Whose words we hear matters, but whose words we hold dear matters even more
Suppose we are lost while driving and ask for directions. If some people give us right directions and some, wrong, our destination will be determined by whose words we value.
During our life-journey, we sometimes feel lost, not knowing what life is ultimately meant for. If we don’t feel lost, that’s because we have uncritically accepted the prevailing materialistic worldview, although materialism reduces our life to a doomed journey to the graveyard.
The Bhagavad-gita is a time-honored guidebook for living. If we get to hear its words, we are fortunate. But we can’t tap that fortune if we don’t value its message, if we instead value materialistic ideas and goals.
More important than hearing the Gita is valuing the Gita. This principle is illustrated through two individuals who were blessed to hear the Gita: Sanjaya and Dhritarashtra. They valued its message differently and courted drastically different fates.
On hearing the Gita, Sanjaya became astonished and thrilled (18.74). And he applied the Gita by becoming joyfully absorbed in divine remembrance (18.76-77).
Dhritarashtra too heard the Gita, but experienced no spiritual elevation. Why? Because he didn’t value its message. He was attached to his son and to the Kuru kingdom. As the Gita threatened to expose the folly of his attachment, he neglected its words. Instead, he held dear those words that rationalized his attachments – words of diabolical advisers such as Kanaka, Shakuni’s brahmin friend. Kanaka’s pseudo-ethics (Kanaka-niti) held that one’s own gain is considered the supreme end and all means are acceptable for achieving that end. By letting such words mold his decisions, Dhritarashtra became complicit in the destruction of his entire dynasty.
If we hear the Gita regularly and treasure its message as our foremost guiding principle, it will make our life spiritually meaningful, fruitful and joyful.
Think it over:
- How are we lost in our life, even if we don’t feel lost?
- Why did Dhritarashtra not value the Gita?
- What does valuing the Gita mean? How does valuing the Gita benefit us?
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