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Threefold miseries (CC and other books)

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Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Adi-lila

The great scripture Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam propounds the highest principle of eternal religion, which can factually mitigate the threefold miseries of a living being and award the highest benediction of full prosperity and knowledge.
CC Adi 1.91, Purport:

"The great scripture Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, compiled by Mahā-muni Vyāsadeva from four original verses, describes the most elevated and kindhearted devotees and completely rejects the cheating ways of materially motivated religiosity. It propounds the highest principle of eternal religion, which can factually mitigate the threefold miseries of a living being and award the highest benediction of full prosperity and knowledge. Those willing to hear the message of this scripture in a submissive attitude of service can at once capture the Supreme Lord in their hearts. Therefore there is no need for any scripture other than Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.""

None of the above-mentioned three religious paths can deliver a person from the threefold miseries of material existence.
CC Adi 1.91, Purport, Purport:

None of the above-mentioned three religious paths can deliver a person from the threefold miseries of material existence, namely, miseries caused by the body and mind, miseries caused by other living entities, and miseries caused by the demigods. The process of religion described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, however, is able to give its followers permanent relief from the threefold miseries. The Bhāgavatam describes the highest religious form—reinstatement of the living entity in his original position of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord, which is free from the infections of desires for sense gratification, fruitive work, and the culture of knowledge with the aim of merging into the Absolute to become one with the Supreme Lord.

The conditioned souls, who remain within the material cosmic creation, are subjected to the threefold miseries and pangs of material nature.
CC Adi 2.36, Purport:

The cosmic manifestation is generated by the interaction of the three modes of material nature. The transcendental world has no such material modes, although it is nevertheless full of spiritual variegatedness. In that spiritual world there are also innumerable living entities, who are eternally liberated souls engaged in transcendental loving service to Lord Kṛṣṇa. The conditioned souls, who remain within the material cosmic creation, are subjected to the threefold miseries and pangs of material nature. They exist in different species of life because they are eternally averse to transcendental loving devotion to the Supreme Lord.

Such illusioned leaders make plans covering any number of years, but they can hardly make humanity happy in a state conditioned by the threefold miseries inflicted by material nature.
CC Adi 5.20, Purport:

Foolish persons engrossed in their material assets are unnecessarily proud of being leaders of the people, but they ignore the spiritual value of man. Such illusioned leaders make plans covering any number of years, but they can hardly make humanity happy in a state conditioned by the threefold miseries inflicted by material nature. One cannot control the laws of nature by any amount of struggling. One must at last be subject to death, nature's ultimate law. Death, birth, old age and illness are symptoms of the diseased condition of the living being. The highest aim of human life should therefore be to get free from these miseries and go back home, back to Godhead.

Misuse of this freedom causes one to fall down into the material world and suffer the threefold miseries of conditioned life.
CC Adi 5.22, Purport:

As already discussed, the material body is just a covering of the spiritual soul. Mind and intelligence are the undercoverings, and the gross body of earth, water, air and so on is the overcoating of the soul. As such, any advanced soul who has realized himself by the yogic process, who knows the relationship between matter and spirit, can leave the gross dress of the soul in perfect order and as he desires. By the grace of God, we have complete freedom. Because the Lord is kind to us, we can live anywhere—either in the spiritual sky or in the material sky, upon whichever planet we desire. However, misuse of this freedom causes one to fall down into the material world and suffer the threefold miseries of conditioned life. The living of a miserable life in the material world by dint of the soul's choice is nicely illustrated by Milton in Paradise Lost. Similarly, by choice the soul can regain paradise and return home, back to Godhead.

The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries.
CC Adi 7.144, Purport:

"Completely rejecting all religions which are materially motivated, the Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries." Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra, is meant for paramo nirmatsarāṇām, those who are completely aloof from jealousy. Māyāvādī philosophers are jealous of the existence of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Vedānta-sūtra is not actually meant for them. They unnecessarily poke their noses into the Vedanta-sūtra, but they have no ability to understand it because, as the author of the Vedānta-sūtra writes in his commentary, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it is meant for those who are pure in heart (paramo nirmatsarāṇām (SB 1.1.2)).

CC Madhya-lila

CC Madhya 6.155, Translation:

“‘O King, the kṣetra-jña-śakti is the living entity. Although he has the facility to live in either the material or spiritual world, he suffers the threefold miseries of material existence because he is influenced by the avidyā (nescience) potency, which covers his constitutional position.

The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries.
CC Madhya 8.90, Purport:

"Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Śrī Vyāsadeva, is sufficient in itself for God realization. As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, he becomes attached to the Supreme Lord."

Those who aspire after liberation attempt to merge into the impersonal Brahman. To this end they execute ritualistic religious ceremonies, but Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam considers this a cheating process. Indeed, such people can never dream of returning home, back to Godhead. There is a gulf of difference between the goal of dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa and the goal of devotional service.

The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries.
CC Madhya 9.261, Purport:

"Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Śrī Vyāsadeva, is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart." This verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam rejects as cheating processes all religious activities that aim at achieving materialistic goals, including dharma, artha, kāma and even mokṣa, or liberation.

CC Madhya 18.114, Translation:

“"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller, is always full of transcendental bliss and is accompanied by the potencies known as hlādinī and saṁvit. The conditioned soul, however, is always covered by ignorance and embarrassed by the threefold miseries of life. Thus he is a treasure-house of all kinds of tribulations."

