02.40: Today’s medals will be tomorrow’s baubles.
One of our innermost drives is the drive to show the world that we are someone significant. This drive impels us to win medals, which we hope will serve as visible evidences of our glory. Though medals have the most currency in sports, they also have their avataras in other fields as trophies, certificates, awards, badges, dress-stripes. These medals often generate intense emotions, as is self-evident in sporting arenas as laughs and cries, roars and grunts, cheers and jeers.
Far less evident than the intensity of these emotions is their mortality. The emotional value of medals peaks if and when we finally attain them, and people actually pause to admire and appreciate us. But soon after that peak the medal-value starts slipping down a steady south-bound curve as the world moves on, and our life returns to its draining and dreary routine. No doubt, there are occasional spikes when others see the medal and praise us, or we see it and relive sweet memories. Nonetheless, these spikes can’t arrest the overall pattern of irreversible devaluation.
The inexorable passage of time causes our cherished medals to fall from grace, reduced to mere baubles. And to the extent we have wedded our self-worth to the medals, to that extent our heart sinks with them into the ignominy of oblivion.
Gita wisdom urges us to wed our self-worth to something much more enduring: our relationship with Krishna. The Bhagavad-gita (2.40) indicates that our spiritual advancement – our attraction to Krishna – is never destroyed, nor even devalued. The world may or may not recognize its value, but Krishna consciousness provides an inner enrichment that frees us from dependence on the world’s evaluation.
Getting that enrichment is life’s ultimate medal, indeed, existence’s ultimate trophy.