Published on July 18th, 2022 | by Madhudvisa dasa
A fish is just a fish…
Many people write asking why there are so many problems in the world and why Krishna is making them suffer and why they are not happy here in the material world. People do not understand that this material world is a place of suffering and death and that we can not be happy here. We are not meant to be happy here. The material world is not designed to make us happy, it is designed to frustrate us. This material world is like the prison house. If the criminals are sent to the prison they can not expect to be happy in the prison. The prison is for suffering.
No matter how advanced, educated or spiritual we consider ourselves we have to realize that we are in prison so we are criminals and because of that we are going to be forced to suffer.
To understand this we need to see the “bigger picture”.
This material world is only a small part of the creation of the Supreme Lord. The major portion of the creation is the spiritual world. This material world is not more than a quarter of the whole creation. We can live in either the spiritual world or the material world. And where we live depends on our consciousness. Everyone in the spiritual world realizes their eternal constitutional position is to serve Krishna. They know they are small and Krishna is great so they surrender to Krishna and serve him in many different ways.
So everything in the spiritual world is centered around serving Krishna. Everyone has a common goal, to please Krishna, and everyone can work together cooperatively with this one purpose, to please Krishna. The spritual world is our real home, that is where we belong and that is the only place we can be happy. We are spiritual by nature. The spiritual nature is sat-cit-ananda-vigraha, it means an eternally youthful spiritual form that is full of knowledge and ever increasing transcendental bliss. That is our real nature and that is the nature of the spiritual world so we can only be happy in the spiritual world. It is like if you take a fish out of water you can give him all sorts of gold coins and nice comfortable beds and beautiful women, but the fish will not be satisfied by any of these things. The fish can not be satisfied out of the water, because that is his nature similarly we can not be satisfied in the material world because we are spiritual by nature.
So it is completely pointless and an absolute waste of time to work very hard to try and be comfortable in the material world. It is not possible for us to be comfortable in the material world, no matter how hard we work, we will always be just like the fish out of water, gasping for air and suffocating.
Devotees know this an therefore they have no interest in the things that materialists are very much attracted to like family members and money and sex and everything that the material senses crave for. Devotees do not want any of this because they know it is all illusory and there is no pleasure, only suffering is the result of sense gratification.
If you find a beautiful women and fall in love with her then that will only be an unlimited source of suffering and pain for you. She is very expensive, so you have to work very, very hard to try and satisfy her with a nice house and jewelery made out of gold and diamonds. And no matter what you give he she will never be satisfied. And then one day, after you have completely exhausted yourself trying to satisfy her she will look over your shoulder and see a younger man and drop you and ‘fall in love’ with him. And of course you will be devastated, heart-broken. But you should not be surprised. That is what love is in the material world…
There is no love actually in the material world. The real love is between us and Krishna and that real love is displayed in the spiritual world between Krishna and His devotees. What we think of as love in the material world is nothing but a perverted reflection of the real love that is there in the spiritual world between Krishna and His devotees.
This material world in all respects is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. When you look into a mirror you see a reflection of your face. So you can get the idea what your face looks like. But if you are shaving and you try to shave that face in the mirror then that is not possible. It is only a reflection, it is not real, it is not really there. Love in the material world is like that. It is a reflection of the real love between Krishna and His devotees that is there in the spiritual world. But all we have here is the reflection. There is no actual substance. We can get the idea about love, we can understand to some extent the feelings of love, but the actual love, that is not available here in the material world.
So the material world is intrinsically frustrating. We have a general idea of what is going on in the spiritual world because everything we see here is a reflection of the real thing in the spiritual world. But the reflection we see is perverted. It is like if there is a tree on the bank of a river you can see that tree reflected in the river but the reflection is distorted because of the movement of the water. So you can not really see the tree as it is. You see a perverted reflection of the tree. Similarly this material world is a reflection of the spiritual world and the substance which distorts that reflection is our desire.
