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Cause of Suffering


All endeavours in the field of Science are to reduce the miseries of man and to increase his comforts. A fan is used to reduce the misery of sweating. A grinder is used to avoid the misery of manual grinding. A motorcycle is used to avoid the misery of pedalling. These are simple examples. In a similarw'ay, all advances in Science, Technology and Medicine are aimed at reducing the miseries and, if possible, ending them altogether.


Threefold Miseries


Despite all this advancement, at every moment everyone is suffering due to at least one of the following threefold miseries. These are:


1.Miseries caused by one's own mind and body {adhyatmika klesha): The body and the mind give rise to innumerable problems. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, in the year 2000, in America, 19 million youths were suffering from mental related illness; everyday 1200 youths were attempting to commit suicide and one tenth of them were successful. Thus sometimes people are driven to the point of suicide due to mental frustration. In old age, the deteriorating body gives varieties of problems. For example, once a person grows beyond 80 years, generally he can't even sit or stand without back-pain.


2) Miseries caused by other living entities {adhibhautika klesha) : Even if you have a healthy body and mind, others will not let you live in peace. Even if everything is nicely arranged in your life, some other living entity, such as your enemy, boss, colleague, relative, family member or friend, terrorists or, if no one else, then a mosquito or a virus, is sure to make our life miserable.


3) Miseries caused by nature (adhidaivika klesha): Floods, droughts, famines, earthquakes, hurricanes etc are devastating calamities imposed upon us through the agency of nature. A volcanic eruption at Pompeii devoured 20,000 people under a 20 ft high lava layer. The recent tsunami tidal wave disaster swallowed 3,80,000 lives in a few minutes. Even if these come only occasionally, they wreak havoc whenever they come. And moreover, we are being constantly tormented by the changes in the weather such as scorching heat, freezing cold and untimely rains.


Who can say that he is not being harassed constantly by one of these problems? The very fact that more than a dozen tranquilizers or painkillers are advertised on TV shows that there must be some suffering. Each person spends every moment preserving their life, belongings, kith and kin, job or post, reputation etc. But the world we live in, takes all these away eventually despite our efforts to hold on to them. Thus a wise person should ponder, "Why should our lives be ridden with the anxiety of facing and tackling one problem after another? Is this all that life is meant for? Or is there a life of eternal joy that is never inhibited by sufferings?"


Scientific advancement: ingenuous way of covering reality


Have we become successful in counteracting these sufferings or real problems of life birth, old age, disease and death? We have only become experts in covering up the reality. In fact, 'advancement' means 'newer and more ingenuous ways of covering up the reality'.


Once a man became allured by the beauty of a girl; she was tall, had long hair and wore a stylish cooling glass. He followed her all the way to her house in order to get to know more about her. When she entered her house, he peeped in through the window. He found her removing her high heels and her height reduced drastically. She removed her wig and her bald head showed up. She removed her cooling glasses and her sunken eyes within their sockets were exposed. She removed her teeth set and her actual age stood exposed - not 16 but 60.


Similarly modern science has come up with many sophisticated technological gadgets which give a superficial veneer of comfort and advancement to life. But actually when one gets a deeper vision, one understands that below this razzle-dazzle, the problems of life still persist; we still have to suffer due to old age, disease and death.