Such a person may be elevated to the higher planetary systems, but because he remains within the material world, he is subjected to the threefold material miseries.
CC Madhya 19.161, Translation and Purport:

“As soon as an intelligent devotee sees an unwanted creeper growing beside the original creeper, he must cut it down instantly. Then the real creeper, the bhakti-latā, grows nicely, returns home, back to Godhead, and seeks shelter under the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.

If one is misled by unwanted creepers and is victimized, he cannot make progress back to Godhead. Rather, he remains within the material world and engages in activities having nothing to do with pure devotional service. Such a person may be elevated to the higher planetary systems, but because he remains within the material world, he is subjected to the threefold material miseries.

The threefold material miseries are miseries arising from the body and the mind, miseries arising from dealings with other living entities, and miseries arising from natural disturbances.
CC Madhya 20.102, Translation and Purport:

“Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? If I do not know this, how can I be benefited?

The threefold material miseries are miseries arising from the body and the mind, miseries arising from dealings with other living entities, and miseries arising from natural disturbances. Sometimes we suffer bodily when we are attacked by a fever, and sometimes we suffer mentally when a close relative dies. Other living entities also cause us misery. There are living entities born of the human embryo, of eggs, perspiration and vegetation. Miserable conditions brought about by natural catastrophes are controlled by the higher demigods. There may be severe cold or thunderbolts, or a person may be haunted by ghosts. These threefold miseries are always before us, and they entrap us in a dangerous situation. Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām (SB 10.14.58). There is danger in every step of life.

CC Madhya 20.104, Translation:

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “Lord Kṛṣṇa has bestowed His full mercy upon you so that all these things are known to you. For you, the threefold miseries certainly do not exist.

CC Madhya 20.114, Translation and Purport:

“‘O King, the kṣetra-jña-śakti is the living entity. Although he has the facility to live in either the material or the spiritual world, he suffers the threefold miseries of material existence because he is influenced by the avidyā (nescience) potency, which covers his constitutional position.

This and the following verse are also quoted from the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (6.7.62–63). For an explanation, see Madhya-līlā, Chapter 6, verses 155–156.

Thinking that he is enjoying the material world, the conditioned soul suffers the threefold miseries of material existence.
CC Madhya 20.120, Purport:

A conditioned soul is one who has forgotten Kṛṣṇa as his eternal master. Thinking that he is enjoying the material world, the conditioned soul suffers the threefold miseries of material existence. Saintly persons (sādhus), Vaiṣṇava devotees of the Lord, preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness on the basis of the Vedic literature. It is only by their mercy that the conditioned soul is awakened to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. When awakened, he is no longer eager to enjoy the materialistic way of life. Instead, he devotes himself to the loving transcendental service of the Lord.

The living entity in conditioned life is always distressed by the threefold miseries of material existence.
CC Madhya 20.127, Purport:

Sometimes we go to an astrologer or palmist when we are in a distressed condition or when we want to know the future. The living entity in conditioned life is always distressed by the threefold miseries of material existence. Under the circumstances, he is inquisitive about his position. For instance, Sanātana Gosvāmī approached the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, to ask Him why he was in a distressed condition. This is the position of all conditioned souls. We are always in a distressed condition, and an intelligent man naturally becomes inquisitive. This position is called brahma-jijñāsā. Athāto brahma jijñāsā (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.1). Brahma here refers to the Vedic literature. One should consult the Vedic literature to know why the conditioned soul is always in a distressed condition. The Vedic literatures are meant to free the conditioned soul from the miserable conditions of material existence. In this chapter, the story of the astrologer Sarvajña and the poor man is very instructive.

CC Madhya 22.13, Translation:

“Due to his being opposed to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the conditioned soul is punished by the witch of the external energy, māyā. He is thus ready to suffer the threefold miseries—miseries brought about by the body and mind, the inimical behavior of other living entities and natural disturbances caused by the demigods.

CC Madhya 22.14-15, Purport:

Due to being conditioned by the external energy, the conditioned soul within this material world gets two kinds of bodies—a gross material body and a subtle material body composed of mind, intelligence and ego. Due to the gross and subtle bodies, he is subjected to the threefold miseries (ādhyātmika, ādhibhautika and ādhidaivika), miseries arising from the body and mind, other living entities and natural disturbances caused by demigods from higher planetary systems. The conditioned soul subjected to the threefold material miseries is ceaselessly kicked by māyā, and this is his disease. If by chance he meets a saintly person who works on Kṛṣṇa's behalf to deliver conditioned souls, and if he agrees to abide by his order, he can gradually approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.

CC Madhya 24.100, Translation:

“"The great scripture Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, compiled by Mahāmuni Vyāsadeva from four original verses, describes the most elevated and kindhearted devotees and completely rejects the cheating ways of materially motivated religiosity. It propounds the highest principle of eternal religion, which can factually mitigate the threefold miseries of a living being and award the highest benediction of full prosperity and knowledge. Those willing to hear the message of this scripture in a submissive attitude of service can at once capture the Supreme Lord in their hearts. Therefore there is no need for any scripture other than Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam."

CC Madhya 25.149, Translation:

“"Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyāsadeva (in his maturity), is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart."

