I remember travelling in a car with Dr.Girish Rathodwhen he learned about the earthquake in Nepal. Upon hearing about the large scale destruction and loss of human lives, Dr.Rathod,an orthopedic surgeon,immediately organized a medical mission to go there and serve the affectedpeople. Many other ISKCON centerscame together and organized massive food relief missions for Nepal victims.
Yet, this was not the answer I was desperately seeking. What causes earthquakes? Of course seismologistsgive us a slickly made presentation with stimulating visuals and talk of epicentres and shifting of tectonic plates. But it still falls short of a complete answer. As I read some pages of Srimad- Bhagavatam, I got a satisfying answer.
Are you ready to face the truth? Am I ready?
Often we humans simply need a scapegoat. It is easy to dismiss natural catastrophes as simply “chance occurrences.”The Vedas explain that life in this material world is miserable. There are three basic kinds of miseries:adhyatmika miseriescaused by our own body and mind (sickness, emotional pain, etc.); adhibhautika miseries caused by other living entities (our friends, relatives, pets, etc.); and adhidaivika miseries (natural calamities like earthquakes, famines, etc.).
Although now we are discussing earthquakes as if they are the main causer of our unhappiness, the sad reality is that all of us are always are constantly suffering one or more of these miseries. This material nature is designed in such a way that we have to suffer. And we are trying to relieve the suffering by patchwork remedies.
Scientists, philosophers, religionists, atheists – everyone has a solution according to their beliefs and understanding. But what is the root cause of the problem? It is ignorance. In ignorance we feel that we are the lord and masters of this material creation. And that’s where our troubles begin.
Everyone thinks, “I can enjoy this world to my best capacity.” From the tiny ant up to the highest living creature, Brahma, everyone is trying to become a lord. During an election campaign candidates canvass to become the presidentof a country by presenting various manifestos: “I shall serve the country very nicely. Please give me your vote.”Why? Because they want to become some kind of lord. This is illusion.
The Bhagavad-gitagently moulds our mentality to be just the opposite: to become the servant. Instead of wanting to become a lord, we should want to become the servant of Krishna .
“This is slave mentality,” I hear you protesting loudly. But what else can we do? The lording mentality kicks us on our face with the three kinds of miseries! This consciousness – ”I shall become the master” – is the cause of all our suffering. This has to be understood. In trying to become master of this material world, we have become the servants of our senses.
We cannot avoid serving; every one of us is a servant. Still we rebel, “Why should I become a servant of God? I shall become the master.” Actually, no one can become the master. Our attempts to become masters have made us servants of his lust, avarice, and anger – servants of so many things. Even our attempts to become servants of humanity, society, or nation are polluted with the desire to become the master. That is the disease.
Constitutionally we all are servants. Nobody can say, “I am free; I am the master.” If someone thinks like in this way, he or she is in illusion.
Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord, and Arjuna is a human being. But Arjuna loves Krishna as a friend, and in response to Arjuna’s friendly love Krishna has become his chariot driver – his servant. Similarly, if we become reinstated in our transcendental loving relationship with Krishna , our aspiration for mastership will be fulfilled. If you agree to serve Krishna , gradually you will see that Krishna is also serving you.