The world is a place for treatment, not enjoyment
Some people consider the Bhagavad-gita pessimistic because it deems this world a distressful place. However, the Gita is not pessimistic – it is materially realistic and spiritually optimistic.
We all wish to live forever and to love forever. But thwarting this longing is an unpalatable yet undeniable reality: everything material is temporary. The existential incompatibility between our aspiration for immortality and our situation in mortality symptomizes our core sickness.
We are like an athlete who loves to run but is so weak as to be immobilized and hospitalized. If they try to run in the hospital, they compound their sickness. Similar is our condition when we expect this world to be a place of enjoyment. If we expect that people will respect and love us, our job will be easy and enjoyable, the weather will be pleasant and stimulating, our body will stay attractive and fit, our mind will stay calm and clear – such unrealistic expectations set us up for frustration. When we seek more pleasure than is natural in this world, we get more trouble than is necessary.
Protecting us from such unnecessary misery, the Bhagavad-gita (08.15) urges us to devote ourselves to Krishna and go beyond this distressful world to his eternal ecstatic abode. Implying that this world is like a hospital, this attitude-revolutionizing verse readies us to stop expecting enjoyment and start focusing on treatment.
Our treatment is the process of bhakti-yoga which redirects our desires from temporary things to our eternal Lord. A devotional service attitude helps us harmonize our material abilities and resources with our spiritual recovery. Experiencing harmonious joys materially while being healed spiritually, we start realizing our nature as souls, as blissful parts of the blissful whole, Krishna.
Thus, far from being pessimistic, the Gita manifests an astute blend of material realism and spiritual optimism.
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