12.07 – Are we holding on to a straw instead of a lifeline?
Our present material existence is like an ocean – an ocean of misery. Though we can struggle against the waves of life’s miseries for some time, the relentlessness of the waves eventually drains us.
We all need help.
Where we seek help is vital in determining our destiny. Some people seek it in the belief that they can make things better in the future by getting more money, greater power, better contacts. Such attempts to find solutions entirely at the material level are like the efforts of the drowning to hold on to straw. Why straw? Because everything material is temporary – even the material things that promise protection. Nothing material can offer lasting relief; expecting it to save us is like expecting straw to save the drowning.
What we need is not straw, but a lifeline. Gita wisdom offers us that lifeline: the process of devotional service. The Bhagavad-gita (12.07) indicates that through this process, we attract Krishna’s grace which delivers us from material existence. In an ultimate sense, this deliverance refers to our rescue from the ocean of material existence and our transfer to the shore of spiritual existence, Krishna’s eternal abode. In an immediate sense, this deliverance refers to our absorption in Krishna which elevates our consciousness from the material level to the spiritual level. By this elevation, we gain an inner solace and strength that enables us to see the problems for what they are: passing troubles, not overwhelming disasters. The resulting calmness and clarity helps us find intelligent and practical ways of dealing with the problems even at the material level.
That’s why when the waves of problems threaten us, we need to seek not the pseudo-security of the straws of material improvement but the real security of the lifeline of spiritual absorption.