The perfectional stage of spiritual life which one can experience even while being in the material world is described in the Twelfth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā as follows: "One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me—he is very dear to Me. He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anxiety, who is steady in happiness and distress, is very dear to Me. A devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and who does not strive for some result, is very dear to Me. One who grasps neither pleasure or grief who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things, is very dear to Me. One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contamination, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn't care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and engaged in devotional service, is very dear to Me. He who follows this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engages himself with faith, making Me the supreme goal, is very, very dear to Me." (Bg. 12.13-20)
Distress and happiness
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 4 Lectures
- 5 Correspondence
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
Anyone who is steady in his determination for the advanced stage of spiritual realization and can equally tolerate the onslaughts of distress and happiness is certainly a person eligible for liberation. In the varṇāśrama institution, the fourth stage of life, namely the renounced order (sannyāsa), is a painstaking situation. But one who is serious about making his life perfect surely adopts the sannyāsa order of life in spite of all difficulties. The difficulties usually arise from having to sever family relationships, to give up the connection of wife and children. But if anyone is able to tolerate such difficulties, surely his path to spiritual realization is complete. Similarly, in Arjuna's discharge of duties as a kṣatriya, he is advised to persevere, even if it is difficult to fight with his family members or similarly beloved persons. Lord Caitanya took sannyāsa at the age of twenty-four, and His dependents, young wife as well as old mother, had no one else to look after them. Yet for a higher cause He took sannyāsa and was steady in the discharge of higher duties. That is the way of achieving liberation from material bondage.
BG Chapters 13 - 18
Happiness and distress are concomitant factors of material life. One should learn to tolerate, as advised in Bhagavad-gītā. One can never restrict the coming and going of happiness and distress, so one should be detached from the materialistic way of life and be automatically equipoised in both cases. Generally, when we get something desirable we are very happy, and when we get something undesirable we are distressed. But if we are actually in the spiritual position these things will not agitate us. To reach that stage, we have to practice unbreakable devotional service. Devotional service to Kṛṣṇa without deviation means engaging oneself in the nine processes of devotional service—chanting, hearing, worshiping, offering respect, etc.—as described in the last verse of the Ninth Chapter. That process should be followed.
The different manifestations of body and senses among the living entities are due to material nature. There are 8,400,000 different species of life, and these varieties are creations of the material nature. They arise from the different sensual pleasures of the living entity, who thus desires to live in this body or that. When he is put into different bodies, he enjoys different kinds of happiness and distress. His material happiness and distress are due to his body, and not to himself as he is. In his original state there is no doubt of enjoyment; therefore that is his real state. Because of the desire to lord it over material nature, he is in the material world. In the spiritual world there is no such thing. The spiritual world is pure, but in the material world everyone is struggling hard to acquire different kinds of pleasures for the body. It might be more clear to state that this body is the effect of the senses. The senses are instruments for gratifying desire. Now, the sum total—body and instrument senses—are offered by material nature, and as will be clear in the next verse, the living entity is blessed or damned with circumstances according to his past desire and activity.
SB Canto 1
Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja is advised by Nārada, therefore, not to be disturbed by the affairs of so-called happiness and distress, but to look only unto the Lord to execute the mission for which the Lord has descended. That was his prime duty.
Since the spiritual world is a manifestation of the Lord's internal energy, the living beings within that internal potency are qualitatively one with the Lord without contamination from the external potency. Although qualitatively one with the Lord, the living being, due to contamination of the material world, is pervertedly manifested, and therefore he experiences so-called happiness and distress in the material world. Such experiences are all ephemeral and do not affect the spirit soul. The perception of such ephemeral happiness and distress is due only to the forgetfulness of his qualities, which are equal to the Lord's. There is, however, a regular current from the Lord Himself, from within and without, by which to rectify the fallen condition of the living being. From within He corrects the desiring living beings as localized Paramātmā, and from without He corrects by His manifestations, the spiritual master and the revealed scriptures. One should look unto the Lord; one should not be disturbed by the so-called manifestations of happiness or distress, but he should try to cooperate with the Lord in His outward activities for correcting the fallen souls.
