“From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.63)
“Doesn’t it seem to you that everyone is frustrated? Each person is upset about something. No one is happy. The general course of conversation with a stranger is to talk about the weather. Everyone is afflicted by that. Dig a little deeper and you learn there is some frustration over someone else. Mention that you like a particular politician and it could get you killed. If you prefer a championship sports team, the other person will spend quite a bit of time telling you why that team is terrible. Why can’t we all get along? Why does everybody hate everybody?”
Anecdotal evidence and television newscasts appear to confirm this assessment of the population at large. Is anyone happy? Even those who are materially well off seem to have a lot of fears. They are at odds with their neighbors. They are upset at this class of people or that. From studying the spiritual science we learn the cause of these conflicts.
1. Kama is never satisfied
The Sanskrit word kama has different English translations based on the context. The root meaning is “material desire.” Implied is forgetfulness of the Supreme. Bhakti is desire for pleasing God, and kama is like the shadow copy, a perverted version of the pure form.
Kama only exists in the material world, which is the land of birth and death. Material desire can never be fully satisfied. The hope still exists, and the cause is illusion. I got intoxicated last weekend, had a horrible time getting over the resulting illness, but somehow I think this weekend the same will bring a different outcome.
I see that people who are wealthy still have problems in life, but somehow I think that I will be different. Just let me get a little money and everything will be alright. Let me satisfy this one desire and there won’t be any more after that.
As kama is never satisfied, there is bound to be frustration, which then leads to anger. The target is not specific or limited. If I am angry, I can let it out at someone who has done nothing wrong. I might get so upset that I start hating everyone around me.
I want to enjoy. I want to succeed. I assess my progress based on others. I know that I am doing well in the race if the other runners are behind me. It might be that I am running slow, but all that matters is the distance in juxtaposition.
I am bound to not like the competitors. With kama everyone falls into that category. I might even be upset that my brother makes more money than me. My close friend has done so much good for me, and I should therefore be happy when fortune arrives at their door. But I am upset. Why didn’t the benefits come to me instead?
3. Don’t see spiritual equality
The spiritual science that is the Vedas reveals something very important at the outset. We are all equal. How can that be? One person is a man, another is a woman. One person grows up with parents and siblings in a home with a two-car garage, while another lives in squalor with barely any food to eat.
“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.18)
The equality is with the individual, at the root level. The body does not identify anyone, though we think otherwise. The body is prakriti, while the individual within is purusha. Prakriti is affected by fruitive work [karma] and time [kala]. Purusha, however, is spirit soul, so it can never be altered.
The same kind of soul animates every living thing. The cat and the dog are equal at the individual level. The same goes for the elephant and the cow, and the human being and the buffalo. Hatred of others can only become widespread when this vital knowledge is lacking. A person may be winning in terms of kama, but they are still no different than me in the area that matters most.
4. Envy that someone is enjoying more than me
This ties in with the competition factor. I hate someone because I think they are enjoying more than me. Never mind that time will eventually destroy everything. Ignore the spiritual equality. Pay no attention to the reality of rebirth, which is guaranteed for anyone who still has material desires at the time of death.
5. I identify with the body and thus get easily offended
Everyone is for free speech; that is until they get offended by someone’s speech. What qualifies as an offensive comment? Anything, really. The basis for the offense is identification with the body, which the more intelligent human being should shed after approaching a bona fide spiritual master. That teacher, the guru, is a tattva-darshi, which means they have seen the truth.
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.34)
A foundational aspect of that truth is the distinction between spirit and matter, individual and body. I think someone has offended me, but in fact they have only referred to bodily traits or circumstances. They have said nothing about who I really am. Reciprocally, others take offense to what I say, and thus no one gets along.
Through practicing bhakti, which is devotion, the kama eventually transforms. In the higher stages of the bhakti consciousness, the mentality flips. Soon I think everyone else is serving God better than me. I think they are superior and I have something to learn from them. They, in turn, respect me, as they are happy to see me always chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
So easy to carry with me hate,
Like when in competitive state.
With kama satisfaction none,
Needing more victories to be won.
With envious eye others viewing,
Reform only when bhakti work doing.
As individual, spirit soul to others relating,
Their service to Krishna appreciating.
Categories: the five