CC Antya-lila

CC Antya 5.127, Translation:

""The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller, is always full of transcendental bliss and is accompanied by the potencies known as hlādinī and samvit. The conditioned soul, however, is always covered by ignorance and embarrassed by the threefold miseries of life. Thus he is a treasure house of all kinds of tribulations.""

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Teachings of Lord Caitanya

Sanātana further inquired, "Who am I? Why are the threefold miseries always giving me trouble? And finally, tell me how I can be relieved from this material entanglement? I do not know how to question You about the advancement of spiritual life, but I beg that You kindly, mercifully, let me know everything that I need know."
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 3:

By this plea, we can understand that liberation is not the final word in perfection. There must be activities in liberation. Sanātana clearly says, "You have saved me from the material existence. Now, after liberation, what is my duty?" Sanātana further inquired, "Who am I? Why are the threefold miseries always giving me trouble? And finally, tell me how I can be relieved from this material entanglement? I do not know how to question You about the advancement of spiritual life, but I beg that You kindly, mercifully, let me know everything that I need know."

This is the process of accepting a spiritual master. One should approach a spiritual master, humbly submit to him and then inquire from him about one's spiritual progress.

In conformity to that spiritual process, Sanātana has already asked, "What am I, and why am I suffering from the threefold miseries?" The threefold miseries are called adhyātmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 3:

It is the duty of a disciple approaching a spiritual master to inquire about his constitutional position. In conformity to that spiritual process, Sanātana has already asked, "What am I, and why am I suffering from the threefold miseries?" The threefold miseries are called adhyātmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika. The word adhyātmika refers to those miseries caused by the mind and body. Sometimes the living entity suffers bodily, and sometimes he is distressed mentally. Both are adhyātmika miseries. We experience these miseries even in the womb of our mother. As we well know, there are many types of miseries that take advantage of the delicate human body and give us pain. Miseries inflicted by other living entities are called adhibhautika. These living entities need not even be large, for there are many—such as bugs—that can make us miserable even while we are sleeping in bed.

Although he was known by the masses of people as a greatly learned man (and actually he was a highly learned Sanskrit scholar), and although he accepted this designation, he did not actually know what his constitutional position really was and just why he was subjected to the threefold miseries.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 3:

Sanātana's inquiry was therefore an intelligent one. "What is the position of the living entities?" he asked. "Why are they always undergoing these three kinds of miseries?" Sanātana had admitted his weakness. Although he was known by the masses of people as a greatly learned man (and actually he was a highly learned Sanskrit scholar), and although he accepted this designation, he did not actually know what his constitutional position really was and just why he was subjected to the threefold miseries.

Approaching a spiritual master is not just a fashion but is a necessity for one who is seriously conscious of the material miseries and who wants to be free of them. It is the duty of such a person to approach a spiritual master. In this regard, we should note similar circumstances in Bhagavad-gītā. When Arjuna was perplexed by so many problems involving whether to fight or not, he accepted Lord Kṛṣṇa as his spiritual master. It was also a case of the supreme spiritual master instructing Arjuna about the constitutional position of the living entity.

In Bhagavad-gītā we are informed that the constitutional nature of the individual entity is spirit soul. He is not matter. As spirit soul, he is part and parcel of the supreme soul, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead. We also learn that it is the duty of the spirit soul to surrender, for only then can he be happy. The last instruction of Bhagavad-gītā is that the spirit soul surrender completely unto the supreme soul, Kṛṣṇa, and in that way realize happiness.

Those who are eternally conditioned are always divorced from the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa and are thus subjected to the threefold miseries of material existence.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 10:

Eternally liberated living entities never come into contact with material nature, and therefore they do not have any experience of material life. They are eternally engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or devotional service to the Lord, and they are counted among the associates of Kṛṣṇa. Their pleasure, the only enjoyment of their life, is derived from rendering transcendental loving service to Kṛṣṇa. On the other hand, those who are eternally conditioned are always divorced from the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa and are thus subjected to the threefold miseries of material existence. Due to the conditioned soul's eternal attitude of separation from Kṛṣṇa, the spell of material energy awards him two kinds of bodily existence—the gross body consisting of five elements, and the subtle body consisting of mind, intelligence and ego. Being covered by these two bodies, the conditioned soul eternally suffers the pangs of material existence known as the threefold miseries. He is also subjected to six enemies (such as lust, anger, etc.). Such is the everlasting disease of the conditioned soul.

When a living entity is dominated by a desire for material enjoyment and becomes entangled in material life, he is subjected to the threefold miseries of material existence.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 17:

Due to the propensity for material enjoyment, the living entity becomes contaminated by the material world. When a living entity is dominated by a desire for material enjoyment and becomes entangled in material life, he is subjected to the threefold miseries of material existence. He is just like a seed sown in the earth. If a seed is overpowered by too much water, there is no possibility of its fructifying. Similarly, if a man is captivated by material enjoyment, and even if the seed of such enjoyment is within the heart of the conditioned soul, he can be overpowered by a flood of transcendental activities performed in love of God. In this way his potential seed cannot fructify into a conditional life of material existence. The conditioned living entities in the material world, especially in the present age of Kali, are overpowered by the flood of love of God inaugurated by Lord Caitanya and His associates.

