02.27 – Watching TV while a cobra comes to bite?
Suppose a person watching TV sees a cobra slithering close to bite and still goes on watching TV. We would consider such behavior insane, won’t we?
Yet might we ourselves be doing something similar? The Bhagavad-gita (02.27) indicates that from the moment of birth, we set up our appointment with death. Gita wisdom often compares time to a deadly snake. We all notice time ticking by constantly, relentlessly. With each tick, the snake of time is coming closer to us, readying itself to deliver the fatal bite.
And what do we do about this impending disaster? Nothing.
We bury ourselves in frivolous activities like TV, spectator sports, novels, movies and video games. Even our more serious activities like earning a living and taking care of family keep us neglectful of the approaching doom.
What keeps us neglectful is that everyone else is similarly neglectful. But this collective oblivion is a treacherous comfort. When the snake of death bites us, we have to undergo the pain, the horror, the terror alone. Others will maybe turn from the TV to offer a few words of sympathy. And then they will return to TV watching as if nothing happened. Till the snake strikes them. At which time others will do the same to them.
And thus will continue the tradition of illusion.
Gita wisdom introduces us to an alternative tradition: the tradition of vigilant spiritualists who prepare lifelong to get away from the snake. Though our bodies have to fall to death, we as indestructible souls don’t have to suffer the agony. Provided, of course, we realize our spiritual nature by practicing diligent devotional service. When we become self-realized, the fatal snakebite will free us from our bodily shell, and we will return to Krishna for life eternal beyond the reach of death.