One should not become a spiritual master for one's personal benefit, for some material gain or as an avenue of business or occupation for earning livelihood. Bona fide spiritual masters who look unto the Supreme Lord to cooperate with Him are actually qualitatively one with the Lord, and the forgetful ones are perverted reflections only. Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja is advised by Nārada, therefore, not to be disturbed by the affairs of so-called happiness and distress, but to look only unto the Lord to execute the mission for which the Lord has descended. That was his prime duty.
As referred to above, philosophers like Jaimini and his followers establish that fruitive activity is the root cause of all distress and happiness, and that even if there is a superior authority, some superhuman powerful God or gods, He or they are also under the influence of fruitive activity because they reward result according to one's action. They say that action is not independent because action is performed by some performer; therefore, the performer himself is the cause of his own happiness or distress. In the Bhagavad-gītā (6.5) also it is confirmed that by one's mind, freed from material affection, one can deliver himself from the sufferings of material pangs. So one should not entangle oneself in matter by the mind's material affections. Thus one's own mind is one's friend or enemy in one's material happiness and distress.
SB Canto 3
As long as one acts on his own account, he is subject to all the material perceptions of so-called happiness and distress. Actually there is no happiness. Just as there is no happiness in any of the activities of a madman, so in material activities the mental concoctions of happiness and distress are false. Actually everything is distress.
SB Canto 4
Material existence consists of pious and impious fruitive activities. As long as one is engaged in any kind of activity other than devotional service, it will result in the happiness and distress of this material world. When we enjoy life in so-called material happiness, it is to be understood that we are diminishing the resultant actions of our pious activities. And when we are put into suffering, it is to be understood that we are diminishing the resultant actions of our impious activities. Instead of being attached to the circumstantial happiness and distress resulting from pious or impious activities, if we want to get out of the clutches of this nescience, then whatever position we are put in by the will of the Lord we should accept. Thus if we simply surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we shall get out of the clutches of this material existence.
This is simply a bodily concern. Here Dhruva Mahārāja plainly says that a devotee has no more bodily interest. He knows that he is not the body. From the very beginning, therefore, without wasting time in bodily exercises, a devotee searches out a pure devotee and simply by his association becomes more advanced in spiritual consciousness than any yogī. Because a devotee knows that he is not the body, he is never affected by bodily happiness or distress. He is not interested in bodily relationships with wife, children, home, bank balance, etc., or in the distress and happiness which come from these things. This is the special advantage of being a devotee. This status of life is possible only when a person is interested in associating with a pure devotee, who always enjoys the fragrance of the lotus feet of the Lord.
This verse describes how one can become liberated from material bondage. The first point is that one must know that the soul is different from his body. The soul is called dehī, or one who possesses the body, and the material body is called deha, or the embodiment of the soul. The body is changing at every moment, but the soul is fixed; therefore the soul is called kūṭa-stham. The change of body is enacted by the reactions of the three modes of nature. One who has understood the fixed position of the soul should not be disturbed by the incoming and outgoing interactions of the modes of material nature in the form of happiness and distress. In Bhagavad-gītā also, Lord Kṛṣṇa recommends that since happiness and distress come and go due to the interaction of the modes of nature on the body, one should not be disturbed by such external movements. Even though one is sometimes absorbed in such external movements, he has to learn to tolerate them. The living entity should be always indifferent to the action and reaction of the external body.
All types of material happiness are obtained in this life or in the next life, on this planet or on another. The living entity wanders within this material universe in so many species of life and so many planetary systems. The distress and happiness obtained during the span of life are called iha, and the distress and happiness obtained in the next life are called paratra.
SB Canto 5
By material means, one cannot avoid the happiness and distress unique to his particular body. There are 8,400,000 bodily forms, each destined to enjoy and suffer a certain amount of happiness and distress. This we cannot change, for the happiness and distress are ordained by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in accordance with whose decision we have received our bodies. Since we cannot avoid the plan of the Supreme Godhead, we must agree to be directed by Him, just as a blind man is led by a person who has eyes. Under any circumstances, if we remain in the condition allotted to us by the Supreme Lord and follow His instructions, we will become perfect. The main purpose of life is to follow the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is such instructions that constitute one's religion or occupational duty.
