The Threefold Miseries

Les Miserables poster

[*Note; Les Misérables (“The Miserable Ones”); translated variously from the French as The Miserable Ones, The Wretched, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, or The Victims]

Often while reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, he talks about getting free from the miseries of life, or the threefold miseries. For instance in this purport it is described:

…One who is Kṛṣṇa conscious is a perfect yogī; he is aware of everyone’s happiness and distress by dint of his own personal experience. The cause of the distress of a living entity is forgetfulness of his relationship with God. And the cause of happiness is knowing Kṛṣṇa to be the supreme enjoyer of all the activities of the human being. Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor of all lands and planets. The perfect yogī is the sincerest friend of all living entities. He knows that the living being who is conditioned by the modes of material nature is subjected to the threefold material miseries due to forgetfulness of his relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Because one in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is happy, he tries to distribute the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa everywhere. Since the perfect yogī tries to broadcast the importance of becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is the best philanthropist in the world, and he is the dearest servitor of the Lord.

I thought we could do a short post on just what are the threefold miseries, and how can one become free from them.

The threefold miseries are:

(1) Those miseries which arise from the mind and body

(2) Those miseries inflicted by other living beings

(3) Those miseries arising from natural catastrophes over which one has no control.

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Winter

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“O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress and their disappearance in due course are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.”

In summer we suffer, and in winter we suffer. In the summer, fire brings suffering, and in the winter the same fire is pleasing. Similarly, in the winter, water is suffering, but in the summer it is pleasing. The water and the fire are the same, but sometimes they are pleasing, sometimes they are not….The more we are in the bodily conception, the more we suffer.

Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahuti
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 11, Text 23

mad-āśrayāḥ kathā mṛṣṭāḥ
śṛṇvanti kathayanti ca
tapanti vividhās tāpā
naitān mad-gata-cetasaḥ

Engaged constantly in chanting and hearing about Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the sādhus do not suffer from material miseries because they are always filled with thoughts of My pastimes and activities.

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