The more we are aimless, the more we become shameless

Suppose a student is on vacation, with nothing specific to do. They may spend days on pointless net surfing without feeling bad that they are wasting time. But suppose they are in the preparatory leave before an important exam and spend a few hours on pointless net surfing. They will feel ashamed at having wasted that much time. 

When we have an aim, it becomes our reference point for assessing various actions as right or wrong. If we have no aim, nothing remains wrong. If we have no destination while driving, no turn is a wrong turn. The Bhagavad-gita (02.41) cautions that if we are not fixed in a worthy aim, we can get misdirected in countless ways. 

And when we are aimless, we can easily become shameless. Why? First, our mind has many dark desires within it. Second, our culture offers us many depraved ways for acting on those dark desires. Due to this double whammy, we may make increasingly dissolute choices without feeling any compunction or shame. 

Frequently, the word ‘shame’ has a negative connotation; no one wants to feel ashamed, especially of themselves. Still, a sense of shame can influence us positively. How? By deterring us from doing unproductive or counterproductive things. 

Will any aim protect us from shameless actions? Not necessarily. If someone’s aim itself is something unworthy — such as wanting to buy cocaine — they may remorselessly do something terrible such as rob someone to get the money. But still, if they lose that money, they will feel bad about it. 

While any aim gives us a sense of right and wrong, it needs a healthy aim to give us a healthy sense of right and wrong. If we wish to determine the worthiest of aims, Gita wisdom stands ready to guide and equip us. 

Think it over:

  • How does being aimless make us shameless?
  • How can a sense of shame influence us positively?
  • Based on Gita wisdom, what healthy aim can you adopt?

***

02.41 Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.

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