03.39: Oblivious – LI = Obvious

by May 3, 2012

Nothing is as amazing as our obliviousness to the reality whose obviousness is evident all around us: death. This was the insightful observation of the virtuous monarch Yudhishthira in a famous Mahabharata passage; he uses the word “amazing” as a euphemism for “amazingly dumb.”

The Bhagavad-gita (3.39) throws light on the cause of our obliviousness amidst obviousness: the illusion spread by lust. Lust infatuates us with the illusory conviction that we can and will enjoy life through our senses. And it protects this conviction by blinding us to all the facts that play spoilsport. Lust blinds us most fancifully to the fact that acts as the greatest spoilsport: the fact of death.

Let’s see how this fanciful blinding plays out in our times. Death is obvious in the daily news headlines as well as in popular entertainment movies. Yet, most of us stay oblivious to death, for we have reduced it to an information item and an entertainment commodity. In a typical action movie, the bullets whiz all around the hero, but somehow never kill him. Likewise, we subconsciously believe that, though the bullets of death whiz all around us, they will somehow never down us. This belief survives, even flourishes, despite having no supporting evidence and having pervasive opposing evidence. What can better testify to the power of the illusion induced by lust?

Gita wisdom informs us that the more we free ourselves from this lust-induced illusion, the more we realize as obvious the reality to which we were earlier oblivious. This reality includes the fact of death, but also extends beyond it to the fact of our eternal love-life with Krishna that lies beyond the arena of death.

Put as an equation, our journey from “oblivious” to “obvious” reflects the difference between the spellings of these two words:

Oblivious – LI (Lust-induced Illusion) = Obvious



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