The typical question which pops in our mind is “Who is responsible for it? Is it Providence?
Everyone does this query at some point of time in their life. Often, we pose this question to ourselves. A famous swami was questioned by a person on the same. When he was questioned that if the sufferings of man were creations of God and why the suffering? The swami answered: It is the Pastime of God. The Person argued: If so, why the living entities are put under karma and living entities implicated. The swami was clueless. The man was not satisfied with the answer of that swami. Consequently, the assembly of people looked skeptical of that swami.
The philosophy of oneness of God and Living entity advocated by monists and impersonalists, doesn’t satisfy the heart of an inquisitive person.
True to the nomenclature of scriptures addressing the lord as “Leela Purushotam”, the supreme lord is involved in his sweet pastimes by his own will. The Vedanta sutras describe him as ‘änandamayo abhyäsät’. The supreme lord is eternally involved in acts of bliss. But, explanation of monists and impersonalists imperfectly try to uphold their false theories on enjoyment.
A city is attractive to our eyes because of its variety. The monuments, buildings, parks, foodstuff etc. of different kinds make a city attractive. Either it may be the countryside or the city, in rudimentary form or polished; they attract different sections of people according to one’s taste. Thus we see, Variety is the mother of enjoyment. This is the right explanation of the famous adage in Vedanta Sutra: “änandamayo abhyäsät” Nobody can enjoy pleasure or ‘ananda’ alone.
Men are ignorantly seeking variety of enjoyment in matter; either in natural beauty of woods or in the modern varieties of an urban city, for they are ignorant of the spiritual enjoyment. If matter has so many varieties, how is spirit, the source of matter denied the varieties? The Supreme Absolute is full of such variegatedness. But the impersonalists have declared to reject everything including the spiritual variety. Real pleasure of variety eternally exists in spirit and matter produces a delusive representation of such spiritual varieties.
The Supreme lord being joyful in nature (sac-cid-änanda vigraha) is one but has expanded himself by his non-different energies, separated parts and complete portions. This autonomous planned act of expansion; full of action and reaction is called Leela or transcendental pastime. The Bhagavad gita describes the preliminary science of action and reaction of these diverse energies of the absolute truth.
The first axiomatic statement in the Vedanta is “athato brahma-jijïäsä”, which means this is the time for inquiring about the transcendental science. The great sages of yore have recommended every intelligent human being to inquire in this science. Human life is meant for cultivating this wisdom.
A rational man should inquire about his status of life. All living beings in this world are subject to miseries of one kind or another. The fact is that humans are suffering miseries. Everybody is planning to get free of these miseries and be happy, but all are baffled by the power of ‘Daivi Maya’ or illusory energy of the Supreme lord. Under the supervision of the Lord, ‘Daivi Maya’ or ‘Prakrti’ is controlling the actions and reactions in this material world through the karma of a living entity and she constantly inflicts miseries upon living entities according to their karma. She is also referred as ‘Durga’ or as the force which is very difficult to cross. No one can surpass her by their so called material strategies. None of the intelligent campaigns of an ordinary conditioned mortal would suffice to cross her. Only the method suggested in the Scriptures especially the Bhagavad gita would give us the solution to the miseries. These scriptural policies and strategies when embraced benefit all of us in extinguishing the miseries.
The miseries of this world are not the ‘Leela’ of the Supreme Lord. The nature of the Absolute truth is eternally joyful and his transcendental pastimes are non-different from him. The name, fame, qualities and pastimes are all identical with him. There is no shade of misery in his pastimes. Distress is not caused because of his ‘Leela’. The propaganda of various so called godly men, referring to the lord’s pastimes as the cause of suffering is absurd. The pastimes of the Supreme lord are transcendental to sufferings of human being.
Misuse of One’s free will or minute independence is the actual reason of suffering of oneself. Monists may well sidestep the question in the name of ‘Leela’ but the miseries are the result of one’s own wrong doing, inflicted by durga on the conditioned soul.
The scriptures reveal that all living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. And the material nature is subordinate to the Supreme lord. Hence, Supreme Lord is never subjected to his own inferior energy. The living entities can never be equal to the supreme lord and they can be a part of the transcendental Leela only in their liberated state of life. Bound by karma all of them are suffering the reactions of their own acts. The impersonalists based on the false premise that God and living entity are equal declare the threefold misery suffered by us as ‘Leela’. Actually the living entity can never by equal to lord in liberated or conditioned state. If he was quantitavely equal he would not be subjected to laws of material nature.
People of a nation are supposed to serve the national interest of that particular country. If they misappropriate their relative freedom then they are subjected to laws of prison. The life of a citizen in an independent state and under police force is different. Ignorant people lacking proper knowledge consider both as equal. It is a sign of absurdity.
Though the prison house is erected by the command of the regime, it is not the purpose of the government to have its citizens restrained. Jail is only a facility to reform disobedient citizens. Thus it would ideally wish if there are no such defiant souls. Similarly the Supreme lord wants to see that all deviant souls of this material world are homecoming. The Supreme Lord wants us to be free from despair and engaged in proper function of service to the supreme personality of Godhead.
The monist’s destination is void and they lack knowledge about the real life of independence in service of the Supreme Lord. The normal life out of prison is full of activity. The impersonalists because of their ignorance never understand that there is activity in spiritual world and equate this life of miseries to Leela of the supreme lord.
Actions and reactions of an individual soul are never created by the Supreme Lord. In the Bhagavad gita clearly describes the matter as follows. Bg. 5.14-16
na kartrtvam na karmani lokasya srjati prabhuh
na karma-phala-samyogam svabhavas tu pravartate
nadatte kasyacit papam na caiva sukrtam vibhuh
ajnanenavrtam jnanam tena muhyanti jantavah
jnanena tu tad ajnanam yesam nasitam atmanah
tesam aditya-vaj jnanam prakasayati tat param
“No ordinary living being is acting under the direction or under any plan of the supreme lord and Supreme lord is not creating the habits of an individual. It is brought by one’s own actions.
Act of vice and virtue are not directed by Supreme Lord. The ignorant living entities with poor fund of knowledge are enamored by illusion and hence driven to such action.
Knowledge of supreme is revealed only to those whose illusion is dispelled and whose spiritual consciousness is awakened.”
It is evident from the above discussion that the Lord is not involved in any of the action and reactions of a Living being and Man himself is the engineer of the resultant suffering. The Lord’s only intention is to see all living entities go back home, back to godhead and enjoy eternally. Only ignorant monists and impersonalists bring down lord’s pastimes to the territory of action and reactions of this mortal world.
Unless and until a living entity is awakened to his original consciousness as the eternal servitor enjoyer of the lord by the means of Para Bhakti as described in the Bhagavad gita, one will be certainly baffled. Knowledge of the Supreme Lord is the derivative of one’s engagement in ‘Para-Bhakti’ – devotional service of the Lord. ’Therefore one has to absorb himself in devotional service of the supreme lord undeviatingly and permanently mitigate the sufferings of humanity.