Today’s medals will be tomorrow’s baubles
One of our innermost drives is the drive to show the world that we are someone significant. This drive impels us to win medals, which we hope will serve as visible evidences of our glory. Medals are most popular in sports. But they also have their avatars in other fields as trophies, certificates, awards, badges, dress-stripes. Such medals often generate intense emotions, which are self-evident in sporting arenas as laughs and cries, roars and grunts, cheers and jeers.
Far less evident than the intensity of these emotions is their ephemerality. The emotional value of a medal peaks if and when we finally attain it – and people appreciate us. But soon after that peak, the medal-value starts slipping down a steady southbound curve as the world moves on, and our life returns to its dreary and draining routine. No doubt, there are occasional spikes when others see the medal and praise us, or when we see it and relive sweet memories. Nonetheless, these spikes can’t arrest the overall pattern of irreversible devaluation.
The inexorable passage of time causes our cherished medals to fall from grace, being reduced to mere baubles. And to the extent we have wedded our self-worth to the medals, to that extent our heart sinks with them into the ignominy of oblivion.
Gita wisdom urges us to wed our self-worth to something much more enduring: our relationship with Krishna. The Bhagavad-gita (02.40) indicates that our spiritual advancement – our attraction to Krishna – is never destroyed, not even devalued. The world may or may not recognize its value, but Krishna consciousness provides an inner enrichment that frees us from dependence on the world’s evaluation.
Getting that enrichment is life’s ultimate medal, indeed, existence’s ultimate trophy.