The mind can impel, but not compel

The Bhagavad-gita (06.06) points out the two opposite roles that the mind can play in shaping our destiny: if controlled, it can be our friend; if uncontrolled, it can be our enemy.

This verse implies that we can control the mind if we decide to. This may seem impossible, especially when it wildly and repeatedly disrupts our normal functioning. However, it will become entirely possible if we empower ourselves with a critical guiding insight: the mind can never take the steering wheel from us. The body is like a car and the soul, the driver.In our bodily car, we are always in the driver’s seat.

But we have a default traveling partner sitting permanently next to us: our mind. It constantly proposes dangerous ideas of where we should travel, and fabricates crazy images of the pleasures that we will get there. By its propositions and fabrications, it prompts, prods, pushes, pinches and punches us to fulfill its wanderlust. However, as we are in the driver’s seat, itcan only impel us, never compel us.

Nonetheless, resisting the mind’s deceptive and persuasive incitation is not easy. To be able to resist it consistently, we need another traveling partner who gives us good counsel. That additional partner is Krishna. He is already present in our heart as the Supersoul, but we need to attune ourselves to his presence and voice by practicing devotional service. When we hear and follow his voice, he helps us see the folly of the mind’s schemes and the falsity of its promises. By hearing Krishna and neglecting the mind, we can steer our life-journey safely so that we can do our best materially during our journey and attain the best destination spiritually at the end: Krishna’s eternal abode.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 06 Text 06

“For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.”


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