What is the meaning of material world
“Material World” is a terminology, which refer to the place where we are present now and to all the cosmic surroundings. People says that it is a place to enjoy. The scientist says that the world is just random combination of atoms. While Mayavadi says ‘Brahm satyam jagat mithya’, which means this material world is false and everything is unreal here just like a dream, only Brahman effulgence is reality.
The word ‘material’ comes from the word ‘matter’ which have five gross components of Air, Water , Earth, Fire and Ether and three subtle elements Mind, Intelligence and False ego. This material world is not false because the Lord creates it. It is a temporary place. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu strongly condemn this mayavadi philosophy.
World of distress and miseries
This place is full of distresses and miseries of all varieties. Along with the permanent problems of birth, old age, disease and death, there are also constant influence of threefold miseries Adhibautik, adhidaivik and adhyatmik kalesh.
Adhibautik kalesh are due to other jivas like mosquitos, our family members, terrorist attack etc. Adhidaivik kalesh are due to natural calamities like storms, earthquakes, floods etc. Adhyatmik kalesh arises out of one’s mind. Even if one have all opulence, still they are in miseries and depression, which arise out of their turbulent mind. A Jiva suffers here in all the forms and by all methods. He is forced to accept 84,00,000 types of bodies according to the development of his subtle body. Subtle body takes the Jiva to the next body and make him behave accordingly. For example, a living entity enjoy eating stool in a hog’s body and he cannot understand his true nature. He gets all pains and pleasures according to the type of body acquired.
So Lord himself declares in Bhagwat Gita 8.15 and certifies this material word to be full of problems.
Mam upetya punar janma dukhalayam asasvatam
This world is ‘Dukhalya’, which means that this world is full of agony and pain. So how can one get happiness in a place of distress. That is impossible.
World of illusion
Srimad Bhagwatam says in 1.1.1, ‘yatra tri-sargo mrsa’. This material world is illusory. Although the illusioned living being is in search of happiness in this material world but it is not only full of miseries but is also transient and flickering. The ambition of finding happiness is an inbuilt feature of soul but the attempt to derive happiness from the inert matter is futile. This is like extracting juice from a bamboo stick in the illusion of sugarcane stick. They think that the solution to their problems could be found by intoxication or by earning lots of money. They have absolutely no understanding as to how to achieve real happiness.
World of lust
As soon as the Jiva enters this material nature, his loving propensity get transformed into lust which binds him as given in Bhagwat Gita 3.38
Dhumenavriyate vahnir yathodarso malena ca
Yatholbenavrto garbhas tatha tenedam avrtam
As the fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust and the embryo is covered by womb, similarly the living entity is covered by different degrees of lust. And this lust become the chain in this prison of material nature due to which the living entity does not escape out. He starts relishing the taste of dead elements (Jada Ananda) and forgets the real happiness (Param Ananda). He keep on suffering in the hope of happiness, which comes just a cool breeze and goes away. He continue his suffocating life in the forest fire, in the hope of enjoying senses without the knowledge of Absolute truth. He does not understand that he will suffer in the recurring forest fire of material world.
World of conditioned life
He gets entangled in three modes of material nature who make him dance like puppet. He reacts and acts in these modes and their various combinations. The external potency of Lord takes the control of living entity. As Lord Krishna says in BG 7.14
“Daivi hy esa gunamayi Mama maya duratyaya” .
Lord potency, Maya is very difficult to handle. Maya covers their intelligence and gives sufferings one after another. The avarnatmika potency of Maya covers the intelligence and the praksepatmika potency punish the living entity but still he waits for the enjoyment. Without the illusion of maya, a jiva can never feel enjoyment in this painful world.
World of danger and fear
A Jiva behaves like a man who is surrounded by death coming from different directions but still he waits for the drop of honey that might come from the honeycomb of the bees. Similarly, a man is suffering and is surrounded by all types of risks and vulnerability of deaths, but still he is wasting time in search of sense gratification. The advent of new weapons, new viruses and so called scientific advancements have made the life all the more vulnerable. It is so amazing that the man see everybody dying around still he wants to enjoy the taste of Murthal paranthas and travelled hundreds of kilometres for it.
This material world is full of danger. ‘Padam padam yad vipadam’. There are risks and dangers at every step of life. No matter a person has accumulated ample of wealth by hard efforts, it will be lost in a second and finally at the time of death. Here, everything is asasvatam, that means everything is temporary. More and more they want to control nature, more and more they become dependent on it. Man may accumulate wealth for next seven generations, they may become useless in a second. Srila Prabhupad states in his lecture in Hamburg on 8 september 1969 “There is a song, Bengali song. A poet writes, sukhera lagiya ei ghara bandhila anale puriya gela…. I constructed my home to live very peacefully and comfortably. All of a sudden, there was det fire and everything vanquished”. Within a second, everything may finish. They are trying to solve these problems in different ways but they donot understand the actual method.
World is a dark blind well
Prahlad Maharaj compares the material home like a dark blind well (andha kupa), from which it is very difficult to get out. Once somebody falls down, he will not be able to come out. So he recommend that one should leave homely affairs as soon as possible and engage himself in self realisation process.
How to get out of this ghastly world
Srila Rupa goswami says that a Vaisnava accepts this material world according to the regulative principles of vedic injunctions and therefore remains free from any bondage. They take the pains and pangs of this material world to be warnings to him to search for the Absolute truth, understand and follow it. So he purifies his existence by chanting
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
He accepts a bonafide Spiritual master and serve him by following his instructions. In this way, he gets rid of this fearful material world and go back to Godhead to serve Krsna with love eternally. That Goloka Dham is the world where there is eternal happiness and bliss.