15.05: Tried, tired – and retired
All of us want to do something new. And our craving for newness seems ready to be fulfilled by all the new gadgets, new dresses and other new things glamorized in the culture and the media.
Actually, however, the glamor of new things hyper-activates our imagination and paralyzes our intelligence. As our fantasies carry us of our feet, we rarely ask the critical question: can these new-seeming things offer us something really new?
Ultimately, all pleasures that the newest-looking material objects can provide boil down to the same old things: the pleasures of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Thus, these pleasures offer nothing essentially new. That’s why, though we may be initially excited by the external hype and the internal imagination, we end eventually disappointed. Repeatedly. Inevitably.
However, this disappointment doesn’t make us tired of the tried because the lure of the new keeps goading our imagination.
Gita wisdom opens for us a doorway out of this perpetual re-enactment of the tried and the tired. Firstly, it gives us the philosophical vision to see the oldness, the sameness, the emptiness of all material pleasures. Secondly, and more importantly, it gives us the devotional process to experience a truly new happiness: the happiness of love, love for Krishna. Because Krishna is a reservoir of unlimited, unending happiness, every devotional contact with him bathes us in a new outflowing gush from that reservoir of happiness.
This double empowerment – philosophical grasp of the staleness of material pleasures and devotional experience of the freshness of remembrance of Krishna – gives us the courage to retire from the tiresome chase after the tried and tired. The Bhagavad-gita (15.5) assures us that this state of realized retirement (vinivritta-kamah) is the takeoff point for launching into the ultimate happiness of endless love.