Don’t abandon the very differences that make you essential

Today’s society often glamorizes a particular definition of success. Thus, for example, students who take up particular careers such as engineering or medicine are considered successful. Because of such glamorization, most students start aspiring for those careers, even if their talents lie elsewhere. This makes them miserable because they are stuck doing things that they are not good at and deprived of doing things that they are good at.

Such unnecessary imitation can happen across various forms of national division too, wherein people of one country try to become like people of some other country because they hope to get more influence in the prevailing geopolitical order.

We are all different – while this might be a cliché, that doesn’t make it untrue. And such irreducible differences that we all have make us capable of contributing in our own distinctive ways – ways which are essential for the balanced functioning and progress of society.

Unfortunately, when we try to become copycats of particular people who are deemed by society to be successful, then we end up losing, or worse still, abandoning the very distinctiveness that makes us essential.

The Bhagavad-gita (03.35) cautions against such imitation when it urges people to stick to social roles that harmonize with their nature. The traditional social order of varnashrama enabled people to be trained and engaged according to their natures. While that particular social order may or may not be replicable in today’s drastically altered socio-economic situation, the underlying principle is very much relevant and even essential in today’s world that often reduces people to inconsequential, interchangeable, insignificant factors in a giant commercial machinery. Rather than abandoning our sacred individuality – an individuality that stems from our spiritual nature as individual souls – we can by cultivating spiritual wisdom discover and develop that individuality, thereby maximizing both individual satisfaction and social contribution

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  1. Hare Krsna! Great article!

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