Imagine being tucked up in a cosy bed on a cold winter morning. Your alarm goes off at 6.00am, and after repeated snoozing you eventually resign yourself to waking up. As you struggle out of bed, you head for the bathroom. Turning the shower knob to deep red you expect hot water, but the initial gush of freezing cold water gives you the shock of your life! Now you are well and truly awake. As the water continues flowing, it slowly becomes warmer and much more comfortable. Gradually your body feels cleansed and completely fresh. By now the experience has become so pleasurable, that you don’t want to leave the shower! Five minutes easily turns into fifteen. You could stay there all day!
We don’t think twice about taking our daily bath. It’s just something you do. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t really feel ready to face the day ahead. Great sages explain that just as we bathe in water everyday to cleanse the body, we should similarly bathe in the words of the wisdom literatures on a daily basis to cleanse our consciousness. That philosophical bath wakes you up to reality, cleans out the negativity and unhealthy qualities, and ultimately becomes a relishable and enlivening activity. It’s absolutely essential for our spiritual health.
We can all make excuses to avoid books like the Bhagavad-gita. It’s not a question of time constraint, rather a question of priority. It’s not a question of intelligence to grasp the knowledge, but simply a question of having the desire. The deep insights help to burst the bubble of mundane existence and give us an eternal perspective. It reminds us not to take the illusion too seriously. As Mahatma Gandhi once said “When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad-gita and find a verse to comfort me: and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it everyday.” The scriptures are not a spare wheel that we utilise in an emergency, but are actually meant to be the steering wheel of our life.