Something for nothing?

There are no free lunches. So goes a common saying that expresses a reality stated cynically. Some of us may not want to impute selfish motivations to everyone who offers free help. Even if we grant that some lunches may be free, we would be naive to presume that every lunch touted as free is actually free. We would do well to check if it comes with any invisible strings attached. 

Such caution is especially applicable for entertainment that seems to be available freely nowadays on the Internet. Thinking that such entertainment is free, we may spend far more time than what we might otherwise spend on it. And what gets consumed is not just our time but also our thoughts and our emotions till we become unnecessarily entangled in things that are not important or even entertaining — we might just click on and on, mindlessly. 

The Bhagavad-gita (02.62) cautions that whatever our mind contemplates, toward that object, it gravitates. The gravitational pull of worldly attachments is present in all objects. And that pull increases as we dwell on particular objects and come closer to them in our consciousness. Eventually, that pull becomes so overwhelming that it steamrolls our intelligence and conscience, making us act self-defeatingly. 

The deviation from worthwhile actions may happen not just in terms of the things we do, but also the time we spent. As the time wastage accumulates, we spend hours, days, months and years in trivial things. Till we realize too late that the way we have wasted our life is terrible. In the hope of getting something for nothing, we end up getting nothing for something, for a lot of things that we have unwittingly wasted on those things. 

One-sentence summary:

When we are promised something for nothing, we may well end up getting nothing for something. 

Think it over: 

  • How might we get deviated from worthwhile actions?
  • How might we waste far more time than what we thought?
  • What’s wrong with the promise of getting something for nothing?


02.62: While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

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