The platform of paramahaṁsa is described in Bhagavad-gītā (2.15): sama-duḥkha-sukhaṁ dhīraṁ so 'mṛtatvāya kalpate. When one is callous to all duality, the happiness and distress of this material world, one is fit for amṛtatva, eternal life. Bharata Mahārāja was determined to finish his business in this material world, and he did not at all care for the world of duality. He was complete in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and was oblivious to good and evil, happiness and distress. As stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Antya 4.176):
- 'dvaite' bhadrābhadra-jñāna, saba-'manodharma'
- 'ei bhāla, ei manda',—saba 'bhrama'
"In the material world, conceptions of good and bad are all mental speculations. Therefore, saying, 'This is good and this is bad,' is all a mistake." One has to understand that in the material world of duality, to think that this is good or that this is bad is simply a mental concoction. However, one should not imitate this consciousness; one should actually be situated on the spiritual platform of neutrality.
SB Canto 6
The question may be raised why the living entities are situated in different conditions and who has arranged this. The answer is that it has been done by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without anyone's help. The Lord has His own energies (parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport)), and one of them, namely the external energy, creates the material world and the varieties of happiness and distress for the conditioned souls under the supervision of the Lord. The material world consists of three modes of material nature—sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa. By sattva-guṇa the Lord maintains the material world, by rajo-guṇa He creates it, and by tamo-guṇa He annihilates it. After the varieties of living entities are created, they are subject to happiness and distress according to their association. When they are in sattva-guṇa, the mode of goodness, they feel happiness, when in rajo-guṇa they are distressed, and when in tamo-guṇa they have no sense of what to do or what is right and wrong
Although the Supreme Lord is unattached to our happiness and distress according to karma, and although no one is His enemy or favorite, He creates pious and impious activities through the agency of His material potency. Thus for the continuation of the materialistic way of life He creates happiness and distress, good fortune and bad, bondage and liberation, birth and death.
Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate doer of everything, in His original transcendental existence He is not responsible for the happiness and distress, or bondage and liberation, of the conditioned souls. These are due to the results of the fruitive activities of the living entities within this material world. By the order of a judge, one person is released from jail, and another is imprisoned, but the judge is not responsible, for the distress and happiness of these different people is due to their own activities. Although the government is ultimately the supreme authority, the justice is administered by the departments of the government, and the government is not responsible for the individual judgments. Therefore the government is equal to all the citizens. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is neutral to everyone, but for the maintenance of law and order His supreme government has various departments, which control the activities of the living entities. Another example given in this regard is that lilies open or close because of the sunshine, and thus the bumblebees enjoy or suffer, but the sunshine and the sun globe are not responsible for the happiness and distress of the bumblebees.
As one mistakenly considers a flower garland to be a snake or experiences happiness and distress in a dream, so, in the material world, by a lack of careful consideration, we differentiate between happiness and distress, considering one good and the other bad.
The happiness and distress of the material world of duality are both mistaken ideas. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Antya 4.176) it is said:
- 'dvaite' bhadrābhadra-jñāna, saba—'manodharma'
- 'ei bhāla, ei manda',—ei saba 'bhrama'
The distinctions between happiness and distress in the material world of duality are simply mental concoctions, for the so-called happiness and distress are actually one and the same. They are like the happiness and distress in dreams. A sleeping man creates his happiness and distress by dreaming, although actually they have no existence.
SB Canto 7
It is fruitless to see and talk of the material modes of nature and their resultant so-called happiness and distress as if they were factual. When the mind wanders during the day and a man begins to think himself extremely important, or when he dreams at night and sees a beautiful woman enjoying with him, these are merely false dreams. Similarly, the happiness and distress caused by the material senses should be understood to be meaningless.
