Don’t blame ignorantly – blame ignorance
Suppose a person suddenly falls sick and starts looking to assign blame – blaming others for transmitting that infection, blaming the doctor for not prescribing a protective medical regimen, or blaming oneself for neglecting health. While seeking the disease’s origin can help, much more important is taking the treatment. Patients who get so obsessed with blaming an uncertain cause as to neglect a reliable treatment sabotage themselves.
A similar self-sabotaging obsession can afflict our response to sudden tribulations. We may blame others, God or ourselves. All such blaming mentalities reflect ignorance. Others are ultimately instruments of our own karma. And God is like a judge who adjudicates based on our deeds.
Blaming ourselves for our past misdeeds can be psychologically damaging if the blaming triggers unhealthy guilt, depression, self-flagellation and similar thought-patterns. We damage ourselves thus when we agonize over karma while remaining ignorant of our essential spiritual identity. We are souls, eternal parts of the all-pure supreme. So, whatever our misdeeds, we are essentially pure. Our purity is covered at present by ignorance, which makes us act imprudently. Ignorance misdirects not just our actions, but also our reactions – it makes us react to problems by agonizing over causes instead of seeking relief in spiritual wisdom. The Gita (05.15) stresses that ignorance is what deludes the living being. Blaming ignorance doesn’t mean washing off responsibility for our misdeeds; it means distancing ourselves intellectually and emotionally from the alien contamination that makes us violate our natural spiritual purity and integrity.
Bhakti-yoga counters ignorance most efficaciously by invoking within the presence of the all-pure, all-enlightened supreme. His presence comprises a protective shield against ignorance and kindles our latent inner awareness. The more we act in spiritual light, in a mood of service to Krishna, the more we become free from ignorance and its pernicious effects – illusion and tribulation.
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