Five Ways I Forget An Important Obligation

[Shri Krishna]“There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.69)

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न च तस्मान्मनुष्येषु कश्चिन्मे प्रियकृत्तम: ।
भविता न च मे तस्मादन्य: प्रियतरो भुवि ॥

na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu
kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ
bhavitā na ca me tasmād
anyaḥ priya-taro bhuvi

1. Played video games for too long

“Oh my goodness, I completely lost track of time. I started playing that ice hockey video game last night. I decided to start a new season. I could not stop at a few games. I finished the entire season in one sitting. It was so much fun, except I forgot about that place I needed to be, at that specific time.”

2. Talked for too long on the phone

“Wow, where did the time go? We talked for hours and hours. Nothing of substance. Just reviewing the different news around the world and at home. It was a fun way to relax, but I ended up completely forgetting about that assignment for school. I am really in trouble now.”

3. Got lost in a book

[Ramacharitamanasa]“I turned the phone off. I wanted to be free of distractions. I opened that book and could not put it down. It was so much fun. I felt great being transported to a different time and place. My consciousness went elsewhere, to the point that I forgot to turn my phone back on. People were calling to remind me of something important, but they could not get in contact with me.”

4. Got diverted helping someone

“I was on the way to that big event. I was being recognized for service to the community, which spanned many years. It was a high honor to receive, so I was dressed for the occasion. The thing is I ended up helping a person stranded on the side of the road. I could not just pass by. I saw they were in trouble, and I had to do something. I ended up missing the function entirely.”

5. Overslept

“It was the day of the final. This exam basically determined my grade in the class. I overslept. Like a bad dream, but playing out in real life. Can you believe it? I had set the alarm and everything. I guess if you are really tired not even a loud sound can wake you up.”

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada views the courses offered in major universities around the world in a certain way. He applies a specific designation, which is not necessarily flattering.

There is certainly variety to the courses. A person can learn about history. They can study a certain time period in a specific region of the world. Learn about who was ruling the land, what happened to the rulers, who succeeded them, the predominant religion of the area, the language spoken, and so forth.

Another person can learn the ins and outs of the law. They hope to use that knowledge to help people within society. Who doesn’t need a lawyer at some point in their life? Who wouldn’t be helped by a doctor, especially at a time of failing health?

Prabhupada says that these different courses help the student find more ways to become entangled in the material world. It is a way to keep busy. It is to dig deeper into a hole. After a while, you need some extra effort to get out. It is not as simple as climbing out of the hole. You have to first complete what you are in the middle of. Finish what you started.

The different courses offer ways to get started moving in so many different directions. If we make a wrong turn on our journey towards a specific destination, the correction might not be as simple as turning around. We might have to travel a long distance before approaching an exit that allows for a turn in direction.

Getting entangled in the material world is one thing, but a person simultaneously forgets their real occupation. They have a chance at dharma starting at birth. Dharma is the true mission of the life experience. The human being has the best opportunity to fulfill this mission.

What are distractions going to do? How will they be helpful in the long run? They may offer assistance in passing the time. Perhaps there is a brief respite from the pressure of completing everything prior to the time of death. Maybe there is a recharging of the batteries, so to speak, to give energy for moving forward.

यं यं वापि स्मरन् भावं
त्यजत्य् अन्ते कलेवरम्
तं तम् एवैति कौन्तेय
सदा तद्-भाव-भावितः

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ

“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.6)

Whether we take a break for five minutes or five months, the obligation is still there. We have to eventually land the plane, so to speak. We cannot expect everything to happen automatically. It is for this reason that the education within the Vedic tradition is so valuable.

It helps a person release from the clutches of material life. It keeps the focus always on the real occupation of the living entity, which is dharma. That dharma is sanatana, which means it has no beginning and no end.

[Shri Krishna]Krishna consciousness is a way to remember Krishna, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is a way to remember the real occupation, to stay always in dharma, even amidst the many potential avenues for entanglement. To help others to become detangled is the greatest welfare work a person can offer, and that help can be found in the wonderful presentation that is Bhagavad-gita.

In Closing:

From Gita instruction clear,
That to Krishna dear.

The person science explaining,
For release from maya attaining.

Because otherwise departments many to count,
But knowledge only in time to mount.

To learn this or that in class.
In devotion better to pass.

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