Pleasure and pain are both life’s ringtones – don’t keep hearing the tone, start picking up the phone

Suppose our phone rings. Some ringtones are soothing; some, jarring. However, how the ringtone sounds is not as important as what it indicates: that someone is calling us. If we get caught in the ringtone, delighting in its sweetness or ranting at its harshness, we miss the call. If someone were calling us to convey an important message, we would be big-time losers. 

We may incur a similar loss when life’s positive and negative experiences subject us respectively to elation and dejection. Being carried away by such situational emotions, we miss out on something bigger that life is teaching us, or more precisely, that our supreme teacher, Krishna, is teaching us through life. 

Gita wisdom explains that the universe is like a university. In this university, we all are souls on a multi-life educational course. The course is meant to help us realize Krishna’s centrality in our life: through all of life’s dualities, he remains the unchanging reality, beckoning us to connect more strongly with him. The more we become connected with him, the more we relish sublime spiritual joy. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (05.20) urges us to stay equipoised amidst dualities by becoming situated in spiritual knowledge and realization. Being thus situated, we see life’s pleasures as Krishna’s reminders of the pleasure that awaits us when our consciousness ascends to the spiritual level through increasing absorption in him. And we see life’s troubles as Krishna’s reminders of the far bigger troubles that will befall those who let their consciousness tarry at the material level in the vain hope of finding worldly pleasure. 

When we thus see life’s dualities as Krishna’s calls urging us to turn toward him, we pass through those dualities with lesser turbulence, progressing steadily toward the supreme transcendence. 


Think it over:

  • How are pleasures and pains like life’s ringtones?
  • What are life’s pleasures meant to remind us?
  • What are life’s troubles meant to remind us?



05.20 A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent, who is unbewildered, and who knows the science of God is already situated in transcendence.

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