Life in this material world is just like an ocean of ignorance. We are in the midst of this terrible ocean, which has been tossing us in the repeated cycle of birth and death from time immemorial. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu addresses this ocean as “bhavāmbudhau”, ocean of birth and death, in His siksastakam prayers.
Ignorance is caused by forgetfulness of our transcendental constitutional position and relationship with Krishna. By nature we are joyful. In the Vedanta-sutra we will find that the nature of spirit is anandamaya, full of bliss. And in the Brahma-samhita [5.1] it is said: “Krsna is the supreme controller, and His form is composed of eternity, knowledge and bliss.” We are all fragmental portions of Krsna, the Supreme Lord. Therefore, because He is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss, we are also eternal and full of knowledge and bliss. However, our experience in this material world is not always blissful. On the contrary, it is full of miseries due to our ignorance.
Miseries are of three types: The ‘happy’ materialistic person is constantly having to endure the threefold miseries of life:
Srila Prabhupada mentions in his purport to SB 5.14.25 – “Actually no one can counteract these threefold miseries. All three may assail one at one time, or one misery may be absent and the other present. Thus the living entity is full of anxiety, fearing misery from one side or the other. The conditioned soul must be disturbed by at least one of these three miseries. There is no escape.”
What causes this misery? “Material sense pleasures are due to contact of the material senses with sense objects.” (BG 5.22 purport). Such pleasures are temporary as they have a beginning and an end. If we engage ourselves more in such pleasures, they affect our health and cause misery. For instance, if we like to eat junk food excessively to satisfy our tongue, we may become overweight and increase our risk of developing conditions such as diabetes and blood pressure. Our desires and actions to engage in such pleasures are in fact the sources of our misery as we struggle to make the necessary arrangements and feel miserable when they end. All these miseries in each lifetime combined with birth, old age, disease and death form a terrible ocean with so many dangerous waves and creatures that trap the living entity.
For one who has fallen in the middle of an ocean, it is not possible to tell where the shore is. This material world is compared to the ocean as we have been repeatedly caught in the waves of birth and death for a long time. We have no idea when or where we began the journey and where the shore is. In the ocean, however expert a swimmer may be, the struggle for existence is very severe. In the absence of a boat or a ship, one who has fallen in the middle of the ocean cannot survive. No matter how comfortable he tries to make his stay in the ocean, he cannot succeed consistently. Even though there are a few moments when the waves and creatures in the ocean are not pestering him, such peace is short-lived and he is completely at the mercy of the ocean. We try for lasting happiness and it might seem to be just around the corner, however it always ends up being temporary. Houses, spouses, factories, lotteries, jobs, shops, wealth and health may give us that flickering happiness after a lot of hankering and struggle. Yet they cannot save us from death. So how can we find relief from such miseries and attain lasting happiness?
Srimad Bhagavatam 4.24.75 reveals the secret – “In this material world there are different types of achievement, but of all of them, the achievement of knowledge is considered to be the highest because one can cross the ocean of nescience only on the boat of knowledge. Otherwise the ocean is impassable.”
We are suffering due to ignorance. What we desperately need is a boat of knowledge.
Also, in Bhagavad Gita 4.36, Lord Sri Krishna compares the transcendental knowledge to the boat, – “…when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge, you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.” By cultivating the knowledge of Krishna Consciousness, one can be rest assured that he will be delivered from this material ocean. By our own efforts, it is impossible to cross this ocean. Somehow, if we are situated on a boat then very easily we can cross this ocean.
This can be very easily achieved by systematically and scruitinizingly studying Srila Prabhupada’s books every day. Proper understanding of one’s constitutional position in relationship to Krsna is so nice that it can at once lift one from the struggle of existence which is going on in this material ocean from time immemorial.
Mayapur institute assists you in gaining this transcendental knowledge. It would pave the path for you to board the boat of transcendental knowledge by in-depth analytical study of Srila Prabhupada’s books facilitated by sincere practitioners. This winter, take a step now and board into this boat of transcendental knowledge by enrolling for different courses.
To enroll for different courses please visit – http://mayapurinstitute.org/course/