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01 Apr 2019 | Monday | by Sudama Vipra Dasa

Ignorance is not Bliss

IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS

Simply by trying to cover our sufferings by artificial means, that is not solution. That is ignorance. The suffering can be solved by enlightenment of spiritual life, spiritual bliss. – Srila Prabhupada


Yamaräja once asked Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira, "What is the most wonderful thing within this world?" Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira replied (Mahäbhärata, Vana-parva 313.116):

ahany ahani bhütäni

gacchantéha yamälayam

çeñäù sthävaram icchanti

kim äçcaryam ataù param

Hundreds and thousands of living entities meet death at every moment, but a foolish living being nonetheless thinks himself deathless and does not prepare for death. This is the most wonderful thing in this world.

 

Ignoring real problems of life

Kåñëa says in Bhagavad-gétä that our real trouble is janma-måtyu—birth and death.  At the time of death there are many troubles, and we become very fearful. After death, one has to enter into the womb of another mother. That is also a very fearful stage. One becomes packed in a bag, and this bag is filled with stool and urine, and one has to remain packed in this airtight bag for nine months.  Even when we are not suffering the pangs of birth and death, there are the threefold miseries - ädhyätmika, ädhibhautika, ädhidaivika. We are being attacked moment after moment by one thing after another, yet people close their eyes to birth, old age, disease and death. The atheists want to forget these miseries, and therefore they like to think that there is no life after death. We are trying to cover the suffering by some nonsense means: by forgetfulness, by drinking, by intoxication.  We are entangled by a very terrible fear, but we have become so dull due to the spell of mäyä that we do not care.

 

Satisfied with temporary happiness

The living entity thinks that he is very happy in whatever body he gets. He may get the body of a dog or the body of a cat, but he is happy in his body, and he does not want to lose it. This is called illusion.  Once Lord Indra, the King of the heavenly planets, was cursed by Båhaspati to become a hog. He was going about on earth enjoying his hog body when finally Lord Brahmä came and told him, "My dear Indra, you have suffered enough. Now come with me and return to your heavenly kingdom." Indra in the form of a hog said, "Where shall I go?" "To the heavens," Lord Brahmä replied. Indra said, "No, I have my family and children. How can I go? I am very happy. Let me remain here." In this way, everyone is thinking that he is very happy, although he is in a horrible and fearsome condition.  We should not be like the hog, falsely thinking that we are very happy. Working hard all day and night, then having some sex life—we think that in this way we are very happy. But this is not happiness.  The Srimad Bhagavatam 10.20.37 states

naivävidan kñéyamäëaà

jalaà gädha-jale-caräù

yathäyur anv-ahaà kñayyaà

narä müòhäù kuöumbinaù

 

The fish swimming in the increasingly shallow water did not at all understand that the water was diminishing, just as foolish family men cannot see how the time they have left to live is diminishing with every passing day.

Just as moths are captivated by the glaring brightness of light, and thus they become prey to the fire, living entities who remain blissfully ignorant of the real problems of life meet with destruction.

 

Ignorance is animalistic life

Ignorance is like the animal existence. The animal is being taken to the slaughterhouse, but still he's happy.

When the rabbit is face to face with some ferocious animal, it closes its eyes and thinks he is safe. Similarly, simply by trying to cover our sufferings by artificial means is not the solution. That is ignorance.  So when one cannot understand his sufferings of this material contamination or when he does not attempt to solve them, his life is animal life. 

 

Human life meant for spiritual bliss

A human being should be situated in the mode of goodness. Then he can understand what true happiness is.  The Vedas teach us that we are not this matter. We are Brahman. Ahaà brahmäsmi. When one is situated in his own spiritual consciousness, then he will have no hankering and no lamentation. Even if one is situated in the midst of fiery turbulence, one will not be disturbed.  We will find ourselves joyful in every circumstance of life. We will never feel morose. In the Bhagavad-gétä we find that this is our brahma-bhüta situation.

 

Curing the jaundice of ignorance

This state can be awakened by taking to chanting the holy names of Lord Krishna.  The Nectar of Devotion states, “The holy name, character, pastimes and activities of Kåñëa are all transcendentally sweet like sugar candy. Although the tongue of one afflicted by the jaundice of avidyä [ignorance] cannot taste anything sweet, it is wonderful that simply by carefully chanting these sweet names every day, a natural relish awakens within his tongue, and his disease is gradually destroyed at the root.”  By following this process, one can make a permanent solution to the real problems of life and experience happiness spiritual happiness by elevating himself from the mode of ignorance to the brahma-bhuta platform.