Note consciously what you notice unconsciously
In the Mahabharata, when Arjuna disguised as a brahmana won Draupadi’s hand in the svayamvara, Drupada sensed that his to-be son-in-law was actually a kshatriya. So, when he invited the bridegroom and his family for a banquet at his palace, he arranged to have on display in the dining hall sacrificial paraphernalia, weapons and plows – items associated respectively with brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas. Arjuna and his brothers went straight to the weapons, examined them carefully and started talking animatedly about different kinds of weapons. From the brothers’ spontaneous attraction to arms, Drupada concluded that they all were kshatriyas, as was soon confirmed when they were revealed to be the Pandavas.
We all have our natural interests. Ultimately, as souls who are eternal parts of Krishna, our natural spiritual interest is in loving and serving him. That interest becomes activated when we purify ourselves by practicing bhakti-yoga. Significantly, bhakti-yoga is inclusive – it strives to harmonize our psychophysical nature with its project of activating our spiritual nature. The Bhagavad-gita (18.46) urges us to worship Krishna through our work, that is, work according to our psychophysical nature.
For working thus, we need to know our nature. In traditional varnashrama, people’s nature correlated with their varna. But because various varnas have been intermixing for many generations, our nature may not fall neatly into any one varna. Still, we can sense our nature through self-observation.
When we enter a place or a situation, we can observe what draws our attention naturally. By noting consciously what we notice unconsciously, we can learn about our interests and thereby about our nature. Thereafter, we can, as much as possible, harmonize our occupation or service with our nature. By such harmonization, we can minimize our inner conflict arising from incompatibility, maximize our outer contribution, and better focus on our spiritual growth.
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