Let dissatisfaction propel us vertically, not horizontally

If a person has fallen in an ocean and is floating in a stormy part, they may naturally get to a calmer part of the ocean. But a storm may break out there too. For lasting relief, they need to get out of the ocean.

A similar principle applies to our present existence. This material world is often called bhavasagar, the ocean of material existence. Herein, we are tossed by the waves of dualities such as heat-cold, pleasure-pain and honor-dishonor. Sometimes, when we are caught in a stormy situation at a particular place, we may decide to move to some other place, thinking that we can thus escape the storm. But, as the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side. Soon, we find that even the new situation also has its set of troubles.

If we wish to get relief from the miseries of material existence, we need to move ourselves, not so much horizontally as vertically. We need to raise our consciousness to the spiritual level by yoga practice, whereby we can realize our spiritual identity and relish our devotional destiny as eternal loving blissful parts of the all-attractive whole, Krishna.

The Bhagavad-gita (12.14) characterizes advanced devotees as satisfied and practicing yoga. This means that they keep themselves satisfied with whatever they get at the material level and focus on raising themselves vertically in their consciousness through yoga practice. Whatever dissatisfaction they feel with their present existence, they channel it vertically towards spiritual realization, not towards material acquisition.

Of course, some material circumstances may be too hostile for spiritual practice or even for basic material survival, and changing them can help. But we need to ensure that such change is a means, not an end – the end is learning to relish spiritual happiness in eternal love for Krishna.

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  1. Thank you for this timely reminder. I found it so much relevant to my situation. Your words are very enlightening and encouraging.

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  2. Dissatisfaction envelops us from all sides

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  3. “we need to move ourselves, not so much horizontally as vertically”. -So nicely explained , no words to express.

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