14.17: Beyond rapidity and vapidity to clarity and serenity

by March 18, 2012

Beyond rapidity and vapidity to clarity and serenity

Our current materialistic culture impels us to lead lives characterized by rapidity and vapidity:

  • Rapidity: In the rapid mode, we are in a tearing hurry to get things done, to somehow cope with the pressure of the many items that jump out at us from our to-do list.
  • Vapidity: In the vapid mode, we are in a passive frenzy to get things forgotten, to somehow get away from the tiresome pressure by burying ourselves in mindless entertainment.

These two modes correspond respectively to the Bhagavad-gita’s descriptions of the modes of passion and ignorance. Gita wisdom points out that our life will be more meaningful spiritually and more fruitful materially if we switch to functioning at the higher levels of goodness and transcendence.

  • Clarity: Functioning in goodness, the Gita(14.17) explains, brings clarity. This clarity enables us to practically implement the time-management tips recommended by many contemporary management teachers like classifying and prioritizing our work according to urgent and non-urgent, important and non-important etc. But more  significantly , this clarity empowers us to choose not just our actions, but also our desires; we recognize that many of the desires that the consumer culture seduces us with are irrelevant to us as spiritual beings. We recognize our core need for a loving relationship with the Supreme and reorganize our lives so as to satisfy that need while also taking care of our material requirements.
  • Serenity: This clear perspective of life and the resulting streamlining of our desires enable us to transcend the material, connect with the divine and thereby relish an unshakeable serenity. Strengthened by this serenity, we can use our talents and resources fully to contribute effectively as channels of divine change in the world.


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