Sadness and Material Attachment

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Question: I have been struggling for some time now with having a purpose. I am still not sure whether I believe in God because I don’t feel like it helps even if God exists. The world is filled with so much horror and suffering. For a billion years animals have been tearing each other to pieces for no reason other than to reproduce more of the same. While I feel bad about this, it isn’t a solution for me to get some liberation for myself as many of the religions recommend. I don’t feel sad because of my situation (which is also bad) but because of the whole thing. 

You mentioned in an article that, ”According to Bhagavad Gītā, the cure for the debilitating plague of dejection, which is a mental affliction, lies in the ability to free oneself from material attachments by adopting the spiritual path.” How can this be the cure if the source of the dejection isn’t material attachment (I have very little) but attachment to what all beings are feeling?

Answer: You, my dear friend, are full of attachment. But, unfortunately, you are ignorant of it and more unfortunately, you have the contrary belief, that you have very little of it. Why do you feel sad? A person who is not attached does not feel sad. He may feel compassionate but not sad. Sadness comes only from attachment. To me, it appears that you have not thought very deeply about the emotions which manifest in the mind.

You are not sure of your belief. Similarly, you are also not sure about the cause of your sadness, although you do not realize it. You say, I don’t feel sad because of my situation (which is also bad) but because of the whole thing.Are you not part of the whole thing? Because you are a part, you have attachment to the whole, and due to that, you feel sad.

Question: Even suicide is not an option because the suffering will just continue on the planet and some other people will be born into the same mess as me. I don’t know what to do. Most of the world seems interested in very trivial things. I have very little desire for worldly things. I hope you can give me some advice.

Answer: Yes, I can give advice if you are willing to take it, but I am not convinced that you will take my advice. The reason for this is that you already seem to be set in your ideas and concepts which may not be right and which are not even helping you to be peaceful in your own mind. You want to bring peace into the world, but how can you do that if you yourself are not peaceful? It is like a hungry person who has no food but is worried about the starvation of others. To solve the worlds problem, we need to first know the cause of the problem. How can you solve the problem when you dont know its cause? How can you cure a disease if you dont know what is causing it? You are not even sure whether you believe in God or not. If you are not sure of your own convictions, what help can you give to others? Therefore, my first advice to you, which you will probably not take, is to stop worrying about the world and worry about yourself. First, learn about your own mind and self. Then from the knowledge, find out how you can be peaceful. If you are willing to take this advice, then we can talk further. I have no interest in proving to you whether God exists or not.

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  • Satyanarayana Dasa

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    External situations cannot force you to give up Bhakti. External situations can force you to give up specific actions of Bhakti. But the essence of Bhakti is fixity of mind on Krishna. Only an offense can trigger you to give up Bhakti. But then you will come back to Bhakti anyway once the offense has given its result.

    — Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa
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