The art of facing life’s dualities


By Radhanath Swami

Happiness and distress, honour and dishonour, pleasure and pain, victory and defeat, success and failure, health and disease – all these occur temporarily in our lives and we must learn to face them without being disturbed. We are living in a world of dualities, there is no escape. Just like a coin has two sides, heads and tails, and if you want one side you must automatically accept the other, as they are inseparable, so are dualities. We need to learn to adjust our consciousness and maintain integrity despite dualities.

These dualities may befall upon anyone and anytime. We all have to live by the law of karma and have no control over what is coming to us. The Bhagwad Gita tells us that these dualities occur like summer and winter seasons and we must learn to face them with forbearance.

The ocean has depth and hence it is not disturbed by weather changes, be it heavy rains or scorching summer heat, or biting winter cold waves. The water remains still because it has depth. Rivers may swell and overflow into the ocean or they may go dry and trickle into the ocean, but this does not affect it because it has depth. Similarly, a person’s consciousness is within him, that is, in the depth of the person himself. One has to search within to develop consciousness. This is what Bhagwad Gita teaches us. In the Gita, Krishna explains that a happy person is one who is illuminated within. One who rejoices within and one who finds spiritual satisfaction within.

A person who is happy within is satisfied spiritually and finds peace within and is able to withstand the dualities of material existence.

There are six enemies that exist within our own hearts and they are provoked by both circumstances within and without. They are lust, envy, pride, anger, greed and illusion. A great personality is one who is able to tolerate these urges. Lust, today, is actually quite fashionable, popular and it is considered even heroic to succumb to lust. This is what most of the movies are showing. In television too, the great heroes are people who give in to their passions, perform tremendous heroic activities to fulfil their passionate desires. This is the sign of a degraded civilisation. We see throughout history that people in powerful positions are degraded by the provocation of lust. They are not able to endure their circumstances.

Anger is one of the most difficult of all provoking situations to control. We have to learn to control anger and one who can do so is a successful person.

Always be humble like a blade of grass and show forbearance and patience like a tree. A tree will stand in the scorching sun to give shade to you and me. A tree will bear the freezing cold of the winter and give wood for you and me. A tree will even give up its life silently to give its body to build a house for you and me. That is forbearance and we need to cultivate it within us.

The writer is a spiritual guru of ISKCON

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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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