Bob Dylan’s Moment of Detachment

Published on Nov 18, 2016 by Radhanath Swami
Those pleasures springing from sensual contacts are indeed nothing but sources of misery; moreover, they have a beginning and an end; as such the enlightened do not rejoice in them. (Bhagavad Gita 5.22)

Bob Dylan’s famous song of the 1960’s “Like a Rolling stone” was rated as the top of “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” by the Rolling Stone magazine in 2010. Bob Dylan was interviewed on this momentous occasion, “How do you feel about it?” In response, he expressed a truth that concurs with the teachings of the Gita. (Watch the video for Dylan’s response)

Whatever experiences appear to be pleasurable in this world, pain is deeply seated at the core of those experiences. When we accomplish something great – a world record, an award or academic achievement – we may experience the pleasure of grabbing people’s attention and impressing their minds for the time being. But usually such people either just become envious of us or do not care anymore when we lose that status; and that envy, that neglect, is a source of pain.

Human intelligence is to look into the future to understand deeper and higher principles. It is not to just attain temporary accomplishments and derive pleasure from them. Great accomplishments, though maybe important for the welfare of the world, are not as satisfying as cultivating great virtues in our personal lives. People are addicted and passionate about acquiring more and more – money, prestige, and accomplishments. But what will help the world all the more is when people try to be selfless. If we are willing to be unselfish and live a life of character for the greater good of everyone, people honor us and love us from their hearts. Accomplishments are appreciable, but the quality of the consciousness in which we achieve them is utterly important. That’s what the world will remember and God will see. Ultimately, it is character that makes a person great, not his or her accomplishments.

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  • Sumit Sharma 4 years ago

    Amazing video by Radhanath Swami Maharaj on Bob Dylan. It was fascinating to hear his response when someone asked him “How do you feel getting the honor of one of your songs getting selected as the best in the whole century”. He was not very fascinated by this honor as he knew that this is not permanent and someone else would get this honor next year. This is in line with what our vedic scriptures say that nothing in this material world is permanent, rather this world itself is not permanent. In Bhagavad Gita verse-2.14 Lord Krishna says that just like winter and summer seasons come and go, happiness and distress also come and go in one’s life and he/she should just tolerate them.

    • Piyush Singh 4 years ago

      So well commented. Yes, it is the best option to try to practice to remain equipoise in all the situation sin the life.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni 4 years ago

    Very nice answer by Bob Dylan. Goes to show that all fame , name, achievements, honour, etc are all temporary and will never give us everlasting happiness because when all that ends, we face loneliness and misery. Moreover, the mood in which this success is achieved is important. if it is achieved with honour and integrity, it shows the character of the person which people will always remember. The mantra to be happy is not be attached to this recognition, power and position but take honour and dishonour in our stride without becoming too happy or too miserable.

  • Carl Farrel 4 years ago

    Bible says, ‘Seek and you shall find’ ” — following it up Radhanath Swami says: “As we approach God, God reciprocates accordingly. If we approach for divine eternal love, we get divine eternal love”. The yoga he practices, Bhakti yoga, is about awakening that divine, ecstatic love, expressed through devotional service.”


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