09.14: A Prize Beyond the Palliative of Peace
A Prize Beyond the Palliative of Peace
Bhakti may sometimes contradict our preconceptions about spirituality as a state of peaceful withdrawl into oneself while seated in a good-looking yogic posture. This stereotype of spirituality fails to address our innermost need, which is not peace, but love. We act and interact in the world because we hope to express and experience love. However, when the world, due to its temporal and unpredictable nature, disappoints and devastates our hopes, then we seek peace as a balm for our hurt heart.
Thus love is the heart’s cherished prize; when this prize seems out of reach, we try to settle for the consolation prize of peace.
Gita wisdom reassures us that the cherished prize of love is not beyond us. It begins by confirming our realization that the quest for love in the world is destined for frustration sooner or later. But it prompts us to expand this realization by pointing out that:
1. There is an object of love beyond the world that will fully and eternally satisfy our heart: Krishna.
2. We can awaken our love for Krishna not by rejecting the world, but by engaging the world in Krishna’s service. Worldly events are not irritating distractions, but adventurous opportunities, to express our love for Krishna dynamically.
To offer us models for this dynamic spirituality, the Bhagavad-gita (9.14) describes the most evolved spiritualists in not peaceful but forceful terms: they constantly glorify Krishna, they strive and struggle to serve Krishna, and they take rigid vows to ensure that their service-offerings to Krishna are tangible and substantial.
When we infuse our spirituality with such devotional dynamism, then we will find ourselves enriched with a love that far exceeds the palliative of peace.