“Suffering without knowledge, without remedy, is animal life. One who cannot understand that he is suffering and who thinks that he is very well off is in animal consciousness, not human consciousness. The human being should be cognizant of suffering the threefold miseries of this planet. One should know that he is suffering in birth, suffering in death, suffering in old age and suffering in disease, and one should be inquisitive as to how he may avoid the suffering. That is real research work.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Easy Journey To Other Planets, Ch 2)
1. The type of house I purchased
“We went with a townhome. I know there is the smaller backyard, the closer proximity to neighbors, the shared walls, the monthly maintenance fee, and so forth. We look at these as welcome compromises. For instance, we don’t want a large yard to maintain on a regular basis.
“The walls are actually soundproof, meaning we don’t hear anything from the neighboring units while inside of the home. The fee takes care of so much responsibility that we would rather not deal with. There are also the added amenities, such as a swimming pool, clubhouse, and gym. These are within walking distance from where we live. Oh, and there is a security guard at the gated entrance, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
“We are pretty happy so far. It took a lot of research to settle on the right place. Of course, not everything is perfect, but what can you do? I know some people that find the single-family home they love, only to discover an incessantly barking dog next-door, after they move in.”
2. What I watched on television last night
“They did a reboot of my favorite show. Most of the original cast have returned. I guess this is the reality nowadays. Even younger people have an interest in the older shows, with the waning popularity of cable television and the like. Streaming is the future, it seems, and even I have hopped on the bandwagon.
“The new program is pretty good. I watched the entire first season last night. What did you watch? Do you subscribe to the same service? Maybe we can pick a show that is new to each of us and then watch the new episodes together, as they air.”
3. Where I went to eat dinner last week
“Yeah, that was certainly a new place. I know it is in the same location as the others, but you know how it goes. It seems like nothing is able to succeed, though the type of cuisine remains the same. They are trying to piggyback off the presence of the local supermarkets, which cater to a specific ethnicity.
“The food was okay. We might eat there again. I have the same problem with all of these places. In the name of cost-cutting they use subpar ingredients. None of the dishes resembles what you would make at home. I guess they don’t care. They can get away with lack of authenticity due to the relatively high interest of the customers who live nearby.”
4. The features in my new car
“The integration with the smartphone is key. I don’t even have to take the phone out of my pocket. It connects to the system wirelessly. All the phone calls and text messages get routed through the entertainment system. It is pretty convenient, I must say.
“The rearview camera is valuable. I can back into so many parking spaces now without issue. It is easier to get in and out of the garage. The heated seats come in handy during the winter, and the moonroof adds style and elegance. I don’t know how I waited so long to upgrade.”
5. The self-help book I am reading
“It is about how to be more productive in daily life. We make so many plans but never follow through on them. The key is to make a list at the start of each day and then try to complete as many items as possible. If we focus on the short-term, the long-term takes care of itself. I guess it is something like the saying, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’”
For some reason, if I have come upon an amazing discovery relating to the cause of all suffering, the interest on the other side will decrease. They may listen to me for a few minutes or so, but after a while the resemblance and connection to religion and God will turn them away.
“Are you getting all religious on me? Have you found God? I mean that’s good for you and all. I totally respect what you are into, but that is not my focus at the moment. I believe in a higher power, for sure, but right now I am young. I have other responsibilities, and I cannot simply give up everything to worry about that. I don’t have an interest.”
While we may intentionally postpone our dedication to spiritual life, the suffering does not extend a similar courtesy. Rather, the information I have stumbled upon explains that birth itself is the cause. Moreover, the human being has the great fortune to make this discovery. They are exclusively equipped to handle the information.
They can act off of the knowledge. The animal community only experiences suffering. They carry along in the ways of instinct: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. They cannot do anything to stop future birth, wherein the cycle repeats.
I am suffering in every way, and the parampara system has done all the difficult research work already. Those who take birth in the material world, which is the land of repeated appearance and disappearance, are forced to suffer or enjoy based on their work.
“This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.10)
The pace of movement is at the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. Through His grace we have the opportunity to escape. Consciousness is the vital component, and the individual who focuses on Bhagavan while quitting the body never has to return.
The suffering prior to that moment continues, but the effects are lessened, to a degree. It is something like the electric fan still spinning after shutting off the power source. The previous actions result in the future consequences, but after the fact there is a different nature.
If I connect with Bhagavan in consciousness, I am not only aware of the cause of my suffering, but I have the chance to change the nature of my interaction within this world of birth and death. This is due entirely to His mercy, who has provided the parampara system for my rescue and reawakening into the Divine consciousness.
What eating for dinner to share,
But for suffering’s cause not to care.
Since like religion sounding,
Erected resistance resounding.
But if the reason for suffering found,
Ready to assist all around.
That through consciousness made,
So no more by illusion played.
Categories: the five