16.16 – Why life seems so complex…

by November 28, 2012

Suppose each time we want to type an email the computer asks us to choose the font, the font size, the alignment, the indentation, the line spacing and other such parameters. We would lose so much of our precious time before we could get down to the real work of typing the email. That’s why to save our time, the computer usually offers default settings for such parameters, settings that are designed by experts to serve the functional needs of most users.

Similarly, if we have to go through a wide variety of choices before we can do even the simple things of life, then we lose so much precious time. Isn’t this what happens in our culture when it bombards us with a plethora of choices, say, fifty varieties of jeans, seventy-five types of tooth pastes, hundred kinds of cellphone handsets?

The net result of this multiplicity of alternatives is that we stay perpetually distracted. Such distraction, the Bhagavad-gita (16.16: aneka chitta vibhranta) indicates, characterizes ungodly materialists who are captivated by worldly illusions. These distractions make our life unnecessarily complex and emotionally demanding.

Gita wisdom offers us a way out: re-educate oneself to understand what is central in life. When we understand that we are eternal souls who have an everlasting life of love with Krishna awaiting us, then we realize which choices matter and which don’t. The choices that take us closer to Krishna become critical, whereas choices about most worldly things become inconsequential. Taking guidance from the time-honored devotional culture and using our own functional needs, we derive default settings for such things. Thereby, we find ourselves having so much more mental energy to choose Krishna wholeheartedly and get on with things that will bring lasting happiness.


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