A moment of indulgence can cause a lifetime of repentance – beware

The news periodically features stories of talented individuals who ruin their promising prospects by succumbing to immorality and greed. For the sake of quick gains, they throw away their integrity and end up disgraced. A moment of indulgence leads them to a lifetime of repentance.

What impels them to such tragic short-sightedness?

The Bhagavad-gita (18.25) describes that short-sighted action unmindful of the consequences is typical of the mode of ignorance, which is the subtle force of nature that impels our mind toward self-destruction.

This destructive psychological force is strengthened and facilitated by our culture with its glamorization of live-for-the-moment lifestyle. Due to this prevailing culture, even people who are not normally immersed in the mode of ignorance get carried away by spells of short-sighted impulsiveness. That’s how intelligent people act unintelligently.

Understanding the cultural setting that breeds self-defeating behavior can be sobering and empowering. It can be sobering if it makes us aware that we ourselves are vulnerable to such behavior. It can be empowering if it stimulates us to search for ways to protect ourselves from the culture’s influences. If we are fortunate, this search brings us to Gita wisdom. The Gita’s recommendations to assimilate spiritual wisdom and adopt temperate habits help us plug in to the mode of goodness. This mode expands our inner vision and thereby enables us to make prudent, far-sighted choices.

In addition to cultivating the mode of goodness, Gita wisdom emphatically urges us to practice devotional service and go beyond the modes to transcendence. By connecting us with Krishna who is the supremely stable shelter existing beyond the three modes, devotional service empowers us to quickly counter the destabilizing influences of the modes, gradually attain self-mastery and finally regain our lost love for Krishna.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18 Text 25

“That action performed in illusion, in disregard of scriptural injunctions, and without concern for future bondage or for violence or distress caused to others is said to be in the mode of ignorance.”

Tolerance is the stopper between temptation and transgression
Bhakti integrates our emotional and rational faculties

Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

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