Cause of misery and 8 ways to overcome.

Posted by Venu Payyanur     Category: Pearls of Wisdom from Mahabharata

The gods first deprive that man of his reason on whom he sends defeat and disgrace. It is for this that such a person sees things in a strange light. When destruction is at hand, evil appears as good and the understanding is polluted by sin, and the man adheres to it firmly. That which is improper appears as proper, and that which is proper appears as improper unto the man about to be overwhelmed by destruction, and evil and impropriety are what he likes.

Causes of misery and eight ways to overcome it

a. Disease, contact with painful things, toil and want of objects desired – these are the four causes that induce bodily suffering.

b. Diseases may be cured by the application of medicine, while mental ailments are cured by seeking to forget them through yoga and meditation. For this reason, sensible physicians first seek to allay the mental sufferings of their patients by pleasant conversation and the offer of desirable objects.

c. And as a hot iron bar thrust into a jar makes the water therein hot, even so does mental grief bring on bodily agony. And as water quenches fire, so does true knowledge allay mental disquietude. And the mind attaining ease, the body finds ease also.

d. Clearly affection is the root of all misery and fear. The man who is influenced by affection is tortured by desire; and from the desire springs his thirst for worldly possessions. To many the wealth they own is their bane, and he that beholding happiness in wealth becomes wedded to it, and does not understand what true happiness is.

e. Wealth alone is the root of miserliness and boastfulness, pride and fear and anxiety! These are the miseries of men that the wise see in riches! Men undergo infinite miseries in the acquisition and retention of wealth. The thirst of wealth can never be assuaged.

Contentment is the highest happiness and the eight attributes which is capable of providing contentment against all evils are  renouncing of Abhimana (pride, ego), performance of sacrifices, study (of the Vedas and scriptures), gifts, penance, truth (in both speech and act), forgiveness, subduing the senses, and renunciation of desire. These have been declared to be the eight cardinal duties constituting the true path as per Vedas.

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