03.16: Take exception to the hope for an exception
Our mind gets excited by any chance for material enjoyment. Although we have repeatedly experienced for ourselves that material enjoyment is at best an exasperating anti-climax, that it never lives up to the hype, that it is not worth getting excited about, still the mind never learns the lesson even after repeated experience. It may sometimes admit perfunctorily that our past attempts for enjoyment have failed, but it still believes that our future attempts will be successful. Thus, it claims that next time will be an exception to the general pattern of frustration.
In contrast with the mind’s unreasonable claims about an imminent exception, Gita wisdom is far more reasonable in echoing our hard-nosed, real-life experience of the emptiness of material enjoyment. The Bhagavad-gita (3.16) states that the attempts for material enjoyment simply waste our life (indriyaramo mogham partha sa jivati). This resonance of scriptural testimony with our personal experience holds immense potential for empowering our intelligence. Once we thus empower our intelligence, we will take exception to the mind’s hope for an exception. We can challenge the mind: “Why should I believe your claim that material enjoyment brings happiness when my life’s experiences have consistently and comprehensively disproved it?”
If we can summon the courage and conviction to take on the mind, the mind’s baseless claim will crumble under the pressure of sustained scrutiny. As the mind retreats, we will find the way clear for focusing undistractedly on cultivating remembrance of Krishna. The more we concentrate on tasting the beauty and the glory of Krishna, the more we will relish the ultimate inner fulfilment. Then we will have only one regret: why didn’t I take exception to the mind’s hope for an exception earlier?
Nonetheless, better late than never.