Imagine a millionaire’s son traveling in a car on a hill.
Suddenly his car skids and falls hundreds of feet down. Somehow he jumps out of the car before it explodes. Fortunately he falls on a sand dune in the valley. He survives but gets amnesia due to a blow on the head.
The tribal’ s residing in the valley rescue him and give him a name and a role in their community. Though a prince he now slaves as a woodcutter.
His millionaire father comes searching for him, but he fails to even identify his own father, what to speak of returning back. His father has to employ a doctor who gives shock treatment to him. Though initially upset by the shocking, he eventually recovers from the amnesia. And then he returns back with his father to live happily ever after.
In the same way we are all the beloved children of God, who is the king of all kings, the supremely wealthy person. Unfortunately we have fallen from our original home, the spiritual world, down to this material world and are afflicted by spiritual amnesia.
From our birth, society gives us an identity and a function – you are so-and-so and your goal is to become a so-and-so professional. And so we operate like programmed robots, struggling for paltry sensual pleasures, breaking the trees of exams and projects and carrying the logs of anxieties and obligations.
Krishna comes to this world or sends His sons, prophets or devotees to invite us back to our eternal joyful life with Him. But we fail to even recognise our own eternal father, let alone consider returning back to Him.
Krishna being our unconditionally benevolent father loves us too much to take offense at our neglecting or rejecting Him. However, our non-cooperation compels Him to employ material nature to give us shock treatment.
The shocks comprise of the threefold material miseries – adhyatmika klesha (mental stress, bodily disorders etc), adhidaivika klesha (natural disasters, climatic inconveniences etc) and adhibhautika klesha (quarrels, divorces etc) and the fourfold material problems – old age, disease, death and rebirth.
Krishna doesn’t want us to suffer, but if suffering is what is necessary to cure us, like any responsible father, He allows temporary material suffering for our eternal spiritual redemption.
Srila Prabhupada, my spiritual teacher said, "The miseries of material existence indirectly serve to remind us of our incompatibility with matter in this world."
How? These miseries, though disturbing, impel intelligent people to go to the representatives of God – the sacred scriptures like the Bhagavad-gita and saintly teachers.
The enlightenment they offer commences the cure for our spiritual amnesia and paves the way for our ultimate spiritual reinstatement as divine princes.