How to plan in a mood of devotion?
When we make plans and they don’t work, it’s easy to get frustrated. We may think that perhaps the best way to avoid such frustrations is to not make any plans at all. And if we are devotionally oriented, we may justify our plan-lessness by quoting stuff like, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
While that quote, which incidentally comes from a comedian, not any sacred or scriptural source, has its utility, that is primarily in the context of not becoming over-attached to our plans and not believing that we alone can make things happen as per our plan; we need divine sanction ultimately for anything to happen, even the smallest of things. The Bhagavad-gita (18.14) points to the various factors that contribute to the translation of action into a purposeful result.
When things go wrong, we can have faith that God has a bigger and better plan for us. In fact, our plans are meant to ensure the seriousness of our endeavors, of our doing our part in a mood of service and contribution. If we ensure that we are more attached to our Lord than to our plans, then we will be able to make room for his plans whenever things seem to fall apart. And in due course, we will realize that his plan for our life superseded both the misery of the losses that might have come due to the failure of our plan and the joy of the gains that might have come by the successful completion of our plans.
A devotional disposition helps us balance between planning and submitting to the divine plan. Arjuna in the Mahabharata war demonstrates this balance in doing his best and leaving the rest to Krishna.
Make your plans & be ready to make room for God’s plans.
Think it over:
- How might we justify our plan-lessness? What’s wrong with such justification?
- Does God laugh at our plans?
- If we persevere devotionally amid our failed plans, what will we discover?
18.14: The place of action [the body], the performer, the various senses, the many different kinds of endeavor, and ultimately the Supersoul – these are the five factors of action.