Determination is the fruit of purification – and its root too
The Bhagavad-gita (07.28) indicates that we will become determined in our devotional practices when we live purely and stop impure actions. This begs the question: How can we come to that level of pure living without first having determination?
To understand, consider bodybuilding. A well-muscled body results from a diligent regimen of exercise. It’s unrealistic to expect strong muscles in the early days of our workouts at a gym. And yet we do have some muscles initially that we use to start exercising. When we exercise regularly and fully whatever muscles we have, we develop stronger muscles.
Similarly, it’s unrealistic to expect unbreakable determination in devotion right from the early days of our spiritual life. Still, we need to use whatever determination we presently have to choose Krishna instead of worldly temptations. By thus choosing the pure instead of the impure, we gradually cultivate a habit of purity.
Further, our willingness to sacrifice worldly pleasures for Krishna’s service pleases him and attracts his mercy. That mercy manifests as an increased taste for the pure – ultimately the supremely pure object, Krishna. Thanks to such a taste, choosing him becomes easier and sweeter, thereby strengthening our determination to choose him. Thus, determination is the fruit of purification. And this fruit manifests from the root of the determination we presently have.
So, meditating on the Gita statement that determination is the fruit of purification can protect us from fretting futilely about our weak determination. We can instead just focus on using our present determination to make the pure choices within our capacity. Our consistently making small but significant pure choices is like our exercising diligently according to our present muscle capacity. By thus choosing Krishna, our determination to choose him – our inner muscles – will strengthen, thus making our devotional practices steadier and sweeter.
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