After we win the battle, our real battle begins
Life regularly forces us to fight battles – battles to thrive and even battles to survive.
When we start practicing spiritual life, we want to do justice to our god-given talents and use them in the service of Krishna and for the good of others. For that we have to confront numerous hostile forces that keep everyone trapped in materialism, forgetful of Krishna.
The Bhagavad-gita (11.33) urges Arjuna and, through him, all of us to fight to restore dharma, the spiritual and moral order that helps everyone return to Krishna. Unlike Arjuna’s literal battles, our battles are usually metaphorical. Nonetheless, even if our battles are weaponless, we have to combat inimical forces for doing anything spiritually worthwhile.
When we fight and finally win these battles, we naturally feel elated. However it is from the moment of victory that our real battle begins – the inner tug-of-war between our selfish ego and our devotional heart. Will we take credit for the success? Or will we offer credit to where it belongs – at Krishna’s lotus feet? After all, without his mercy, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything. The same Gita verse (11.33) reminds us that we are nothing but instruments in Krishna’s hands.
This battle between the ego and the heart, between self-glorification and Krishna-glorification, is the real battle that underlies, even defines, material existence. No doubt, our external battles are real in the sense that we really have to fight opposition in real life while serving Krishna. But the essence of loving Krishna is not just doing external activities in his service, but in making him the Lord of our inner world.
That’s why when we win a battle by attaining an external success, our real battle of choosing between our ego and Krishna begins.
“Therefore get up. Prepare to fight and win glory. Conquer your enemies and enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasaci, can be but an instrument in the fight.”