Don’t treat a game like life or life like a game

Many people treat games as if they are as important as life itself. Human culture has always featured sports as a form of recreation, but today’s culture has whipped up for spectator sports a mass mania. And this mania is not harmless – it often leads to corruption and destruction, as when people are swindled through match-fixing or when frustrated fans destroy their TV sets or tragically even commit suicide. Such suicides manifest the worst equation of a game to life – when a game is lost, life no longer seems worth living.

The suicides of sports fans manifest the worst equation of a game to life – when a game is lost, life no longer seems worth living

Conversely, many people treat life like a game. No doubt, game metaphors can illumine some aspects of life. But games have an undercurrent of frivolity that undermines the gravity of life. Essentially, life centers on attaining the fulfillment of love – we all want to love and be loved. When people reduce love (actually lust masked as love) to a game, they find pleasure only in the chase and the conquest, not in the commitment that makes relationships lasting.

The widespread equation of a game to life and life to a game represents the general distortion of perspective in today’s world. The Bhagavad-gita (18.32) states that such a topsy-turvy perspective typifies intelligence in the mode of ignorance.

Gita wisdom shows the way out of such ignorance. It informs us that by directing our love towards the all-attractive Supreme Person, Krishna, we as eternal souls can find everlasting fulfillment. Intriguingly, life in Krishna’s abode is an endless lila or love-play, wherein participants relish purely the excitement, exhilaration and enjoyment that attracts us to games.

So, if we regulate our attraction for games in this temporary world and focus on cultivating devotion in our life, we will gradually find the perfect fulfillment for our attraction to games.

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