“A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires—that enter like rivers into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still—can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.70)
समुद्रम् आपः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत्
तद्वत् कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे
स शान्तिम् आप्नोति न काम-कामी
samudram āpaḥ praviśanti yadvat
tadvat kāmā yaṁ praviśanti sarve
sa śāntim āpnoti na kāma-kāmī
Everything could be going great. No problems. No issues. Everything resolved. The small world around you seemingly under control. But then things change. It is like you never had any control to begin with. You tried your best, but no luck with peace.
1. Baby screaming in the background
“I just need five more minutes. I would have received confirmation that the thing I worked on for the past two weeks was finally fixed. Some intense concentration necessary; no doubt about it. I require momentum, as well. Imagine trying to read a lengthy book by going two pages at a time, with five minute breaks in between. That would be a nightmarish experience.
“That is somewhat analogous to my situation. The baby screaming in the background. For no good reason, it seems. It is not like they suddenly awoke from an afternoon nap. I realize this is the reality of parenthood, but sometimes the interruptions get to me.”
2. Spouse complaining about the brand of juice I picked up from the supermarket
“I’m trying to do everything. Manage a job. Maintain the home. Keep everyone happy. Sometimes it is not so easy. I apparently picked up the wrong brand of juice from the store. The spouse decided to complain about it just now. To me it’s not that big of a deal. I don’t drink that particular type of juice, so that is why I did not pay much attention. I have no problem going back and picking up the right one. It’s just I don’t want to hear about my mistakes right now. Not after the day I had.”
3. Boss upset that I am behind in that project at work
“I have fun at my job. I found a position that perfectly matches my skills. I enjoy the difficulties and the challenges. Undoubtedly, I have more responsibilities than my colleagues at a similar level, but I generally do not mind. Someone has to tackle the pressing issues. If the company does well, then I am happy.
“But recently the boss is on my case about a big project. Says that I need to give it added priority. This is making me fume inside, because I handle every project with the same attention and care. How in the world does he have the nerve to criticize me about anything, when everyone else is just sitting on their hands?”
Shri Krishna provides some hints in the Bhagavad-gita on how to find peace. One approach is to take the negative and eliminate it. A common tactic is to satisfy every desire that rushes in. A desire can be something as basic as vacuuming the living room floor or something as complex as finding the right home to live in.
The allure, the illusion, if you will, is that satisfying each desire will bring peace. Just one more thing, as the famous television detective used to say. Krishna reveals the truth that just the opposite is true. Not that the desires or responsibilities should be ignored, but a person should not be disturbed by them.
This only makes sense. Utilizing some intelligence, I discern the pattern to the events. The desires actually never cease. They are like tributaries constantly rushing into a river. Better to remain level-headed.
That is easier said than done, but what Krishna does not directly mention is that He is the source of peace and calm to the devotees. Simply remember His lotus feet, His irradiant smile, and His all-attractive pastimes, and a person can find their way out of the pressures of daily life.
Finally my way out finding,
Where from picture features reminding.
How all-compassionate is He,
And my true welfare to see.
Where these desires even when met,
Never satisfaction to get.
Better on the devotional path standing,
And control over happiness commanding.
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