Be a part; be not apart

Be a part; be not apart

Some people equate becoming spiritual with becoming unambitious. However, bhakti spirituality centers on ambitiousness, albeit of a kind different from the individualistic ambitiousness glamorized by our present culture.

Contemporary culture often defines success as an individual’s ability to carve an identity distinct from others, to stand apart from the rest of the world. Today, the major identity-defining question is: “How are you different from others?” Few things demonstrate this obsession with distinctiveness better than the patent absurdity of many of the Guinness Book Records. Records like a couple kissing for forty-six hours or a person having nails six feet long may be distinctive, but are they contributive to anything worthwhile?

Gita wisdom offersthe most contributive trajectory for our ambitiousness. The Bhagavad-gita states (15.07) that all of us are spiritual parts of the supreme whole, Krishna. Parts become largely useless when disconnected from the whole. Similarly, when we seek happiness separate from Krishna, we become frustrated. We come under the foolish fantasies and the draconian dictates of the mind and the senses – struggling to fulfill these is what we call ambitiousness. Such struggle apart from Krishna never satisfies us because everything material is temporary, whereas we long for lasting happiness.

We can choose an alternative, more productive form of ambitiousness: devotional ambitiousness. This essentially means striving to be a part of Krishna, to lovingly play our role in his benevolent plan.Just as parts gain value when connected with the whole, our individual human endeavors gain value when we connect them with Krishna through devotional service. By playing our part in his master plan for the holistic welfare of everyone, we tangibly and constructively contribute to the world. Moreover, because Krishna is eternal and all-attractive, loving him brings eternal fulfillment.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15 Text 07

“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”

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