13.35 – What is the medium through which we experience the world?
In our culture, we primarily experience the world second-hand: not through the direct interaction of our senses with the world, but through our exposure to a selected picture of the world as offered by the media, especially television.
When television depicts the real world, as in the daily news, it depicts not transparently but selectively, focusing on those real life events that are entertaining. Even reports of tragic or terrible events like natural calamities or terrorist attacks are conveyed in an atmosphere that says: “don’t take this seriously.” This is evident in the concluding call of the daily news: “do join us tomorrow.” Why? After having heard enough news of death and deceit and destruction to get nightmares or sleepless nights for months, why join the next day? Because the unspoken message is, “None of this is to be taken seriously. It is meant to entertain. Join us tomorrow for another session of entertainment.”
Such a selective experience of the world is inevitably deceptive; it deprives us of the many rich lessons that experience of the world can teach.
If our experience of the world is to be illuminating instead of entertaining, then we need to make scriptural knowledge the medium for our experience. The Bhagavad-gita (13.35) recommends that we use jnana-chakshu (eyes of knowledge) to inform and evaluate our experience of the world. Such a vision will enable us to see philosophical truths demonstrated through worldly events. The more we see the Gita’s message vindicated in real life, the more we will feel inspired to apply it in our own lives. Then and then alone will our experience of the world become meaningful and fruitful, by preparing us to seek and savor eternal blissful life beyond this world of mortality and misery.