Battles are often lost or won outside the battlefield, inside the mind

The Bhagavad-gita’s dramatic battlefield setting demonstrates the power of the mind. Arjuna, the foremost archer of his times, is about to fight the greatest war of his life. At that high-stakes moment, his mind overwhelms him, stealing his will to fight and making him put aside his bow (01.46).

In today’s cultural imagination, war imagery is frequently invoked in sports, which are sometimes called battles without bullets. In sports, the confrontations often begin even before the match begins – players use mind games to intimidate and demoralize their opponents. Apart from such intentional manipulation, the mind is vulnerable to circumstantial pressure. During a match’s tense moments, if players let the pressure get to them, they may choke mentally and fail practically.

When we face challenges, our mind can break us even before life’s blows hit us. To protect ourselves, we need to raise our consciousness above the mind, to the spiritual level. There, we can experience the security of our eternal identity and our connection with the supreme whole, Krishna.

Gita wisdom equips us for such consciousness elevation. It explains that Krishna is our eternal well-wisher and is eagerly waiting to help us. To turn our consciousness towards him, we need to practice bhakti-yoga. By the resulting inner connection, we stream in to higher insight, peace and joy – all of which help us ward off the mind’s delusions.

If we wish to live productively, we need to soberly reflect that our destiny is often shaped by our mind, through its emotions and attitudes amidst life’s ups and downs. By contemplating the consequentiality of our mental life, we can summon the conviction to practice bhakti-yoga diligently. Being thus equipped with our Krishna-connection, we can fight and win our inner battles, thereby paving the way to win our outer battles too.

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