Natural Disasters: Adhidaivika

All schemes are only useless scraps of paper in the face of war, famine, earthquakes and other disasters. All these disasters are warnings from Mother Durga, and by them she confirms her eternal superiority over the illusioned planmakers.

[Excerpt from Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Ch 3]

It is the duty of a disciple approaching a spiritual master to inquire about his constitutional position. In conformity to that spiritual process, Sanatana has already asked, “What am I, and why am I suffering from the threefold miseries?”

The threefold miseries are called adhyatmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika. The word adhyatmika refers to those miseries caused by the mind and body. Sometimes the living entity suffers bodily, and sometimes he is distressed mentally. Both are adhyatmika miseries. We experience these miseries even in the womb of our mother. As we well know, there are many types of miseries that take advantage of the delicate human body and give us pain. Miseries inflicted by other living entities are called adhibhautika. These living entities need not even be large, for there are many—such as bugs—that can make us miserable even while we are sleeping in bed. There are many insignificant living entities, like cockroaches, that sometimes give us pain, and there are also other living entities who are born on different kinds of planets and who give us miseries.

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If By Chance We Meet A Saintly Person…

Prabhupada

…Sometimes an ever-liberated personal associate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead descends into this universe just as the Lord descends. Although working for the liberation of conditioned souls, the messenger of the Supreme Lord remains untouched by the material energy. Generally ever-liberated personalities live in the spiritual world as associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and they are known as kṛṣṇa-pāriṣada, associates of the Lord. Their only business is enjoying Lord Kṛṣṇa’s company, and even though such eternally liberated persons come within this material world to serve the Lord’s purpose, they enjoy Lord Kṛṣṇa’s company without stoppage. The ever-liberated person who works on Kṛṣṇa’s behalf enjoys Lord Kṛṣṇa’s company through his engagement.

… The conditioned soul subjected to the threefold material miseries is ceaselessly kicked by māyā, and this is his disease. If by chance he meets a saintly person who works on Kṛṣṇa’s behalf to deliver conditioned souls, and if he agrees to abide by his order, he can gradually approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.(from purport to Madhya-lila 22.14-15)

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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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