We don’t have to stay suspended between the unknowable and the unavoidable
As we rush about on our daily routines, we periodically check the clock to see if we are on time. Yet we rarely check where we are in time, where we are headed as time rushes us unerringly forward. If we checked, we would find ourselves suspended between two mighty destinies: the unknowable and the unavoidable.
- The unknowable: The future extends ahead of us, like an opaque looking glass, through which we can see very little. And whatever little we see can change by one rap on the glass, one upheaval in the tiny something that we call the present.
- The unavoidable: What doesn’t change within the looking glass is what we are least inclined to look at: the unavoidable miseries of old age, disease and death. These are the disagreeable invariables among the unknowable variables that otherwise comprise our future.
We try fervently to wish away this unavoidable while wishing even more fervently that the unknowable turns out to be palatable. Life renders both wishes futile. Yet, Gita wisdom assures us, life is not doomed to futility. The Bhagavad-gita (13.09) indicates that the miseries of old age, disease and death, when observed unblinkingly and unflinchingly, compel us to seek an alternative trajectory for our future. And an alternative does exist. Gita wisdom reminds us that we are indestructible souls, who can reclaim eternal life by redirecting our love towards Krishna. This redirection brings a reassuring, knowable fixture in the unknowable variables of life: Krishna’s omni-benevolence that orchestrates everything for our ultimate good. This redirection gradually makes the entire material level avoidable, transcended by absorption in immortal spiritual love. Realizing that we are not suspended in the uncertainty of uncaring chance, but are enveloped in the certainty of unfailing love is life’s greatest discovery.
“Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona ﬁde spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratiﬁcation; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth – all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.”