Art of dealing with reality

The Pandavas are the best in everything – chivalrous, virtuous, sagacious and glamorous. They won the heart of all citizens through their nobility and charity. They are the royal princes and rightful heirs to the throne of Hastinapur, the capital of the world. They are in the center of the world. They have everything that we ever aspire for in our life. They are on a pleasure trip at a remote destination. One night everything is changed. They are in forest, roaming like nomads and struggling to find shelter and making their ends meet. Suddenly everything has changed – from riches to rags. Something similar must have happened to us or at least to our near and dear – suddenly things turn topsy-turvy. Let us why it happens and how to deal with it.

The reality that really matters

The reality often seems harsh. A rich man today can become a refugee tomorrow. It happened in the past, it is happening now and it seems to continue in the future. This happens to everyone in some way or other. It offers fear, frustration and fills us with pessimism. We often end up switching off this reality around us and switch on to another reality in form of television, internet and social media. Is this not better? These can serve as means of relief and rejuvenation in some way. They cannot replace the reality around us. They cannot offer us a wholesome experience. The things and people are illusory. We cannot derive real happiness (BG 18.39). The experience is not so much in our control or influence. The experience cannot really make us forget and forgo everything. We have a body that demands food and rest and that gets sick. We need to earn these means and provide for our body. The reality around us offers a whole some experience. Being in and dealing with this reality alone, we can maintain our body and further our existence. But why do we feel frustrated in the first place? The reality is not always sweet. At times, it becomes sour and sometimes with a surprise. We want everything sweet. Why does things become sour? Let us see why.

The way the reality works

The reality is not fully in our control (BG 3.27). Everyone around us is an individual. Our ability to control things is limited. We can sow seeds but cannot control rains. We can try to best of our abilities. The abilities of our competitors and the way they try is beyond our control. Therefore things turn sour, against our expectations. Our ability to know ourselves, others and things around us is also limited. We don’t know what is happening within our body. We don’t know what is going on in other’s minds. Therefore, we can expect surprises. Calamities and uncertainties are the facts of reality. Then how can we become happy being in this reality? We cannot escape it or evade it.

The way to deal with reality

In order to be happy, we need to accept the true nature of reality. We need to remind ourselves and be aware of this truth always. We need to safeguard ourselves from distractions that take us away from this truth and paint an illusory picture that you can be completely happy in the reality (BG 2.42-43). Cultivating this awareness helps us to remain composed and not get bewildered by troubles and tribulations. Pandavas are aware of this truth. So they faced the reality without getting agitated. The happiness the reality can offer us is limited. It is like the light of a bulb. The bulb can light only a limited area with a limited intensity. It is dependent on the power supply and is prone to malfunction. The happiness is fluctuating. We need to look for happiness that is beyond and unaffected by the reality around us i.e. happiness at a spiritual platform. This happiness is constant and inexhaustible (BG 5.21). It is like the light of the sun – inexhaustible and invincible. It is accessible for everyone at all times and in all circumstances. This can be accessed by practicing spirituality through performing divine worship, meditation and cultivating wisdom through study and association. Pandavas are well-versed with spiritual wisdom and performed spiritual activities regularly. This helped them to remain content in all situations.