By understanding the Lord's simultaneous oneness with and difference from His creation, one can immediately attain freedom from the threefold miseries—miseries inflicted by the body and mind, by other living entities and by acts of nature.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 23:

Mental speculators mislead people by establishing the energy of the Lord as absolute, but when the truth of simultaneous oneness and difference is understood, the imperfect concepts of monism and dualism cease to satisfy. By understanding the Lord's simultaneous oneness with and difference from His creation, one can immediately attain freedom from the threefold miseries—miseries inflicted by the body and mind, by other living entities and by acts of nature.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins with the surrender of the living entity unto the Absolute Person. This surrender is made with clear consciousness and awareness of the devotee's oneness with the Absolute, and, at the same time, of his eternal position of servitorship. In the material conception, one thinks himself to be the Lord of all he surveys; consequently he is always troubled by the threefold miseries of life. As soon as one comes to know his real position in transcendental service, he at once becomes freed from all these miseries. The position of servitor is wasted in the material conception of life.

Due to his material inebriety, the living entity in the marginal position becomes entangled with the inferior energy, matter. At such a time he forgets his spiritual significance, identifies himself with material energy and thereby becomes subjected to the threefold miseries.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 25:

According to the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (6.7.61-3), the living entities are considered kṣetrajña energy. Although the living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and is fully cognizant, he nonetheless becomes entrapped by material contamination and suffers all the miseries of material life. Such living entities live in different ways in accordance to the degree of their entanglement in material nature. The original energy of the Supreme Lord is spiritual and nondifferent from the Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead. The living entity is called the marginal energy of the Supreme Lord, and the material energy is called the inferior energy. Due to his material inebriety, the living entity in the marginal position becomes entangled with the inferior energy, matter. At such a time he forgets his spiritual significance, identifies himself with material energy and thereby becomes subjected to the threefold miseries. Only when he is free from such material contamination can he be situated in his proper position.

As long as he is forgetful of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who witnesses all his activities, he is subjected to the threefold miseries.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 25:

In the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad it is stated that there are two birds sitting on the same tree, and one of these birds is eating the fruit of this tree while the other bird is simply witnessing his activities. Only when the bird eating the fruit looks at the other bird does he become free from all anxieties. This is the position of the infinitesimal living entity. As long as he is forgetful of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who witnesses all his activities, he is subjected to the threefold miseries. But when he looks to the Supreme Lord and becomes the Supreme Lord's devotee, he becomes free from all anxieties and material miseries. The living entity is eternally subordinate to the Supreme Lord; the Supreme Lord is always the master of all energies, whereas the living entity is always under the domination of the Lord's energies. Although qualitatively one with the Supreme Lord, the living entity has the tendency to lord it over material nature; however, being infinitesimal, he is actually controlled by material nature. Thus the living entity is called the marginal potency of the Lord.

Nectar of Instruction

Indeed, all living entities within this material world are under the control of mahāmāyā, whose business is to subject them to the influence of threefold miseries.
Nectar of Instruction 2, Purport:

Indeed, all living entities within this material world are under the control of mahāmāyā, whose business is to subject them to the influence of threefold miseries: adhidaivika-kleśa (sufferings caused by the demigods, such as droughts, earthquakes and storms), adhibhautika-kleśa (sufferings caused by other living entities like insects or enemies), and adhyātmika-kleśa (sufferings caused by one's own body and mind, such as mental and physical infirmities). Daiva-bhūtātma-hetavaḥ: the conditioned souls, subjected to these three miseries by the control of the external energy, suffer various difficulties.

The main problem confronting the conditioned souls is the repetition of birth, old age, disease and death. In the material world one has to work for the maintenance of the body and soul, but how can one perform such work in a way that is favorable for the execution of Kṛṣṇa consciousness?

Easy Journey to Other Planets

Misuse of this freedom causes one to fall down into the material world and suffer the threefold miseries of conditioned life.
Easy Journey to Other Planets 1:

For the perfect yogī who has attained success in the method of leaving his body in perfect consciousness, transferring from one planet to another is as easy as an ordinary man's walking to the grocery store. As already discussed, the material body is just a covering of the spiritual soul. Mind and intelligence are the undercoverings, and the gross body of earth, water, air, etc., is the overcoating of the soul. As such, any advanced soul who has realized himself by the yogic process, who knows the relationship between matter and spirit, can leave the gross dress of the soul in perfect order and as he desires. By the grace of God, we have complete freedom. Because the Lord is kind to us, we can live anywhere—either in the spiritual sky or in the material sky, upon whichever planet we desire. However, misuse of this freedom causes one to fall down into the material world and suffer the threefold miseries of conditioned life. The living of a miserable life in the material world by dint of the soul's choice is nicely illustrated by Milton in Paradise Lost. Similarly, by choice the soul can regain paradise and return home, back to Godhead.

The human being should be cognizant of suffering the threefold miseries of this planet.
Easy Journey to Other Planets 2:

Suffering without knowledge, without remedy, is animal life. One who cannot understand that he is suffering and who thinks that he is very well off is in animal consciousness, not human consciousness. The human being should be cognizant of suffering the threefold miseries of this planet. One should know that he is suffering in birth, suffering in death, suffering in old age and suffering in disease, and one should be inquisitive as to how he may avoid the suffering. That is real research work.

We have suffered from the beginning of our birth. As a baby, the human being is tightly placed in the abdomen of the mother in an airtight bag for nine months. He cannot even move, there are insects biting him, and he cannot protest. After the child comes out, the suffering continues. The mother undoubtedly takes much care, but still the child cries because he is suffering. There are bugs biting or there are pains in his stomach; the child is crying, and the mother does not know how to pacify him.

