We may know people who are habitual faultfinders. No matter how well a thing is done, they harp on some wrong that is...
The Bhagavad-gita is encyclopedic – not in length, but in scope. It addresses a wide variety of subjects,...
Suppose we are in a disturbed frame of mind and are driving to a meeting. Our map tells us that we have reached our...
Suppose we have a problem in the software of our computer because of which we are getting a blurred or blank screen. If we purchase a new monitor, that won’t solve our problem. We need to tackle the software problem at the level of the software.
We live in a culture where the new is incessantly glamorized – new gadgets, new fashions, new data, new news. But we don’t always need new information – what we need is timely access to the known. If students have prepared for an exam, they don’t need any new information at the time of the exam – they just need to recollect what they already know.
The Bhagavad-gita uses two metaphors for illustrating the transformational potency of spiritual knowledge. Just as a sturdy boat helps us to cross over an ocean, the boat of spiritual knowledge helps us cross over the ocean of misery (04.36). And just as fire reduces the debris put in it to ashes, so does the fire of transcendental knowledge reduce the impurities within to ashes (04.37).
Sometimes, life seems to hand out one reversal after another and all that we are doing seems to be falling apart. We may feel that the universe is hostile; we may question the benevolence or even the existence of God. At such times, it’s important to note that life hasn’t always given us a raw deal – we have had things fall in place for us. Whenever we have achieved anything substantial,
Simple living is a virtue lauded by thinkers since time immemorial. This virtue was mocked as primitive with the spread of the modern culture of lifestyle products, wherein people equated possession of state-of-the-art luxuries with success. While wealth has always been flaunted as a marker of success, most modern luxuries were unprecedented in the ecological destruction that went into making them.
When a leech bites us, we may be panic-struck to sense its tentacles sucking our blood. If we impulsively try to pull it out, it may have such a strong grip that we will end up pulling out a sizeable part of our own skin. If, however, we just stay calm and let the leech do its work, its tubules are not infinite; it can’t suck all our blood. Once its tubule is filled, it will itself let go and we can flick it off.
The present is all that we have – and all that we will ever have. But our mind often distracts us towards the past and the future through fretfulness and fearfulness. Fretful: The mind misdirected towards the past makes us fretful. We agonize over the many things that have gone wrong in our life
On the spiritual path, an intellectual temptation is obsession with technicalities. For example, on learning that the material energy comprises eight elements – earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego (Bhagavad-gita 07.04) –we may ask, “Where exactly are mind, intelligence and ego located? How exactly are they differentiated?”
Suppose we are walking barefoot and the path turns thorny. If that is the only way to our destination, we will gird ourselves to endure the pain. But we won’t press our foot on the thorns – we will take it off as quickly as possible and pass through.
Some people fear, “If I become conscious of Krishna, as the Bhagavad-gita recommends, won’t I become passive, just longing for some otherworldly reality, doing nothing practical?” No, the Bhagavad-gita’s setting and substance both convey that spirituality fosters activity, not passivity.