The vain live in vain
Those who live under the illusion that they don’t need God are from the spiritual perspective vain or arrogant. Actually, we all need God, at the very least in the form of life’s necessities that he provides through nature. Without air, water, heat, light and food, we can’t live. We may need to work to get these necessities, but our exertions alone don’t produce those things – those exertions are secondary, like the effort of birds in searching for grains. God’s provision of them through nature is primary.
God provides such necessities to all living beings, human and subhuman. Subhuman beings avail of these provisions, but they don’t have the intellectual capacity to enquire about the provider. We humans are privileged to have that capacity. By tapping that capacity and letting it be guided by Gita wisdom, we can learn that God, Krishna, is not just our ultimate provider but also our supreme object of love. By learning to love the eternal Lord, we attain his eternal abode, thereby transcending material existence characterized by distress and death. That eternal attainment is life’s supreme success.
But those who arrogantly neglect God cheat themselves of this success. Further, if they live unspiritually, as do the animals, then, no matter what they achieve materially, they lose it all at the time of death. They go to the next body with nothing except the karma they accumulated during their materialistic pursuits. Their life thus turns out to be a dismal failure – spiritually and materially. The Bhagavad-gita (03.16) underscores that such vanity ends in futility. That is, the vain live in vain.
Thankfully, we all can avoid this tragedy by giving up vanity. If we humbly acknowledge God’s gifts and express our gratitude by practicing bhakti-yoga, then we can gradually develop our love for him and ultimately attain life’s supreme success.
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