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

All the cowherd men, including Nanda Mahārāja, used to talk of the wonderful activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, and they were always so much absorbed in those talks that they forgot the threefold miseries of this material existence.
Krsna Book 11:

All the cowherd men, including Nanda Mahārāja, used to talk of the wonderful activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, and they were always so much absorbed in those talks that they forgot the threefold miseries of this material existence. This is the effect of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. What was enjoyed five thousand years ago by Nanda Mahārāja can still be enjoyed by Kṛṣṇa conscious persons simply by talking about the transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and His associates.

Thus Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa enjoyed Their childhood pastimes, imitating Lord Rāmacandra's monkeys, who constructed the bridge over the ocean, and Hanumān, who jumped over the water to Ceylon. They used to imitate such pastimes among Their friends and so happily passed Their childhood life.

The material body is always full of threefold miseries, but Your body is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha: (Bs. 5.1) full of bliss, knowledge and eternality.
Krsna Book 14:

“Because You are the original person, You are described in the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad, as well as in the Brahma-saṁhitā, as govindam ādi-puruṣam. Govinda is the original person, the cause of all causes. In the Bhagavad-gītā also it is stated that You are the source of the Brahman effulgence. No one should conclude that Your body is like an ordinary material body. Your body is akṣara, indestructible. The material body is always full of threefold miseries, but Your body is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha: (Bs. 5.1) full of bliss, knowledge and eternality. You are also nirañjana because Your pastimes, as the little son of mother Yaśodā or the lover of the gopīs, are never contaminated by the material qualities. And although You exhibited Yourself as so many cowherd boys and calves, Your transcendental potency was not reduced. You are always complete. As it is described in the Vedic literature, even if the complete is taken away from the complete—the Supreme Absolute Truth—it remains the complete Supreme Absolute Truth.

If we keep our minds always absorbed in fruitive activities for material enjoyment, then naturally at the time of death we shall think of such activities and again be forced to enter material, conditioned bodies to suffer the threefold miseries of material existence.
Krsna Book 46:

This is the result of Kṛṣṇa conscious practice. If we practice Kṛṣṇa consciousness in this present body while in a healthy condition and in good mind, simply by chanting the holy mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, we will have every possibility of fixing the mind upon Kṛṣṇa at the time of death. If we do this, then our lives become successful without any doubt. But if we keep our minds always absorbed in fruitive activities for material enjoyment, then naturally at the time of death we shall think of such activities and again be forced to enter material, conditioned bodies to suffer the threefold miseries of material existence. Therefore, to remain always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness was the standard of the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, as exhibited by Mahārāja Nanda, Yaśodā and the gopīs. If we can simply follow in their footsteps, even to a minute proportion, our lives will surely become successful, and we shall enter the spiritual kingdom, Vaikuṇṭha.

For many, many births I have been suffering from the threefold miseries of this material existence, and I am now tired of it.
Krsna Book 51:

"For many, many births I have been suffering from the threefold miseries of this material existence, and I am now tired of it. I have been impelled only by my senses, and I was never satisfied. I therefore take shelter of Your lotus feet, which are the source of all peaceful life and which can eradicate all lamentation caused by material contamination. My dear Lord, You are the Supersoul of everyone, and You can understand everything. Now I am free from all contamination of material desire. I do not wish to enjoy this material world, nor do I wish to take advantage of merging into Your spiritual effulgence, nor do I wish to meditate upon Your localized aspect of Paramātmā, for I know that simply by taking shelter of You, I shall become completely peaceful and undisturbed."

They embrace the threefold miseries of material existence and are subjected to the dualities of pain and pleasure, sometimes drowning in the ocean of attachment and sometimes being taken out of it.
Krsna Book 63:

“On a cloudy day, to the common man's eyes the sun appears to be covered. But the fact is that because the sunshine creates the cloud, the sun can never actually be covered, even though the whole sky may be cloudy. Similarly, less intelligent men claim that there is no God, but when the manifestation of different living entities and their activities is visible, enlightened persons see You present in every atom and through the via media of Your external and marginal energies. Your unlimitedly potent activities are experienced by the most enlightened devotees, but those who are bewildered by the spell of Your external energy identify themselves with this material world and become attached to society, friendship and love. Thus they embrace the threefold miseries of material existence and are subjected to the dualities of pain and pleasure, sometimes drowning in the ocean of attachment and sometimes being taken out of it.

The conditioned soul feels the pangs of material contamination as the threefold miseries as long as You are not visible to him.
Krsna Book 86:

“You are the supreme controller and superintendent of the material nature's activities. The atheistic class of men simply observe the activities of material nature but cannot find You as the original background. A devotee, however, can immediately see Your hand in every movement of material nature. The curtain of yogamāyā cannot cover the eyes of the devotee of Your Lordship, but it can cover the eyes of the nondevotee. The nondevotee is unable to see You face to face, just as a person whose eyes are blocked by the covering of a cloud cannot see the sun, although persons flying above the cloud can see the sunshine brilliantly, as it is. My dear Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My dear self-effulgent Lord, I am Your eternal servitor. Therefore, kindly order me—what can I do for You? The conditioned soul feels the pangs of material contamination as the threefold miseries as long as You are not visible to him. And as soon as You are visible by development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, all miseries of material existence are simultaneously vanquished.”

