“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.14)
मात्रा-स्पर्शास् तु कौन्तेय
तांस् तितिक्षस्व भारत
mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata
1. Pressing a button
“It is the way to get things done. It is the way to signal to the appliances a change of state. The end-user is essentially making a request. I want the dishwasher to start. I want the drying machine to begin spinning the clothes and applying heat.
“It is even in the new model of automobiles. This is one feature I don’t particularly like. If the battery in your key fob dies, then you have difficulty turning on the car. The push-button start won’t function, though there are some workarounds.”
2. Making a phone call
“The microwave in the kitchen stopped working. There was no response. No light indicator. No clock display. The issue turned out to be the circuit breaker. I guess we had too many appliances running simultaneously, so something had to give.
“The solution was to head downstairs, into the basement, and move one of the circuit switches back to the other side. In other cases, you actually have to make a phone call. Contact the power company and let them know what is going on. They oversee the entire process. They are quick to the scene after storms with heavy-winds, fixing power lines and such.”
3. Checking on a scheduled configuration
“People in the company are not happy. Suddenly, so many branch managers received email notifications this morning. They already received them at the regularly scheduled time, but this second batch was obviously an error.
“They noticed because they looked up the corresponding accounts and there was nothing wrong. The emails are alerts, essentially notifying a manager to check on something that might be out of acceptable range.
“Well, the emails sent in error was entirely my fault. I changed the configuration last night, to meet new company requirements, and I forgot to disable the old schedule. This meant that both schedules ran, and thus a host of emails went out. I am quite embarrassed.”
4. Running QA testing
“It is a nice process we have at our company. Any software changes have to go through a full life cycle. There is the initial request from the business people. Then the developer codes the changes. After that, it goes into a testing phase.
“While this may seem annoying for something like a basic change, it is helpful. The testers do a kind of before-and-after comparison. They not only make sure that the requested change works as it should, but they also check that nothing associated gets negatively affected.”
5. Informing the population
“The power company sent us a letter that they will be changing the meters in our home. I don’t know why it is needed, but they have this whole sales pitch about the advantages of the new meters. They are considered ‘smart’ for some reason.
“Anyway, they are not allowed to do anything without consent. They can’t just pull the rug from under us. That’s the way it works with complex systems. If you bring your car in for repair and they need to make a major structural change, they have to tell you about it first.”
When comparing with the changing of seasons, we see that such intervention is absent. The seasons are essentially self-managed. There are no buttons to press and no departments to notify. Winter might arrive a little later this year, but it will be here all the same. The falling leaves give the first indication, which has the accompanying drop in temperature.
In Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna compares happiness and distress to the changing seasons. This is important to understand since the struggle of a material existence typically focuses on configuration changes to increase happiness and alleviate distress.
Everything we do, from morning until night, from childhood until old age, has these two objectives. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is explaining to Arjuna that there is no need for intense oversight. Happiness will arrive on its own, as will distress.
The wise person should stay above dualities. Pay attention to duty. Follow dharma. Work for a particular objective, but remain detached from the result. There is only so much a person can do to influence outcomes; nature must first comply.
गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः
कर्ताहम् इति मन्यते
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.27)
Higher up along the chain is the grand coordinator Himself. Krishna is the ultimate sanctioning authority, and for those devoted to Him there is assurance to succeed in the devotional path. Those who follow true dharma come closer to Krishna, bringing a level of happiness that surpasses the constant ups and downs of a life devoid of the Divine consciousness.
Today putting sweater on,
But tomorrow the cold is gone.
Done without button pressing,
Or blindly at future guessing.
For happiness and sadness the same,
Changes part of lifetime’s game.
Better with Krishna’s protection set,
Shelter like under Govardhana get.
Categories: the five