The happiness and distress derived from the activities of the material senses are not actual happiness and distress. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā speaks of happiness that is transcendental to the material conception of life (sukham ātyantikaṁ yat tad buddhi-grāhyam atīndriyam (BG 6.21)). When our senses are purified of material contamination, they become atīndriya, transcendental senses, and when the transcendental senses are engaged in the service of the master of the senses, Hṛṣīkeśa, one can derive real transcendental pleasure. Whatever distress or happiness we manufacture by mental concoction through the subtle mind has no reality, but is simply a mental concoction. One should therefore not imagine so-called happiness through mental concoction. Rather, the best course is to engage the mind in the service of the Lord, Hṛṣīkeśa, and thus feel real blissful life.
In the material world, in any form of life, there is some so-called happiness and so-called distress. No one invites distress in order to suffer, but still it comes. Similarly, even if we do not endeavor to obtain the advantages of material happiness, we shall obtain them automatically. This happiness and distress are obtainable in any form of life, without endeavor. Thus there is no need to waste time and energy fighting against distress or working very hard for happiness. Our only business in the human form of life should be to revive our relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus become qualified to return home, back to Godhead. Material happiness and distress come as soon as we accept a material body, regardless of what form. We cannot avoid such happiness and distress under any circumstances. The best use of human life, therefore, lies in reviving our relationship with the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu.
SB Canto 9
In the world of duality—that is to say, in the material world—so-called goodness and badness are both the same. Therefore, in this world, to distinguish between good and bad, happiness and distress, is meaningless because they are both mental concoctions (manodharma). Because everything here is miserable and troublesome, to create an artificial situation and pretend it to be full of happiness is simply illusion. The liberated person, being above the influence of the three modes of material nature, is unaffected by such dualities in all circumstances. He remains Kṛṣṇa conscious by tolerating so-called happiness and distress. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (2.14):
- mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
- āgamāpāyino 'nityās
- tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata
"O son of Kuntī, 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." Those who are liberated, being on the transcendental platform of rendering service to the Lord, do not care about so-called happiness and distress. They know that these are like changing seasons, which are perceivable by contact with the material body. Happiness and distress come and go. Therefore a paṇḍita, a learned man, is not concerned with them.
The body is dead from the very beginning because it is a lump of matter. It has no feelings of happiness and distress. Because the soul within the body is in the bodily concept of life, he suffers happiness and distress, but these come and go. It is understood herewith that the kings born in the dynasty of Mithila were all liberated persons, unaffected by the so-called happiness and distress of this world.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
Nectar of Devotion
When affection is symptomized by direct happiness and distress, it is called attraction. In such an attracted state of ecstatic love, one can face all kinds of disadvantages calmly. Even at the risk of death such a devotee is never bereft of the transcendental loving service of the Lord. A glorious example of this ecstatic love was exhibited by King Parīkṣit when he was at the point of death. Although he was bereft of his entire kingdom, which spread over all the world, and although he was accepting not even a drop of water in the seven days remaining to him, because he was engaged in hearing the transcendental pastimes of the Lord from Śukadeva Gosvāmī he was not in the least distressed. On the contrary, he was feeling direct transcendental ecstatic joy in association with Śukadeva Gosvāmī.
Easy Journey to Other Planets
How can the antimaterial particle be explained? We have experience with material particles or atoms, but we have no experience with antimaterial atoms. However, the Bhagavad-gītā gives the following vivid description of the antimaterial particle:
- This antimaterial particle is within the material body. Because of the presence of this antimaterial particle, the material body is progressively changing from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youth to old age, after which the antimaterial particle leaves the old, unworkable body and takes up another material body.
This description of a living body confirms the scientific discovery that energy exists in two forms. When one of them, the antimaterial particle, is separated from the material body, the latter becomes useless for all purposes. As such, the antimaterial particle is undoubtedly superior to the material energy.
- No one, therefore, should lament for the loss of material energy. All varieties of sense perception in the categories of heat and cold, happiness and distress, are but interactions of material energy which come and go like seasonal changes. The temporary appearance and disappearance of such material interactions confirms that the material body is formed of a material energy inferior to the living force, or jīva energy.
- Any intelligent man who is not disturbed by happiness and distress, understanding that they are different material phases resulting from the interactions of the inferior energy, is competent to regain the antimaterial world, where life is eternal, full of permanent knowledge and bliss.
