The Five Miserable Conditions Of Material Existence

[Lord Krishna]“Another name for salvation is apavarga. Apavarga is the opposite of pavarga, or the various miserable conditions of material existence. The word Pavarga consists of the combinations of five letters: pa, pha, ba, bha and ma.” (The Nectar Of Devotion, Ch 59)

The Vedas are the original scriptural tradition, having no known date of inception. Also going by the term shrutis, they were first passed on in an aural tradition. Sound is so powerful that it can by itself relieve the consciousness from so many distresses. It is this consciousness which is the determining factor for the nature of living, both at present and moving forward.

“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.6)

The Supreme, the Almighty, God – whatever the preferred term for the higher being, the Vedas describe Him in so many ways. In Sanskrit the short “a” sound as a prefix usually negates a word. As the Supreme Lord is the opposite of so many things, He is often described in terms of these negations.

Through His favor the consciousness changes, which ideally brings a change of residence, from inauspicious to auspicious. The boon He grants is known as liberation, and it is the opposite of material existence. The material existence is miserable, with its different unwanted aspects included in the word pavarga.

1. Defeat

This year in the finals of professional basketball there is a rematch of each of the previous two years. It was a split, with each team winning once, but this time there is something notably different. The team that lost last season added a new player. This player is one of the best in the game. The critics say that this team doesn’t need this new player. Now they are too good. They are described as a “super team.”

Nevertheless, success is not always guaranteed. Eventually time takes its toll. There were great athletes from the past who are no longer playing. Their abilities diminished. This is one side of the defeat that plagues everyone. It is impossible to always get what you want. As this represents a frustration in desire, defeat is an unwanted aspect of material existence.

2. Exhaustion

Every person has their preferred way to pass time. It may not be identical throughout the different phases of life, but there are preferred activities nonetheless. Notice that it is not possible to remain in those activities indefinitely.

For instance, one person likes to consume adult beverages. It helps them temporarily escape from the pressures of life. Problems arise when sobriety is required later on. When the buzz from intoxication wears off, there are many negative effects.

The person who enjoys playing videogames cannot do so indefinitely. At the very least sleep is required. This is forced upon the person in the material existence. Exhaustion is something that has to be accepted, whether wanted or not.

3. Bondage

Sleep is evidence of this factor. The living entity is actually spirit soul, which is amazing. The soul can’t be killed. It can’t be created. It can’t be destroyed in any way. The same kind of soul that animates the body of the tiny ant animates the body of the genius scientist.

“Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.29)

The body is different. It becomes something like a holding cell for the spirit soul. The different body types, which are commonly referred to as species, bring different degrees of bondage. For instance, in the tree body the soul is greatly inhibited. Consciousness is barely evident. In the human body there is the most freedom, but even then the material elements are unforgiving in the influence they assert.

4. Fearfulness

The kshatriya class of men are known to be fearless. They risk life in order to protect others from injury. Others will never fully comprehend since they lack the mentality. Nevertheless, even with the most courageous fighter there is some fear. There is some concern over the future, which is unknown. In this way fear is an unwanted aspect of material existence that every person has to contend with to some degree.

5. Death

This is the guaranteed end for everything that takes birth. It is the face of God seen by the atheists, who refuse to accept the existence of a higher power. Despite their obstinacy, submit they must. Every person has the same fate, regardless of how high they climb or how low they fall.

Apavarga is the reverse of these conditions; hence it is synonymous with liberation. The Supreme Lord is the giver of apavarga. He brings a different kind of existence for those who surrender to Him. This surrender is marked by a change in attitude, from wanting to gain victory over the miserable aspects of a material existence to wanting only to put a smile on the face of the Supreme Lord, who is all-attractive and thus known as Krishna.

[Lord Krishna]Apavarga is a glimpse into the amazing potency of God. Despite the formidable nature of the material elements and the influence they wield over the spirit soul, prakriti is always an inferior energy. The spirit souls are part of the superior energy, and they can return to the dominating position only through the help of the person who grants apavarga.

In Closing:

Krishna, giver of apavarga is He,

In reverse only miseries to see.

Despite this year in winner’s seat,

Eventually all to suffer defeat.

Body creating situations binding,

Like compelled to sleep finding.

Death eventually following fear,

Only through Divine hurdles to clear.

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