Although undergoing the threefold miseries of material existence, the illusioned living entity falsely thinks himself the master of all he surveys.
Krsna Book 87:

There are unlimited numbers of living entities in different varieties of bodies, some moving and some standing in one place, and the conditioned life of these living entities is due only to their forgetfulness of their eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the living entity wants to lord it over the material energy by imitating the position of Kṛṣṇa, he is immediately captured by the material energy and, according to his desire, is offered one variety of the 8,400,000 different kinds of bodies. Although undergoing the threefold miseries of material existence, the illusioned living entity falsely thinks himself the master of all he surveys. Under the spell of the material energy, represented by the threefold material qualities, the living entity is so entangled that he is not at all able to become free unless he is graced by the Supreme Lord. The living entity cannot conquer the influence of the material modes of nature by his own endeavor, but because material nature is working under the control of the Supreme Lord, the Lord is beyond its jurisdiction. Except for Him, all living entities, from Brahmā down to the ant, are conquered by the contact of material nature.

Renunciation Through Wisdom

India's wise men of yore easily realized that the threefold miseries we humans are condemned to suffer can never be mitigated by the political condition controlling the country—whether foreign rule or freedom from it.
Renunciation Through Wisdom 1.1:

Hence the meagre thousand years of foreign subjugation are not such a lamentable thing. Neither in the past nor at present has India's political serfdom or freedom been the prime concern of India's greatest thinkers and philosophers, who well knew the actual value of such things. The kings of India up to Mahārāja Parīkṣit were able to rule the entire world, and not for a mere couple of centuries but for hundreds of thousands of years. The reason for their rule was not a political one.

India's wise men of yore easily realized that the threefold miseries we humans are condemned to suffer can never be mitigated by the political condition controlling the country—whether foreign rule or freedom from it. At the dawn of modern history, the Armageddon fought in India over a political question lasted only eighteen days. On that historic battlefield the problem of human suffering and its permanent solution was discussed, and this discussion was compiled in the form of the Bhagavad-gītā.

The more we try to conquer this divine energy, the more powerfully she defeats us by exciting us through the mode of passion and punishing us with the threefold miseries, culminating in all-devouring death.
Renunciation Through Wisdom 1.1:

It is impossible for anyone to surmount the two-pronged attack of daivī māyā—that is, her covering potency and her throwing potency. The more we try to conquer this divine energy, the more powerfully she defeats us by exciting us through the mode of passion and punishing us with the threefold miseries, culminating in all-devouring death. This struggle between the divine energy and the evil forces is eternal. Our inability to understand this struggle has led us to lament, "In the dispensation of providence, mankind cannot have any rest."

Despite repeatedly tasting defeat at the hands of the divine energy, the evil forces cannot understand why "mankind cannot have any rest." Yet in the Bhagavad-gītā the Supreme Personality of Godhead clearly explains this. At first He sternly warns the evil forces with these words, daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā: "This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome" (BG 7.14); and then in the next line He tells them how to overcome this divine energy, mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te: "But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it."

Even in this lifetime, one who performs fruitive work is totally entangled in the cycle of karma as he sits on the tree of material existence. As a result, the soul must enter 8,400,000 species and suffer the threefold miseries, never finding any rest or peace.
Renunciation Through Wisdom 1.5:

The fruitive activities one performs in this world, whether according to social norms or Vedic standards, give different results. Again, by experiencing the fruits of those labors, one creates new sets of activities and their concomitant results, which in turn give rise to newer sets of activities and their results. All these activities and their results cannot automatically be labeled karma-yoga. We can see that the process of performing fruitive actions and experiencing their results is like a mammoth tree sprouting endless branches and twigs. Can the performer of actions who experiences the endless fruits of that mammoth tree ever enjoy peace and benediction? No. Therefore it is said, "In the dispensation of providence, mankind cannot have any rest." Even in this lifetime, one who performs fruitive work is totally entangled in the cycle of karma as he sits on the tree of material existence. As a result, the soul must enter 8,400,000 species and suffer the threefold miseries, never finding any rest or peace.

Only as a human being can one make such inquiries as "Who am I?" and "Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble?"
Renunciation Through Wisdom 2.1:

In the lower species of life the spirit souls are densely covered by the material modes, and thus carnal appetites dominate their lives. Among the human species, some denounce sensual pleasures and are honored by the world as a saints, yogīs, philosophers, scholars, and so on. They experience mental perceptions far superior to gross sensual experiences, and may reach even subtler levels of fine intellect. But even more subtle than the intellect is the spirit soul. So true spirituality, or the real religion of the living entity, means to be situated in self.

Except for the religion of the self, all paths and religions are pseudo-spiritual exercises consisting only of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending oneself from danger. These are the primary activities of the animals. The lower species cannot elevate themselves by executing the religion of the self, or soul. But since human beings are inherently able to practice the religion of the self, some endeavor to reach perfection. Only as a human being can one make such inquiries as "Who am I?" and "Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble?"

As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.
Renunciation Through Wisdom 2.8:

The Supreme Lord and His surrendered servitors have in various ways clarified and transmitted the knowledge of the Supreme Absolute, but those who offend the Supreme Lord and His devotees can never comprehend such topics. As Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja says in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.5.30-31),

matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā
mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ
punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām
na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ
durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ
andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās
te 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ

Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Kṛṣṇa are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both. Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Viṣṇu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.