The antimaterial world is mentioned here, and in addition information is given that in the antimaterial world there is no "seasonal" fluctuation. Everything there is permanent, blissful, and full of knowledge. But when we speak of it as a "world," we must remember that it has forms and paraphernalia of various categories beyond our material experiences.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
The Kaṭha Upaniṣad also cites this example of the tree of the material manifestation standing on the ground of material nature. This tree has two kinds of fruits, distress and happiness. Those who are living in the tree of the body are just like two birds. One bird is the localized aspect of Kṛṣṇa known as the Paramātmā, and the other bird is the living entity. The living entity is eating the fruits of this material manifestation. Sometimes he eats the fruit of happiness, and sometimes he eats the fruit of distress. But the other bird is not interested in eating the fruit of distress or happiness because he is self-satisfied. The Kaṭha Upaniṣad states that one bird on the tree of the body is eating the fruits, and the other bird is simply witnessing.
In whatever condition of life the karmī may be, he continues in the cycle of birth and death because the seed of karma, or fruitive activity, is there, and it fructifies whenever there is an opportunity. By the law of karma a common man is perpetually entangled in repeated birth and death, whereas a devotee's distress and happiness, not being under the laws of karma, are part of a temporary arrangement by the Supreme Lord which does not entangle the devotee. Such an arrangement is made by the Lord only to serve a temporary purpose. If a karmī performs auspicious acts he is elevated to the heavenly planets, and if he acts impiously he is put into a hellish condition. But whether a devotee acts in a so-called pious or impious manner, he is neither elevated nor degraded, but is transferred to the spiritual kingdom. Therefore a devotee's happiness and distress and a karmī’s happiness and distress are not on the same level. This fact is corroborated by a speech by Yamarāja to his servants in connection with the liberation of Ajāmila. Yamarāja advised his followers that only persons who have never uttered the holy name of the Lord or remembered the form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord should be approached by his watchguards. Yamarāja also advised his servants never to approach the devotees. On the contrary, he instructed his messengers that if they meet a devotee they should offer their respectful obeisances. So there is no question of a devotee's being promoted or degraded within this material world. As there is a gulf of difference between the punishment awarded by the mother and the punishment awarded by an enemy, so a devotee's distress is not the same as the distress of a common karmī.
Message of Godhead
Happiness or distress perceived in relation with the temporary arrangement of the body and mind is also temporary. Thus, in Bhagavad-gītā the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, says, "O son of Kuntī! All forms of happiness or distress, such as winter cold or summer heat, are due to material sense perception only. They come and go according to the laws of nature, and they are therefore to be tolerated without our being disturbed. One who is not disturbed by all these comings and goings of temporary happiness and distress—he alone becomes a fit person to attain eternal life."
We must know the nature of those temporary states of material happiness and distress. It would be sheer stupidity to ignore them, or to remain indifferent in matters concerning the spirit soul, around which the material body and mind exist. In fact, if one is fortunate enough to understand the happiness and distress of the spirit soul and gets a taste for transcendental knowledge, then he will be indifferent to the happiness and distress of the body and mind and will relish a transcendental peace eternal, even in the midst of worldly happiness and distress. Real peace can be obtained only in that transcendental stage of existence.
Sense perception is the cause of feeling all sorts of happiness and distress. Form, taste, odor, sound, and touch are different sense perceptions, which render happiness or distress in cooperation with the mind. In winter, bathing in cold water gives us pain, but in summer, the same cold water gives us pleasure. In winter, fire gives us pleasure and warmth, but in summer, the same fire gives us distress. Thus, neither fire nor water has any intrinsic power to give us happiness or distress, but they appear to us as agents of happiness or distress, according to our mode of sense perception in various circumstances. Therefore, everything that exists in the world is neither an object of happiness nor an object of distress; everything is simply subjective—that is, subject to our sense perceptions as they relate to our processes of thinking, feeling, and willing.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
Prabhupāda: ...anityās tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata (BG 2.14). In the previous verse, it has been described that dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā: (BG 2.13) "We are transmigrating from one body to another. Exactly like we are passing from a child body to a boy's body, a boy's body to youth body, similarly, we are passing through this body also and accepting another body." Now, the question of distress and happiness. Distress and happiness—according to the body.
