Canto 4: Creation of the Fourth OrderChapter 29: Talks Between Nārada and King Prācīnabarhi

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.29.32

duḥkheṣv ekatareṇāpi


jīvasya na vyavacchedaḥ

syāc cet tat-tat-pratikriyā


duḥkheṣuin the matter of distresses; ekatareṇa — from one kind; api — even; daiva — providence; bhūta — other living entities; ātma — the body and mind; hetuṣu — on account of; jīvasya — of the living entity; na — never; vyavacchedaḥ — stopping; syāt — is possible; cet — although; tat-tat — of those miseries; pratikriyā — counteraction.


The living entities are trying to counteract different miserable conditions pertaining to providence, other living entities or the body and mind. Still, they must remain conditioned by the laws of nature, despite all attempts to counter these laws.


Just as a dog wanders here and there for a piece of bread or punishment, the living entity perpetually wanders about trying to be happy and planning in so many ways to counteract material misery. This is called the struggle for existence. We can actually see in our daily lives how we are forced to make plans to drive away miserable conditions. To get rid of one miserable condition, we have to put ourselves in another kind of miserable condition. A poor man suffers for want of money, but if he wants to become rich, he has to struggle in so many ways. Actually that is not a valid counteracting process but a snare of the illusory energy. If one does not endeavor to counteract his situation but is satisfied with his position, knowing that he has obtained his position through past activities, he can instead engage his energy to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is recommended in all Vedic literature.

tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido

na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ

tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukhaḿ

kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raḿhasā

"Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet [Brahmaloka] down to the lowest planet [Pātāla]. As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them." (Bhāg. 1.5.18) One should simply try to develop his Kṛṣṇa consciousness and not waste his time trying to improve his material condition. Actually the material condition cannot be improved. The process of improvement means accepting another miserable condition. However, if we endeavor to improve our Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the distresses of material life will disappear without extraneous endeavor. Kṛṣṇa therefore promises, kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: "O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes." (Bg. 9.31) One who takes to the path of devotional service will never be vanquished, despite all miseries of the body and mind and despite all misery brought about by other living entities and providence, miseries which are beyond our control.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness