09.33 – The world is in a mess – as usual

by November 19, 2012

The daily news of natural disasters like hurricanes and human-made distresses like corruption show that the world is in a terrible mess. Seeing this, we may feel: can I, one small human being, make any significant difference?

Gita wisdom informs that we can surely make a difference – provided we see things differently.

We need to see that the messy state of the world is its usual nature, as the Bhagavad-gita (09.33) indicates.

Does this mean that we become callous towards the sufferings?

Not at all; it just means that we don’t let sentimentality prevent us from acknowledging reality. The world is like a hospital; suffering is to be expected here. The earlier the people in a hospital unsentimentally accept the inevitability of suffering there, that much earlier they can get on with the treatment – either take it themselves or administer it to others or do both.

The most potent treatment in this hospital-like world is devotional service to Krishna, as the same Gita verse states. Just as basic medical education explains how an oral medicine can counter a back-pain, basic philosophical education explains how devotional service can counter the world’s pressing problems.

Human-made distresses are caused by people excessively infected by the modes of passion and ignorance. Natural disasters are the mass karmic reactions to disharmonious actions done by societies afflicted by the lower modes. In both cases, the cause is infection by materialism.

Devotional service cures us from this infection by enabling us to experience higher spiritual happiness. The more we practice and share devotional service, the more we contribute to minimizing the mess here and also to helping people become successfully discharged from this hospital and return to eternal joyful life with Krishna.

That is the significant difference that each of us can – and should – make.

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