Because the so-called happiness or happiness or distress, whatever you are destined to receive, you must get it. You try or do not try, it doesn't matter. Whatever portion of happiness you are destined to get, you'll get it. And whatever portion of... Because this material life is mixture. You cannot get unadulterated happiness or unadulterated distress. No. That is not. You'll get distress and happiness both.
Actually, the best of the men should not be disturbed by any material condition. He should discharge his duties. And what is the duty? Duty is to become immortal. This is the duty. The lowest of the men does not know how to become immortal, amṛta. Mṛta means death and amṛta means no death. The modern rascal civilization cannot understand that there is possibility of becoming immortal. They have taken it, accepted it; "Well, who can stop?" They are simply scientifically calculating that "Some day will come, by science, we shall be immortal, there will be no death." The formula is given here by Kṛṣṇa how to become immortal. That means you should be callous of this so-called happiness and distress of this material world. That is the first qualification. One who doesn't care what is the distress and happiness of this body, he must execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the qualification. "Oh, I cannot execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness because there are so many inconveniences," he's not fit for becoming immortal.
Therefore all our feelings of distress and happiness is due to this body. Is due to the body. Body under certain condition, mind under certain condition, feels happiness and feel distress. So therefore, We are actually hankering after happiness because the soul's constitution is happiness.
Now, every one of us is searching after happiness, but we do not know what is real happiness. The real happiness is, hint of real happiness, what is real happiness, that is being described by Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna. What is that real happiness? Happiness we feel through our senses. Because material, dead stone, has no sense, therefore dead stone cannot feel happiness or distress. Now, this consciousness, the developed consciousness, feels happiness and distress more than undeveloped consciousness.
"Then," one may question, "if I simply try to achieve Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then how my belly problem will be solved?" The answer is tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukham. According to Vedic injunction, you are destined to achieve a certain amount of happiness and certain amount of distress also, because you cannot achieve here in this material world any happiness which is not disturbed. There must be distress. So there are two things, happiness and distress. So as you are getting distress without inviting it... Nobody invites distress, "Let distress come upon me." Nobody invites, but it comes. Similarly, even if you do not pray for happiness, whatever is destined to you, it will come. So don't bother yourself about the material distress and happiness. Try to achieve Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which you could not achieve in so many lives after life. That is injunction. That is called absolute knowledge.
"One should try for developing God consciousness, not for anything else, because happiness and distress, they come automatically." We haven't got to try for it. Happiness, everyone aspires for happiness. Nobody aspires for distress, but distress is forcibly come upon you. Similarly, the śāstra says, "As distress comes without any desire, similarly, happiness also will come without any endeavor." So long we are in the material world, the so-called happiness and distress will come and go, but our, the human life, the endeavor should be how to find out or revive our relationship with God. That is our main business. They are just like seasonal changes, happiness and distress. Mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ (BG 2.14). Just like there is winter season. It is pinching cold. That will also not stay. And the scorching heat, that will also not stay. It comes and goes. Therefore, so long in the material world we are, the so-called happiness and distress will come and go. Don't bother about it. You simply try for reviving your Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or God consciousness.
Similarly, if distress is arranged already, then my happiness is also arranged. Tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukham. So we should not be disturbed by the so-called distress and happiness. They are coming and going. Kṛṣṇa has advised in the Bhagavad-gītā: āgamāpāyino 'nityās tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata. The so-called distress and happiness, they come and go like seasonal changes. Just like we have got summer season, winter season. The winter also not staying for good, neither the summer is staying for good. It will change. Cakravat parivartante sukhāni duḥkhāni ca. There are so many. So we should not bother about this material happiness and distress. That is perfect civilization. We shall depend on the arrangement of God, as lower animals, they are depending. The birds, rising early in the morning, they chirp, but they are not hampered, "Where to find out food?" They know, "There is somewhere our food." They go and get it. Similarly, our real problem is that we have forgotten Kṛṣṇa or God. We must revive our God consciousness again—that is not very difficult task—and save time, how to reestablish our relationship with God.
