How to avoid suffering in the material modes
(Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami)
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Everyone feels bewildered and anguished at some point of time because of dysfunctional relationships. Dealing satisfactory with other individuals at all times requires wisdom and in the Bhagavatam verse 4.8.34 the formula is given for avoiding suffering in the material modes by acting properly in our relationships. His Holiness Mahavishnu Goswami gave a discourse on this verse Saturday 29th December 2008 in Rajkot and in the following I will convey the points from this lecture as I understood them.
gunaadhikaan mudam lipsed
maitrim samaanaad anvicchen
na taapair abhibhuyate
'Every man should act like this: when he meets a person more qualified than himself, he should be very pleased; when he meets someone less qualified than himself, he should be compassionate toward him; and when he meets someone equal to himself, he should make friendship with him. In this way one is never affected by the threefold miseries of this material world.'
Our every endeavor is to keep the body in working order, then we can utilize it for self-realization. A healthy body earns Laxmi easily for maintenance. Every Vedic instruction is meant for keeping a healthy body for the purpose of self-realization and bodily maintenance. Vedic instructions are in other words healthy attitudes. In dealings with superiors, those who are inferior and equals we should cultivate the following healthy attitudes:
1) Superior - When we meet with a superior, a superior means one who is either more knowledgable, elder or richer than ourselves, then we should be happy. Happiness means that every follicle of hair on the body becomes blooming. If one is happy, then the whole body is happy and the blood circulation flows nicely.
2) Inferior - Pick up those who are inferior, if nothing else one can request them to chant.
3) Equals - Equals should be friends. Friendship means that we go happily along together and that there is no ill will. Take fx medical students who study nicely together.
The material attiudes towards others are opposite to the healthy Vedic attitudes. Generally if people meet the following three types of people the following material attitudes follow:
1) Superiors - They are envious.
2) Inferiors - They kick them and disrespect them.
3) Equals - They compete with them.
This is why people in general suffer in the threefold miseries. Everybody wants to reduce the suffering, but they do not want to follow the formula for reducing suffering. And the general public, being ignorant of the simple Vedic formulas, they try to find out some ways to be happy. For example they may buy a new car to reduce the suffering and the result is that they are entangled in its complexities: 1)They have to find money to buy the car or take a loan 2) aquire the driving license 3) buy the petrol 4) pay the taxes 5) repair the car, and so on and so forth. In the end, instead of reducing their suffering they become more miserable. Every verse in the Bhagavatam gives simple clues how to reduce the suffering, if we ignore these clues the suffering increases. These instructions are meant for everybody, it is not sectarian. These points should be revealed to the public and magnified, so they can understand the simple saintly behaviour.
To focus on our sadhana and go along smoothly with the society around us is the Vedic lifestyle, which teaches how to behave with persons around and how to go to Krishna very fast. Our sadhana must go on. Devotees may care or not care, however we go on our way increasing our sadhana. The main flow of the river is toward the ocean. People may go to the river to wash their clothes, wash their cars, take out the water, but the river ignores all the different usages and even then continues the main flow. We are bound to come across the different persons in the society. Try to excuse them by thinking 'It doesnt matter'. People are products of their circumstances and their actions are governed by the modes.This is how to safeguard our interest in going to Krishna and ignoring success or failure in our so-called relationships. We nevertheless try our best to deal with everybody really nicely.
Always remember the spiritual approach and the material approach. The whole thing should be in the front of our eyes, and then try to present it in a simple and palatable way for the public.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Hare Rama Hare Rama
and be happy.