Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: Celebrity.
Verse 2.34: People will always speak of your infamy, and for a respectable person, dishonor is worse than death.
“Dishonor is worse than death.” Powerful words.
Those who choose to live by these words realize that their good names mean everything. And it’s kind of funny (sad) how topsy-turvy everything is nowadays when the majority of our “celebrities” have a made a name for themselves by acting completely contrary to this idea.
In fact, it doesn’t seem to matter whether one is famous or infamous anymore, just so long as they are known.
The Bhagavad-Gita, and the bhakti texts in general, speak of how name, fame, adoration, prestige and wealth can blind one to what is really important—our relationship with the Supreme. All of these attributes may appear to satisfy the mind, but do they really satisfy the heart?
Although we hear time and again that they don’t, why are so many people out there willing to sacrifice everything, even their good name, for a few fleeting moments of fame?
In this verse, Krishna is explaining to Arjuna what true honor is all about and as it turns out it’s about fulfilling one’s duty.
It’s important to note here that Krishna is speaking in stages in trying to convince Arjuna to do the right thing. First he spoke on the highest level—you are the soul and you need not lament for the material body. Then, Krishna speaks from the perspective of the body. “Ok Arjuna, if you can’t act on the level of the soul, then realize that along with this body comes a specific nature. Work in line with that nature.” Now Krishna is speaking to Arjuna on the emotional level to convince him to do the right thing.
Just see the different perspectives that Krishna offers.
Although in the end, the eternal bhakti perspective will be the most important, Krishna does not discount other perspectives. This is the beauty of bhakti. There’s something for everyone on all levels.
So whether you are just curious about the bhakti path, or are trying to make it the center of your life, you’ll always walk away with something invaluable.
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Editor: Thaddeus Haas