The material nature is the same. Similarly, our feelings of happiness and distress is just like feeling the warmth and, I mean to say, chilly cold. Due to the skin, due to this body. Actually, there is no happiness in the material world. Kṛṣṇa says, duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam: (BG 8.15) "This place is full of misery, full of misery." Now, how you can make it happy? Caitanya-caritāmṛta also says that dvaite bhadrābhadra sakali samāna. In this material world it is our mental creation: "This is happiness. This is distress." Actually, it is all distress. After all, we have to die. After all, we have to finish this business. So what is happiness or distress? Bhāgavata also says that "Don't bother yourself to make yourself happy by working day and night without trying for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is simply waste of time." There is no question of happiness in this material world. If you actually want to be happy, ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12), if you want to be placed in real happiness, that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labhyate (SB 1.5.18).
Just like a hog. A hog, if he changes his country or position, if he's taken to heavenly planet, then what he will be? He will try to find out, "Where is stool?" Because the body is hog's body. Similarly, an Indian, because he has got Indian body, even if he goes to America, he'll try for spiritual upliftment. That is the nature. A tiger, if you take in a civilized human society, he'll try to hunt. So they do not understand that by superior management, every living entity has been offered a different type of body for material distress and happiness. Everyone. It is not possible to change. Therefore, if we are intelligent enough, we should know that "My distress and happiness in this material world is already fixed up because I have got a particular type of body. Then when it is fixed up, then why, why I shall waste my time for so-called distress and happiness, when it is fixed up?" Just like you are running in a train. You have already purchased a ticket for third class.
Then how you can run on the first class? That is not possible. If you want to run on the first class compartment, you must purchase a ticket. Similarly, we have already purchased a ticket according to our body. Therefore, śāstra says that don't bother about this so-called distress and happiness. They are already fixed up. If you have got some energy, please utilize it how to develop in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Don't spoil your energy for so-called distress and happiness. That is mistake. But the modern civilization is so foolish. They are simply trying for bodily distress and happiness and spoiling the energy which he could utilize for understanding God. This is the defect of modern civilization. Actually, foolish civilization... They do not know what is the value of life, how we can realize our ultimate goal of life, what is this body, what is God. There is no education. There is no enlightenment. Simply, just like animals. The animals... trying, animal also trying to become comfortable.
They are thinking they are enjoying, and we are thinking it is inconvenience. So that is material way, happiness, one side happiness, another side distress. So both the happiness and distress, they are illusion. Illusion. There are many examples. Just like water; in summer season it is happiness, and in winter season it is distress. But the same water. Some water, at one time, it is happiness, and the same water, at one time, it is distress. The same son, when he is born, it is happiness, and the same son, when he's dead, it is distress. But son is the same.
You have to change this body, but Kṛṣṇa does not say what kind of body. That will depend on your qualification. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgaḥ asya. Qualification. If you associate with sattva-guṇa, then ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ (BG 14.18), then you are elevated to the higher planetary system. Madhye tiṣṭhanti rājasāḥ. If you are associating with the modes of passion, then you will remain here. And jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthā adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ: and if you associate with the tamo-guṇa, then you go lower and lower, abominable family, lower family, animal family, or trees, plants, like that. So the 8..., 8,400,000 forms of life is due to kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgaḥ asya. And according to the body, there are distresses and happiness. You cannot expect in the dog's body the same happiness as a king or a very rich man is enjoying. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-sa... He has got the dog's body, he has got the king's body. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya (BG 13.22). So this happiness or that happiness, this distress or that distress, they are all due to this material body. Therefore yoga means one has to transcend this happiness of body, distress or happiness. That is here said, that atyanta-uparatiḥ yatra. If you connect yourself again with the supreme yoga—that is called real yoga—then you get rid of this so-called material happiness and distress, which is due to this body.
Actually, there is no enjoyment, but we take it for enjoyment. The struggle for existence, the struggle for mitigating suffering, we take it as happiness. Actually there is no happiness in this material world. So anyway, even there is happiness and distress, two relative terms, the one can come without any endeavor—the other also will come without any endeavor. That is a fact.
