10.34: Is the immediate encroaching on the ultimate?
Many of us often get so caught in the exigencies and emergencies that keep coming up in our lives that, despite knowing the importance of developing our relationship with Krishna, we are just not able to allocate any time for it. When this unfortunate pattern starts repeating itself, then that is a sure sign that the immediate is becoming the enemy of the ultimate, that is, the urgent this-worldly to-dos are encroaching on the time meant for the important other-worldly must-dos.
No doubt, there are emergency situations when our worldly obligations cannot and should not be avoided or postponed. But if emergency situations are cropping up daily, then it is we who need the emergency treatment more than the situations. It is our unbalanced priorities that are breeding emergencies.
Giving ourselves an emergency treatment begins with giving our priorities an unsentimental reality check. Even if our mind tells us that we are giving priority only to things that are unavoidable, we need to remind the mind that there is nothing more unavoidable than death, as the Bhagavad-gita (10.34) states. And at that grim moment, our immediate will no longer count, because the ultimate will have become the immediate – but by then it will be too late to do much about the ultimate.
So it’s best that we voluntarily and regularly make the ultimate the immediate by allocating adequate time slots in our schedule for developing our Krishna consciousness. This will ensure that we don’t leave the ultimate at the mercy of the immediate and will protect us from the innocuous-but-dangerous mindset, “I will surely do my devotional activities whenever I get time.”
Because whenever usually turns out to be never.