In the spiritual world there is only one desire, the desire to serve Krishna, and everyone in the spiritual world is in love with Krishna. Krishna is the enjoyer in the spiritual world and there everyone else is enjoyed by Him, engaged in His service. There Krishna is the master and everyone else is serving Him. But Krishna does not force anyone to serve Him. We are all like Krishna in quality. The difference between us and Krishna is that Krishna is unlimitedly great and we are unlimitedly small. It is a question of magnitude. Krishna is unlimited and we are infinitesimal. But we are made of exactly the same substance as Krishna, our spirit soul of course, not the material body. Krishna does not have a material body. We are brahman and Krishna is para-brahman. So in the sense of quality we are the same as Krishna but we are very limited in every respect and Krishna is unlimited in every respect.
So Krishna is supremely independent, therefore we, as parts and parcels of Krishna, are also independent, but not supremely independent, still we have a little independence. At least we can choose not to serve Krishna, not to love Krishna. That independence we have to have because our relationship with Krishna is one of voluntary service and voluntary surrender. So we have to be able to not surrender to Krishna, otherwise there would be no meaning to surrender to Krishna if Krishna forced us to serve Him.
So because some of the living entities see that everyone is serving Krishna and that Krishna is the master of everyone, they get the idea that they would like to be the master of everyone… They want to become Krishna…
Of course it is impossible for an infinitesimal living entity to become the whole as Krishna is the whole. Krishna is everything, everything is within Krishna. So these living entities who cultivate this desire to become the master, to become the enjoyer, to become like Krishna, are actually insane. Because it is not possible for one drop of ocean water to become the ocean. It is not possible for one photon of sunlight to become the sun.
But still from Krishna’s point of view what to do with these living entities who have misused their independence and turned against Him and who have become insane and want to become the master just like Krishna?
So Krishna’s solution to this problem is to create this material world that we are now in. So we have to know that we are those insane living entities who have rejected the service of Krishna, who do not want to serve but want to be the master. That is us. We are insane criminals and we have been sent here to the material world by Krishna on one hand so we can fulfill to some extent our perverted desires and on the other hand so we can suffer and become frustrated and hopefully eventually rectified to the position where we understand that we are servants of Krishna and that we can never be happy separately from Krishna and we can never become the master like Krishna…
It is sometimes said that we have created this material world because if we did not misuse our independence and desire to become like Krishna there would be no need for this material world. Basically everything in this material world is manifested in such a way that all the living entities can simultaneously fulfill their karma. There is no chance in the material world. If someone is suffering they deserve that suffering. It means in the past, either in this life or previous lives, they caused suffering to someone else, so now they are suffering the reaction to that.
Although we are not these material bodies when we take birth in the material world in a material body, although that body is not us, although the body is no more that a set of clothing covering the spirit soul, we identify with the body as ourselves. So I am thinking “I am an Australian man” because I was born in a male body in Australia. But I am not this body. I had many different bodies before in previous lives and when this Australian man’s body is completely old and useless I will leave it behind and take on another body…
It is this false identification of the self with the material body that is the source of all our suffering and troubles in the material world. We take on the interest of the senses of the body as our interest when in actuality we can never become satisfied by satisfying the senses of the body. This is the key illusion upon which everything in the material world is moving.
The solution to all of this is to become Krishna conscious. If we can actually become devotees of Krishna then we will no longer be in the material world, we will be in the spritual world, even though it appears that we still have a material body, it will act as spiritual and we will no longer be illusioned by the bodily concept of life and we will be in the spiritual world… To become a devotee of Krishna requires the blessings of a pure devotee of Krishna. We have to find a pure devotee of Krishna and surrender to him and serve him and if we can please him then by his mercy only it will be possible for us to embark on the path of bhakti.
Anyhow it is a very big subject that is much more eloquently covered by Srila Prabhupada in his books so please read Srila Prabhupada’s books and you will be able to understand these things much more clearly than I can explain them.
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!