Our impressions go with us, but they don’t have to grow with us
Suppose we change from an old computer to a new computer. Once we log in using our id, our browsing information – such as bookmarks, preferences and search history – gets associated with the new computer.
Gita wisdom explains that we are eternal souls. When our body is destroyed at death, we transmigrate to a new body. And along with us are transferred to the new body our inner impressions that were formed during our previous lives. Whereas our browsing information is stored outside us in some server, our impressions are stored inside. The inner storage space is our subtle body that accompanies us during our multi-life journey.
Our impressions prompt us towards certain choices, just as Google supplies certain auto-completes for our searches. Yet we don’t have to search only according to those auto-complete options; we can search according to our present interests. Similarly, we don’t have to act according to the promptings coming from our impressions. We can instead choose to act according to our present values. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (03.34) urges us to not succumb to our default attachments and aversions. If we have lived sensually and self-centeredly in the past, our impressions will prompt us towards similar behavior, thereby reinforcing those materialistic values.
Thankfully, we can elevate our values by educating ourselves with Gita wisdom. It explains that our core is pure and transcendental, and it enables us to relish spiritual fulfillment by practicing yoga, especially bhakti-yoga. This fulfillment enables us to regulate our likes and dislikes, and make principled choices. Just as our present browsing choices will gradually change Google’s prompts, so too will our present behavioral choices change our inner promptings. By consistently making principled choices, we can transform our impressions, rendering them favorable, instead of inimical, for bringing out our spiritual potential.
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