Be not just discerning and determined – be devoted
When we decide to do something right or give up something wrong, we need discernment. Why? Because the forces of illusion distort our perception.
Illusion makes the right thing seem unpalatable, even unbearable, and the wrong thing seem pleasurable, even irresistible. Our vision gets distorted especially when we perceive sensual pleasures. The Bhagavad-gita (18.38) cautions that, though sensual pleasures taste like nectar initially, they turn out to be like poison eventually. To avoid this inversion of vision, we need discernment. We can increase our discernment by studying scripture regularly.
Though discernment is necessary, it’s not sufficient; we need determination too. Frequently, even when we understand why we should be doing something, we still don’t feel like doing it. Determination enables us to persevere in the right action even in the presence of the wrong emotion. We can increase our determination by associating with determined spiritualists.
Soberingly however, even discernment and determination aren’t enough. The Gita (02.60) cautions that even if we discerningly recognize the need for sense control and determinedly endeavor for it, still the senses are so wild that they drag us down. To transcend the sense of deprivation induced by sense control, we need to access some higher source of pleasure.
Gita wisdom explains that the highest source of pleasure is Krishna, the all-attractive Supreme. He is the whole, and we as souls are his eternal parts. When we control our senses as much as possible and focus our consciousness on him, we gradually conquer our senses (02.61).
Focusing the consciousness on Krishna is an essential characteristic of devotion. When we direct our discernment and determination with devotion, our purpose shifts from avoiding the sensual to savoring the highest spiritual reality: Krishna. That positive focus gives us higher taste, thus enabling us to renounce the lower taste with far greater efficacy.
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