This is the real problem. It is not "What shall I eat?" The birds and beasts have no such problem. In the morning they are immediately chirping, "Jee, jee, jee, jee." They know that they will have their food. No one is dying, and there is no such thing as overpopulation because everyone is provided for by God's arrangement. There are qualitative differences, but obtaining a superior quality of material enjoyment is not the end of life. The real problem is how to get free of birth, death, old age and disease. This cannot be solved by simply wasting time traveling within this universe. Even if one goes to the highest planet, this problem cannot be solved, for there is death everywhere.
Real problem (Books)
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
Although Arjuna was putting forward so many arguments based on knowledge of the principles of religion and moral codes, it appears that he was unable to solve his real problem without the help of the spiritual master, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He could understand that his so-called knowledge was useless in driving away his problems, which were drying up his whole existence; and it was impossible for him to solve such perplexities without the help of a spiritual master like Lord Kṛṣṇa. Academic knowledge, scholarship, high position, etc., are all useless in solving the problems of life; help can be given only by a spiritual master like Kṛṣṇa.
SB Canto 2
It is said there that those who are bereft of all good sense, or those whose intelligence is withdrawn by the deluding energy of māyā, aspire to achieve all sorts of material enjoyment in life by pleasing the various demigods, or by advancing in material civilization under the heading of scientific progress. The real problem of life in the material world is to solve the question of birth, death, old age and disease. No one wants to change his birthright, no one wants to meet death, no one wants to be old or invalid, and no one wants diseases. But these problems are solved neither by the grace of any demigod nor by the so-called advancement of material science. In the Bhagavad-gītā, as well as in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, such less intelligent persons have been described as devoid of all good sense.
SB Canto 6
"The living entity in material nature thus follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil amongst various species." If one fully engages in temporary fruitive activities and does not solve this real problem, what profit will he gain?
SB Canto 7
We see materialistic persons busily engaged in economic development all day and all night, trying to increase their material opulence, but even if we suppose that they get some benefit from such endeavors, that does not solve the real problem of their lives. Nor do they know what the real problem of life is. This is due to a lack of spiritual education. Especially in the present age, every man is in darkness, in the bodily conception of life, not knowing anything of the spirit soul and its needs. Misguided by the blind leaders of society, people consider the body to be everything, and they are engaged in trying to keep the body materially comfortable. Such a civilization is condemned because it does not lead humanity toward knowing the real goal of life. People are simply wasting time and the valuable gift of the human form because a human being who does not cultivate spiritual life but dies like the cats and dogs is degraded in his next life. From human life, such a person is put into the cycle of continuous birth and death. Thus one loses the true benefit of human life, which is to become Kṛṣṇa conscious and solve life's problems.
The real problem of life is the repetition of birth and death, which is like a wheel rolling repeatedly up and down. This wheel, however, completely stops when one is in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, by the transcendental bliss realized from constant engagement in devotional service, one is completely liberated from material existence. All learned men know this. Therefore, my dear friends, O sons of the asuras, immediately begin meditating upon and worshiping the Supersoul within everyone's heart.
Certainly one requires some means of livelihood, and according to one's varṇa and āśrama this means of livelihood is prescribed in the śāstras. One should be satisfied with this. Therefore, instead of hankering for more and more money, a sincere devotee of the Lord tries to invent some ways to earn his livelihood, and when he does so Kṛṣṇa helps him. Earning one's livelihood, therefore, is not a problem. The real problem is how to get free from the bondage of birth, death and old age. Attaining this freedom, and not inventing unnecessary necessities, is the basic principle of Vedic civilization. One should be satisfied with whatever means of life comes automatically. The modern materialistic civilization is just the opposite of the ideal civilization. Every day the so-called leaders of modern society invent something contributing to a cumbersome way of life that implicates people more and more in the cycle of birth, death, old age and disease.
SB Canto 8
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (3.9), yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ: "Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world." If we do not act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness we shall be entangled, like silkworms in cocoons. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, appears in order to teach us how to work so that we will not be entangled in this material world. Our real problem is that we are entangled in materialistic activities, and because we are conditioned, our struggle continues through punishment in material existence in one body after another in different forms of life.
Advaita Ācārya saw the entire world to be engaged in activities of material piety and impiety, without a trace of devotional service, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, anywhere. The fact is that in this material world there is no scarcity of anything except Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Material necessities are supplied by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. We sometimes feel scarcity because of our mismanagement, but the real problem is that people are out of touch with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Everyone is engaged in material sense gratification, but people have no plan for making an ultimate solution to their real problems, namely birth, disease, old age and death. These four material miseries are called bhava-roga, or material diseases. They can be cured only by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the greatest benediction for human society.
In the grim clutches of māyā, the first-class prisoners of this material world wrongly think themselves happy because they are rich, powerful, resourceful and so on. These foolish creatures do not know that they are nothing but play dolls in the hands of material nature and that at any moment material nature's pitiless intrigues can crush to dust all their plans for godless activities. Such foolish prisoners cannot see that however they improve their position by artificial means, the calamities of repeated birth, death, disease and old age are always beyond the jurisdiction of their control. Foolish as they are, they neglect these major problems of life and busy themselves with false things that cannot help them solve their real problems. They know that they do not want to suffer death or the pangs of disease and old age, but under the influence of the illusory energy, they are grossly negligent and therefore do nothing to solve the problems. This is called māyā.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Easy Journey to Other Planets
|Created:||20 of May, 2011|
|Totals by section:||BG=1, SB=6, CC=2, OB=1, Lec=0, Con=0, Let=0|
|No. of quotes:||10|