vṛndāvan Institute for Higher Education; became headmaster and temple-president in 1995; and finally distanced myself from ISKCON in 1997, setting out to start a family. In 2009 we moved to Japan, where I continued my astrology practice and began teaching English and studying Sanskrit and the Ṣaḍ-sandarbha. To date I've written about a dozen books. You can find out about them and the study courses I offer, on my website: http://vrajakishor.com View all posts by Vraja Kishor

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