Those conditioned souls who identify with this illusory material nature and are proud of it, and who do not care to know about the Supreme Lord, are subjugated by the Lord's illusory potency, who is known variously as Mahā Kālī, Cāṇḍī, and Durgā, and who pierces them with her trident of the threefold miseries.
Renunciation Through Wisdom 4.5:

6) Those conditioned souls who identify with this illusory material nature and are proud of it, and who do not care to know about the Supreme Lord, are subjugated by the Lord's illusory potency, who is known variously as Mahā Kālī, Cāṇḍī, and Durgā, and who pierces them with her trident of the threefold miseries. These demoniac jīvas are forced into slavery by the illusory potency—Kālī, or Mahāmāyā. The Bhagavad-gītā, which is the essence of all the Vedic scriptures, was compiled for the deliverance of the conditioned souls. By studying the Gītā carefully, a jīva takes shelter of the Supreme Lord's lotus feet and attains liberation from the merry-go-round of repeated suffering in the material world.

The jīvas in Kali-yuga are predominantly in the mode of ignorance, and with with the increase of this mode the threefold material miseries expand unlimitedly.
Renunciation Through Wisdom 5.1:

During the Satya-yuga the mode of goodness is in abundance. Or one can say that when the quality of goodness increases in a person to the extent that he becomes situated in his original constitutional identity as a servant of the Lord, thus making his human life a complete success, at that time he enjoys the bliss and tranquillity of the Satya-yuga. The three modes—goodness, passion, and ignorance—are always present in this material nature. According to the predominance of a particular mode, the yugas change from Satya to Tretā to Dvāpara to Kali. The jīvas in Kali-yuga are predominantly in the mode of ignorance, and with with the increase of this mode the threefold material miseries expand unlimitedly. Thus people today are afflicted by a short life-span, ill luck, warped intelligence, lethargy, disease, and many other sufferings.

Light of the Bhagavata

This ultimate gain is possible to achieve in the human form of life. permanent happiness is possible when one is free from material sources of happiness, for continuation of material bondage means continuation of the threefold miseries.
Light of the Bhagavata 4, Purport:

This ultimate gain is possible to achieve in the human form of life. permanent happiness is possible when one is free from material sources of happiness, for continuation of material bondage means continuation of the threefold miseries. Human life is meant for ending these miseries.

We should not try to be beautiful like seasonal flowers or greenery that flourish in the rainy season but are weary in the winter. To be enlivened by the clouds of ignorance overhead and to enjoy the sight of temporary greenery is not at all desirable. One should try to live in the unlimited clear sky overflooded with the rays of the sun and moon. That is what we actually desire. A life of freedom in eternity, complete knowledge, and a blissful atmosphere is the heart's desire of an enlightened soul. We should undertake all sorts of penances and austerities to attain that permanent source of happiness.

The mind of the householder who is a conditioned soul is always disturbed by the threefold miseries of material life.
Light of the Bhagavata 17, Purport:

The duty of sages and saints is to go from door to door and thus enlighten the householders in spiritual knowledge. Householder life is compared to a dark well. In a dark well the frog cannot see the free light of the open sky. The dark well of householder life kills the soul. One should therefore get out of it so that he may see the light of spiritual vision. Saints and sages mercifully try to uplift fallen souls from the dark well of householder life. An enlightened householder therefore takes pleasure in the appearance of such saints and sages at his house. The mind of the householder who is a conditioned soul is always disturbed by the threefold miseries of material life. Everyone wants to be happy in his householder life, but the laws of nature do not allow one to become happy in material existence, which is like a spontaneous forest fire.

The fire of threefold miseries experienced by materialistic men can be extinguished only by the cloud of mercy of the saints and sages who can pour down the water of transcendental messages to put an end to the miseries of the householders.
Light of the Bhagavata 17, Purport:

Lord Jesus Christ, Ṭhākura Haridāsa, Lord Nityānanda Prabhu, and many such sages risked their life to propagate the message of Godhead. Self-realized saints and sages take such risks for the spiritual enlightenment of the people in general. They do not take vows of silence meant to win cheap glory from the ignorant mass of people. God is satisfied only when His devotees take all sorts of risks to propagate His glories. Such devotees are unafraid of the difficult journey to cross the ocean of nescience. They are always anxious for the welfare of the fallen souls, who are attached to the false enjoyment of materialistic life, in which they forget their eternal relation with God.

It is the duty of the saints and sages to enlighten the fallen souls, and reciprocally it is the duty of the householder to receive the saints and sages cordially, as the peacock dances in ecstasy at the presence of clouds in the sky. The fire of threefold miseries experienced by materialistic men can be extinguished only by the cloud of mercy of the saints and sages who can pour down the water of transcendental messages to put an end to the miseries of the householders.

