William Shakespeare seemed to echo the central theme of the Bhagavad Gita when he said in As You Like It —‘All the world’s a stage, And all men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances...’. The Bhagavad Gita speaks of Sakshi Bhava or ‘witness-like attitude’ as a measure of spiritual growth. Objectivity is the key to material success, happiness as well as growth to one’s potential. It lends joy and happiness in life. You enjoy life only to the extent you are objective.
Lack of this vital quality is the cause of all suffering. Krishna’s life was ridden with challenges, sorrow and grief. Yet never was he downcast, despondent or depressed. He was full of cheer, laughter and mischief, and he spread this happiness to everyone.
Maintain the attitude of an observer, never get entangled. Be impartial in all circumstances, not partisan. Unbiased, unprejudiced. Like a spectator in a boxing ring. If you jump into the ring you get beaten up by both parties! Remain an observer of this magnificent universe.
You are an actor in the drama of life. You have a role to play. Play your role to the best of your ability—wholeheartedly, enthusiastically, perfectly, yet dispassionately. And exit gracefully when the time comes. But you go on stage and want to assert your will. You try and change the script, alter your role and mess up the performance. In the end you have to be escorted off stage as you have become of nuisance value. You have got totally knotted up in a make-believe world.
Atman, the Spirit, is 100 percent objective. It enables all activities of all beings but has nothing to do with their functioning. Just as fuel propels all cars to move but does not determine their performance. Electricity is the same in all gadgets but is not responsible for the manifestations.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna is overwhelmed by emotion. He is grief-stricken and refuses to perform his bounden duty. He asks Krishna, his dear friend and mentor, for help. Krishna’s opening remarks are: “The wise do not grieve either for the living or the dead. All grief is because of wrong identification and attachment”. People believe that the cause of their misery is out there in the world. You blame the spouse, the kids, the government and even the weather for your misery. As long as you believe the world is causing you sorrow you will never find a solution.
The responsibility for your sorrow lies squarely on your shoulders! Go through life tongue-in-cheek. Look at the present trauma as one experience of your life. A year from now you may not even remember it. How do you view the grief you felt when a teenage crush did not work out? You laugh it off now. If only you had the present vision at that time you would not have suffered. Consider the problems that other people face, compared to which your issues pale into insignificance. When you rise to a higher level the difficulties of the lower no longer affect you. Reach out to others, stretch to accommodate their interests. Feel for people beyond your immediate circle of family, embrace them with love. Conceive of the transcendental, the realm beyond the universe. As your mind expands you become more mature and happy, unaffected by the ups and downs of life.
As long as you identify with the body, mind and intellect you will be unhappy. Body, mind, intellect are matter. The world is also matter. Matter affects matter. Just as a magnet attracts iron. You are not body, mind or intellect. You are Spirit. The world does not have the power to affect the Spirit. You appear to be affected because of your attachment and bondage with the body, mind and intellect. All you have to do is remember you are Atman and interact with the body, mind and intellect. You will remain a sakshi, witness, of everything but never get involved.
You go through three states of consciousness—waking, dream and deep sleep. These are mere projections of your own mind. The real You is Atman, the fourth state. Live life as if you are re-entering a dream, knowing its illusory nature. Tongue-in-cheek, objectively, joyfully. Just do what you have to do. Without involvement, entanglement or heartburn.
Objectivity is the secret of enjoyment. You are able to enjoy a tragic movie because you know you are apart from it. Had you been even remotely connected with the happenings in the movie you would suffer. Practice objectivity by observing the world around you. Observe external objects, people around you, their appearance, emotions, thoughts. Then shift your attention to your own body, your mind and intellect. You will be in an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the midst of turbulence around.
Your inner personality consists of the mind and intellect. The mind is the realm of emotions and feelings. The intellect is the domain of reason, discrimination and judgement. The mind is involved, attached and partisan. It is the intellect that is capable of remaining objective, unbiased and unprejudiced. Use your intellect, strengthen it. Then you will be objective in all situations. You will view everything from an impersonal viewpoint and find constant entertainment in life.
Bhagavad Gita webinars by Jaya Row every Saturday from 6.30 to 7.30 pm on Zoom. Followed by a Q&A session. Register for free at www.vedantavision.org/gita or WhatsApp 9820138429.