The Gita calls for not emotionless living, but purposeful living
In cricket, fielders sometimes use sledging to unsettle a batsman. If the batsman lets their nasty words agitate him, he will in a rush of blood play a rash shot that gets him out, thus unwittingly playing into the opponents’ hands. In contrast, a more mature batsman will by remembering the bigger purpose of winning the match keep his cool, play intelligently and thus relish the greater emotions of good performance and victory.
Thus, even in an activity like sports played primarily for entertainment, that is, for enjoying emotions, one needs to curb one’s immediate emotions to achieve a bigger purpose. This principle applies also to spiritual life, wherein we aspire to relish spiritual emotions centered on love for Krishna. Such emotions are latent in our core, the soul. To activate our spiritual sentience, we need to de-activate our material obsession that manifests in excessive emotional reactions to worldly ups and downs. The Bhagavad-gita (12.17) assures that those who don’t get worked up by worldly emotions endear themselves to Krishna.
As worldly emotions are all that we have known for most of our life, regulating those emotions may seem to us like emotional suppression. To persevere on the path to spiritual enrichment, we need to focus not on what might seem less in our life – material emotion – but what our life is full of: spiritual purpose. Whenever we feel worldly excitement pulling us, we can meditate on our spiritual purpose, the special opportunity we have to relish emotions far greater, richer and deeper than the mundane. When we keep our thoughts on Krishna instead of the world, we thus express our purposeful determination to attain him. Such determination will please him and he will mercifully grant us sublime spiritual enrichment, thereby enabling us to tolerate and transcend worldly emotions.
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