In the Vedas it is stated: asaṅgo'yaṁ puruṣaḥ. The living entity is actually separate from material existence, for the soul is not material. In Bhagavad-gītā it is also said that the living entity is the superior energy, and the material elements—earth, water, fire, air and so on—are the inferior energy. The material elements are also described as bhinna, or separated energy. When the internal or superior energy comes in contact with the external energy, it is subjected to so many tribulations. In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 2.14) the Lord also says, mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ: because of the material body, the living entity is subjected to many tribulations brought about by air, water, fire, extreme heat, extreme cold, sunshine, excessive eating, unhealthy food, maladjustments of the three elements of the body (kapha, pitta and vāyu), and so on. The intestines, the throat, the brain and the other parts of the body are affected by all kinds of diseases that are so powerful that they become sources of extreme suffering for the living entity. The living entity, however, is different from all these material elements. The two types of fever described in this verse can be explained in contemporary language as pneumonia and typhoid. When there is an extreme fever in the body, there is typhoid and pneumonia, and they are described as Prajvāra. There are also other miseries created by other living entities. The state exacts taxes, and there are also many thieves, rogues and cheaters. Miseries brought about by other living entities are called adhibhautika. There are also miseries in the form of famine, pestilence, scarcity, war, earthquakes and so on. These are caused by the demigods or other sources beyond our control. Actually there are many enemies of the living entities, and these are all described to point out how miserable this material existence is.
Knowing the basic misery of material existence, one should be induced to get out of the material clutches and return home, back to Godhead. Actually the living entity is not at all happy in this material body. Because of the body, he suffers thirst and hunger and is influenced by the mind, by words, by anger, by the belly, by the genitals, by the rectum, and so on. Manifold miseries encircle the transcendental living entity simply because he desires to satisfy his senses in this material world. If he simply withdraws from activities of sense gratification and applies his senses in the service of the Lord, all the problems of material existence will immediately diminish, and with the advancement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he will be freed from all tribulation and, after giving up the body, will return home, back to Godhead.