The conclusion should be, therefore, "We are destined to suffer a certain extent of so-called happiness and certain extent of so-called distress." The distress is also so-called, and the happiness is also so-called. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, āgamāpāyinaḥ anityāḥ tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata: "The happiness and distress which comes and goes, they are anityaḥ. They will not stay."
Similarly, in the material existence nobody wants any trouble, but automatically the trouble comes. Everyone has got experience: everyone is trying for happiness—nobody wants for distress—but distress comes here. You cannot stop it. Therefore those who are advanced in knowledge, they take it for granted that "I do not want distress. So the distress cannot be checked. It comes upon me. Then why shall I try for happiness? It will also come." This is very right conclusion. If without my endeavor distress comes upon me, so there are two things, distress and happiness, two counterparts. So if distress can come upon me without any endeavor, so the happiness also will come without any endeavor because this is another counterpart. So why shall I waste my time for this material distress and happiness?
So everything in this material world, so-called distress and happiness, they come and go. We should not be very mch disturbed by... Neither we shall waste our valuable time seeking after so-called... Nobody wants distress, but everyone wants happiness. So without knowledge, in ignorance, we are simply trying after happiness. This is material world.
As much as the distress from which you are destined to suffer are also there. The distress also... According to law of karma, we create our own distress and happiness. So as much as the happiness is there, similarly, the distress is also there. Nobody tries for distress. Duḥkham ayatnataḥ. Duḥkham means distress. Nobody tries to invite distress in his life. But distress overcomes him.
The same thing: sometimes it is distressful, sometimes it is very pleasant. Just like water. Water now is distressful. If you have to take your bath, you have to make it hot; otherwise it is very distress. And similarly, same water in the summer season, it is very pleasing. The water is there, but it is sometimes distressful, sometimes pleasant. So they are āgamāpāyino. In touch with the skin it is sometimes pleasing, sometimes distressful. So this distress and happiness will be possible... Sukham aindriyakaṁ daityā deha-yogena dehinām. As soon as it is in touch with the body, such kind of distress and happiness will be fact. But don't be agitated. Your real purpose is that you must increase your Kṛṣṇa consciousness in any circumstances. And that is your business, human life. Don't waste your life. Don't be misguided.
Sri Brahma-samhita Lectures
So māyā-sukhāya bharam udvahato vimūḍhān (SB 7.9.43). Therefore Śukadeva Gosvāmī is recommending that happiness, material happiness also, is due to pious activities. Unless you are pious, you cannot be happy, even materially. And if you simply commit sins, Rūpa Gosvāmī has analyzed—you will read in the Nectar of Devotion—that distress is due to ignorance, simply ignorance. The distress and happiness... Actually you can see those who are not educated fairly, they cannot get any good job. Therefore it is, his distress is due to less, poor fund of knowledge. So actually our distress is due to ignorance and in ignorance only, we commit sinful activities. Therefore our topics began that, prāyaścittaṁ vimarśanam. We are trying to remove the ignorance of the people, therefore we are giving the best service to the human society. We are simply trying to remove the ignorance. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12), we are trying to polish or cleanse the heart. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ
So you, if the doll is broken, then, in due course of time, it mixes again. "Dust thou art, dust thou beist." Again mixes with the water, earth, air. There is no... So as soon as it is dismantled and dispersed, there is no more consciousness, or the feeling of happiness or distress. Because we are all concerned with the feelings of consciousness, of happiness and distress. Everyone is embarrassed.
So two things, they are known as sukha and duḥkha Sukha means "happiness" and duḥkha means "distress." So, as Prahlāda Mahārāja says, that this sukha and duḥkha-happiness and distress—is already destined. And soon as I get a certain type of body, my life's happiness and distresses are fixed up. That's all—you cannot change it. That is called destiny.
What is that friendship? At the end of 12th Chapter of Gita Krishna describes that the person "who is very dear to Him, or His best friend, is one who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me . . . He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anxiety, who is steady in happiness and distress . . . A devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and who does not strive for some result . . . One who neither grasps pleasure or grief, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things . . . One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contamination, always silent and satisfied with anything who doesn't care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and engaged in devotional service . . ." such person is described by Krishna as "very dear to Me."