“For one who worships Me, giving up all his activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, who has fixed his mind upon Me, O son of Pritha, for him I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.6-7)
Compassionate in nature, the mature adult looks to help others. They have been blessed with good fortune. They see the images on television. They read about the horror stories. They desperately want to help, in any way they can.
The truth of the matter is that the challenges of material life do not discriminate. Every kind of person faces them, even those we wouldn’t think to be in a position requiring help.
1. The poor man
The need here is rather obvious. The poor are not as well off materially. They may not have a lot of money. Perhaps they live in substandard housing conditions. They are constantly in need. They may have to take to begging, such as riding the subways and asking passengers for donations.
The destitution might cause great fear. A person can be living extravagantly and still be poor. They may have amassed a large amount of debt, which they will have to pay off eventually. At every moment there is concern for how life will be maintained. Dependents add to the anxiety.
2. The wealthy businessman
The challenge here relates to time. Material life equates to change. Those changes constantly occur, but during some periods the shifts are more easily identified, such as with a major life event. The individual within does not change, however.
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)
The person successful in business may enjoy great wealth at the moment, but competition is lurking around the corner. Technology causes consumer patterns to change, as well. Just because a business is successful today doesn’t mean it will remain that way going forward. This is a source of great anxiety.
3. The politician
Many centuries ago a famous statesman said to never trust a woman or a politician. In modern times the politician is out to get votes only. This means they will say whatever needs to be said in order to gain favor with the public. Success for a politician is winning. Doing a good job isn’t necessarily rewarded.
A successful politician isn’t guaranteed to remain so. The public might get fed up with the direction of the country. They want change. Someone who has done so much for the constituents can get kicked to the curb in the next election.
4. The celebrity
Famous for one reason or another, they are loved at the moment. They make the news simply by where they decide to eat. The romances are covered by journalists. The products they endorse show strong increases in sales.
Fame can quickly turn to infamy, however. One slipup and everyone sees. There is no privacy. The celebrity can’t just go to the supermarket when they run low on milk and bread. They will get mobbed by the adoring public. Let loose on eating for a bit and everyone will notice. Undergo costly and risky surgery in order to maintain a certain appearance.
5. The aspiring transcendentalist
This person has turned away from material life. They don’t want money. They are not concerned with fame. They understand that whatever is gained must be lost, as that is the nature of a temporary existence. They want something more. They want to connect with the spiritual energy, which has a source.
“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8)
Even here the challenges of material life remain. There are the threefold miseries: from the heavens, from other living entities, and from within. After all, death is guaranteed. The end of life must be effected in some way, and it doesn’t always give notice prior to its arrival.
Fortunately, there is a way to get help. Those who try to connect directly with the source, Bhagavan, get His attention. The challenges are there, regardless, but ignorance contributes to make the problem worse. Bhagavan shines the light of knowledge from within and helps to remove the ignorance.
“Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.11)
For those who are devoted to Him, He is the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death. He makes that direct promise in the Bhagavad-gita, which was spoken to a noble warrior who was struggling with a formidable challenge himself.
Suffering everyone from miseries three,
From high to low, not a one is free.
Like poor person money seeking,
Or wealthy competition’s edge keeping.
The famous to store can’t even go,
Politician changing tides to know.
For devotees from Krishna special gift,
With extended hand from trouble to lift.
Categories: the five