The Mother Divine
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The Hindu scriptures usually call sorrow in this world ‘tāpatraya,’ (‘the three miseries.’) and categorize them into ādhyātmika, ādhidaivika and adhibhautika.

Adhibhautika tapa literally means sorrow that comes due to the bhuta or living beings.

Adhidaivika tapa literally means sorrow that comes due to the daiva or fate, unseen forces and gods.

Ādhyātmika tapa literally means sorrow that comes due to the ātma or the body (and the mind).

While it is true that all the three types of sorrows plague the human being at all times, historically there seems to have been a shift, if not of the sorrows but at least the concern that is given to the type of sorrows.

Humanity's journey through sorrow has progressed in three distinct stages, each marking a shift in the nature of our adversities.
Our troubles seem to have marched from outside to inside.
From the society to the individual.
From the world to home.
From the body to the mind.

Initially, we grappled with adhidaivik grief. The word daiva includes the power of time, nature and the unseen hand or fate.

Adhidaivik sufferings include diseases from changing seasons, misery from floods and fires, suffering from black magic or displeased gods, and natural tribulations like hunger, thirst, and old age.

Humanity has strengthened itself against disasters and fate with early warnings and better infrastructure. Technology helps us respond to disasters. Emergency systems, community strength, and global cooperation prepare us better. Climate action lessens disasters. Social support now helps communities recover faster.

These efforts have indeed reduced adhidavik sufferings, showcasing mankind's resilience and adaptability but as we gained mastery over these calamities, a different type of grief increased: adhibhautik—the sorrow inflicted by bhutas or living beings: creatures, organisms, wild animals, snakes, or enemies.

Diseases, borne by viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms, became our new adversaries. From smallpox to plague to Ebola, these illnesses ravaged our bodies, posing a significant threat to our existence.

With the advancement of medical science and the advent of tools like the microscope, we fought back. Vaccines, hygiene protocols, and preventive measures emerged as our arsenal against these unseen foes.

Yet, even as we triumphed over external threats, a more insidious grief emerged: adhyatmik—the sorrow from within, the bodily suffering and mental anguish. This includes hereditary diseases like leprosy, disabilities like blindness or lameness and diseases caused by the violation of the rules of health and sanitation.

Psychological anguish, stemming from stress, anxiety, addiction, penduluming between attachment and aversion, and mental disorders, began to plague humanity. Unlike external adversaries, these inner demons held us captive within the confines of our own minds.

In the modern world, adhyatmic suffering, or spiritual suffering, manifests in various ways amidst advancements and complexities. Rapid urbanization, technological immersion, and materialism often lead to a disconnect from spiritual values, leaving individuals feeling empty or unfulfilled despite material success. Existential crises arise as people grapple with the meaning and purpose of their lives in a fast-paced, consumer-driven society.

Moreover, social media and digital connectivity, while offering unprecedented connectivity, can exacerbate feelings of isolation, comparison, and inadequacy, contributing to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The relentless pursuit of success, fueled by societal expectations and peer pressure, can lead to burnout and a loss of inner peace.

Furthermore, environmental degradation and the erosion of traditional values contribute to a sense of disconnection from nature and spirituality, leading to feelings of alienation and despair. Economic inequality, political unrest, and global crises add additional layers of existential angst and uncertainty.

In response to the adhyatmic suffering, many seek solace in mindfulness practices, meditation, and holistic wellness approaches to address the spiritual void. Others turn to religion or philosophical teachings in search of meaning and inner peace. Addressing adhyatmic suffering in the modern world requires a holistic approach that acknowledges the interconnectedness of individual well-being, societal values, and environmental sustainability.

In contemporary times, spirituality has transformed into an essential need, serving as a potent form of therapy, a stabilizing force within society, and a comforting refuge for countless souls adrift in the modern world.

We have strayed far away from the soul, from our own selves, in pursuit of the world, fighting adhidavik and adhibhautik suffering, only to arrive at a more pernicious one viz the adhyatmic suffering.

Earlier the loss of external possessions, made us return to the soul, but now we are infected right within and all medicines have failed to offer solace; we now have no other go than spirituality.

~ Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)
Editor, The Mother