Ignorance of reality may be excusable, ignoring reality isn’t

If we are pulled over for speeding, we may be excused if we didn’t know the speed limit and the road had no speed limit signs. If, however, the road had many speed-limit signs, we wouldn’t be excused. We couldn’t claim ignorance of reality – we would be guilty of ignoring reality.

Similarly, during our life-journey, if we were raised in a culture where life’s ultimate meaning and purpose was never discussed, our spiritual ignorance would be understandable. After all, our upbringing didn’t provide us any signs to slow our racehorse-paced lifestyle and ponder deeper truths. Still, life itself provides us the prominent road sign of death, which highlights the fragility and the temporality of our existence. We see this sign from childhood onwards, when we start hearing of someone dying somewhere. Hardly any of us is like the Buddha who was till youth shielded from signs of mortality. Unfortunately, most of us prefer to ignore the reality of death.

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (13.09) recommends unflinching contemplation on the reality of death. By such contemplation, several vital questions arise within us. When death is a universal, undeniable fact of life, why do we recoil from it? Why do we long for immortality? Why do we feel strongly that immortality is our right? If we sincerely seek answers, we will be guided by higher arrangement to wisdom-texts such as the Bhagavad-gita, whereby we understand our spiritual identity and our immortal destiny. If, however, we ignore reminders of our mortality and pursue a life of sensuality, we wreck our spiritual prospects.

Thankfully, the door out of ignorance is accessible for all of us – we just need to open our eyes and minds, and observe the world around us. By contemplating our mortality and exploring the possibility of immortality, we all can realize our spirituality.


Think it over:

  1. In our racehorse-paced lifestyle, what signs prompt us to slow down?
  2. What wrecks our spiritual prospects?
  3. How does contemplating our mortality point us to our immortality?

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