Learn to ground emotions in reason and reality
Our emotions are extremely powerful and extremely fickle – they can change suddenly and unpredictably, and can destroy our determination and indeed our entire life.
The Bhagavad-gita begins by demonstrating this formidable power of emotions. An undefeatable warrior about to begin his life’s biggest war is overpowered even before a single arrow is shot. How? By the attack of emotions inimical to his determination. Arjuna sees his many relatives arrayed against him on the battlefield. Contemplating the impending fratricide, he becomes so overwhelmed with agony (01.26-28) that he starts crying in the middle of the battlefield (02.01) and loses his will to fight (02.08). Yet by the Gita’s end, his calmness, clarity and confidence are restored (18.73, 78).
How did the Gita stabilize Arjuna’s emotions? By grounding them in reason and reality.
With sound arguments, the Gita reasoned that the real person is the indestructible soul, which is different from the physical body whose destruction is inevitable (02.18, 02.27). By explaining that the war would not destroy his relatives, but would transport them to a level of existence more attuned to their level of consciousness, the Gita calmed Arjuna.
What grounded his emotions fully was the understanding that Krishna’s love for all living beings is existence’s supreme reality. We are Krishna’s eternal parts (15.07). He resides in the hearts of all living beings (15.15) and directs their wanderings (18.61) as their supreme well-wisher (05.29). By harmonizing our emotion with Krishna’s emotion through devotional purification, as Arjuna did at the end of the Gita (18.73), we all can follow in his illustrious footsteps.
When we learn to ground our emotions in the Gita’s philosophical reasoning and in the supreme reality of Krishna’s love, our emotions stop disempowering and misdirecting us. Instead, they start directing and empowering us towards deeper spiritual realization and richer devotional fulfillment.
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