If we gauge how good we are solely by how good we feel about ourselves, we rob ourselves of our goodness

We all want to feel good about ourselves. And wanting to feel good is in itself not a bad thing. It becomes bad when it interferes with our becoming good. 

Even if we are already good, we have a huge potential to be better. The Bhagavad-gita states that we all are spiritual beings, who are parts of the divine (15.07). When we link with the divine and manifest our spirituality, we can make our life and our world better. However, we have many impurities within us that blind us to our spirituality. During our present impure state, our emotions often distort our perception of reality. Here’s how. 

Actions that decrease our goodness sometimes feel good: Indulging in impure pleasures feels good, but only temporarily. To get that feeling again, we indulge repeatedly and disproportionately, thereby transgressing ethical boundaries and depleting our goodness. 

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita cautions that if we reject God and any objective moral standard, we end up living to gratify our selfish desires (16.08). Such living undercuts our spirituality and undermines the world’s ethical fabric (16.09). 

Actions that increase our goodness don’t always feel good: When our impurities impel us toward a self-destructive indulgence, our conscience deters us. The resulting inner tug-of-war doesn’t feel good. 

Further, if we strive to purify ourselves by practicing time-tested purificatory processes such as bhakti-yoga, the required discipline doesn’t always feel good. Nonetheless, if we persevere, we gradually become purified and link increasingly with the all-attractive, all-blissful divine, Krishna. By that connection, we eventually relish a good feeling that is authentic, uplifting and enduring (06.20-23). 

To accurately gauge how good we are, we can’t count on our feelings alone, we need objective standards given in time-tested wisdom-texts such as the Gita. 

Think it over:

  • How do we have a huge potential within us?
  • Why do actions that decrease our goodness sometimes feel good?
  • Why don’t actions that increase our goodness always feel good?


16.08 They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust.

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