A society with no taste for spiritual culture is a blazing fire, and everyone in that fire perpetually suffers the threefold miseries.
Light of the Bhagavata 21, Purport:

The most intelligent men in society are the saints and sages who have sacrificed everything for the service of spiritual culture. Their duty is to travel throughout human society and inspire its members to engage themselves in acts of spiritual culture by sacrificing their words, money, intelligence, and life. That should be the theme of human life in order to make it a complete success. A society with no taste for spiritual culture is a blazing fire, and everyone in that fire perpetually suffers the threefold miseries. As clouds pour water on a blazing fire in the forest and thus extinguish it, the intelligent men who work as the spiritual masters of society pour water on the blazing fire of miseries by disseminating spiritual knowledge and inspiring the richer section of the society to help in the cause. Temples of worship, for example, are constructed by the rich, and these temples are meant to impart spiritual education to people in general. The periodic spiritual ceremonies are held for inspiration, and not for exploitation. If there are flaws now because of the age of Kali, they should be rectified, but the institutions must be saved.

Devoid of our relationship with God our life is barren, but as soon as the muddy mind is cleared by spiritual association or cultivation of the human spirit the threefold miseries of material life are at once cleared off.
Light of the Bhagavata 30, Purport:

We should not be disappointed in our muddy life of material existence, for as soon as we voluntarily take to the devotional service of the Lord our whole life becomes clear, like water in autumn. Devoid of our relationship with God our life is barren, but as soon as the muddy mind is cleared by spiritual association or cultivation of the human spirit the threefold miseries of material life are at once cleared off. Thus the lotus of knowledge gradually fructifies, and this gradual process of development ushers in transcendental bliss.

The whole spiritual process is technically called yoga, or linking with the Supreme. It is something like a long staircase, and the upward steps are variously designated as regulated work, transcendental knowledge, mystic powers, and ultimately bhakti-yoga, or devotional service. Bhakti-yoga is pure and unalloyed, being entirely beyond all the preliminary steps. Such unalloyed devotional service in favor of the Supreme Lord was displayed at Vṛndāvana when the Lord descended there, and thus the yoga exhibited by the gopīs of Vṛndāvana is the highest unalloyed love of Godhead, the perfection of bhakti-yoga.

The threefold miseries of material existence are at once nullified by intense love of God, which is the ultimate goal of cultivating the human spirit.
Light of the Bhagavata 39, Purport:

The example of the damsels of Vrajabhūmi Vṛndāvana (the gopīs) is given here because these eternal consorts of the Lord terribly suffered the separation of Lord Kṛṣṇa when the Lord was absent from their presence for His engagement in tending the cows in the forest. During the absence of Kṛṣṇa, the entire day would appear to the gopīs to be as unbearable as a hot day in autumn. The Lord so much appreciated this natural feeling of the gopīs that He declared His inability to repay their intense love. Lord Caitanya recommended the feeling of the gopīs as the highest mode of worship that can be rendered to the Lord. The conclusion is that the regular practice of bhakti-yoga will lead the devotee to the plane of intense love for the Lord, and that is the single qualification by which the conditioned soul is allowed to reenter the eternal life of bliss in the kingdom of God. The threefold miseries of material existence are at once nullified by intense love of God, which is the ultimate goal of cultivating the human spirit.

Mukunda-mala-stotra (mantras 1 to 6 only)

All mundane philosophers, religionists, and people in general, who are constantly suffering from the threefold miseries of material existence, can get freedom from all such troubles simply by chanting and glorifying the holy name, fame, and pastimes of the Supreme Lord.
Mukunda-mala-stotra mantra 1, Purport:

All mundane philosophers, religionists, and people in general, who are constantly suffering from the threefold miseries of material existence, can get freedom from all such troubles simply by chanting and glorifying the holy name, fame, and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord, the Absolute Truth, is all spirit, and therefore His name, fame, and pastimes are nondifferent from Him. All of them are identical. In other words, the holy name of the Lord is the Lord Himself, and this can be understood by realization. By chanting the holy names of the Lord, which are innumerable, one can actually associate with the Lord personally, and by such constant personal touch with the all-spiritual Lord, one will become spiritually self-realized. This process of self-realization is very suitable for the fallen souls of this age, when life is short and when people are slow in understanding the importance of spiritual realization, prone to be misled by false association and false spiritual masters, unfortunate in every respect, and continuously disturbed by innumerable material problems.

All the living entities who have lost their place in paradise due to disobedience to the Supreme Father are put into the hands of the material energy to undergo a prison life of the threefold miseries.
Mukunda-mala-stotra mantra 1, Purport:

A father is naturally inclined to act for the good of his son, and when the father chastises his son, that chastisement is also mixed with affection. Similarly, all the living entities who have lost their place in paradise due to disobedience to the Supreme Father are put into the hands of the material energy to undergo a prison life of the threefold miseries. Yet the Supreme Father does not forget His rebellious sons. He creates scriptures for them like the Vedas and Purāṇas in order to revive their lost relationship with Him and awaken their divine consciousness. Intelligent persons take advantage of the knowledge contained in these scriptures and thus attain the highest perfection of life.

For His devotees, the Lord personally descends to this world to give them relief and save them from the insane acts of miscreants. It is foolish to try to impose the limits of an ordinary living being upon the unlimited potency of Godhead and obstinately maintain that the Supreme Lord cannot descend. To mitigate His devotees' material pangs, He descends as He is, yet He is not infected by material qualities.

Facts about "Threefold miseries (CC and other books)"RDF feed
Compiled byLabangalatika + and Matea +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entry29 December 8 +
Date of last entry6 October 10 +
Total quotes54 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 21 +, OB: 33 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 0 + and Let: 0 +