The things that hurt us = the things we think hurt us?

Suppose we are bitten by a snake. We may get panicky, dreading that the snake bite will kill us. Actually, the snake-bite can’t kill us; what kills is the snake venom that enters into our system and reaches our vital organs. Though the snake bite can’t be reversed, the venom can be removed from our body. 

The same principle holds true when life’s reversals sometimes sting us as painfully as snake bites. Still, such reversals can’t destroy us; what destroys us is our resulting resentment. That resentment is like snake venom — it spreads throughout our consciousness, triggering various toxic emotions. Some such emotions may be vengefulness wherein we can think of nothing except hitting back at those who hurt us; martyrdom wherein we wallow in self-pity; or cynicism wherein we start dismissing everyone as untrustworthy and every good thing in life as deceptive. The Bhagavad-gita refers to such chronic negativity as a perverse determination in the mode of ignorance (18.35).

Though we can’t reverse life’s adversities, we can remove the poison of resentment. How? Through purification and devotion. 

Purification: If we expose ourselves to devotional stimuli, centered around the all-pure divine, Krishna, those stimuli enter into our consciousness and gradually drive out the negativity there, just as a beam of light drives out darkness. 

Devotion: Devotion infuses us with the understanding that Krishna loves us and is our well-wisher. If we strive in a mood of service to do whatever is possible for us, he will, by his inconceivable expertise, help us heal. 

When we seek purification and cultivate devotion, we can avoid resentment, thereby moving toward recovery and rejuvenation. 

One-sentence summary:

The things that hurt us are often not the things that hurt us — a snake-bite doesn’t destroy; snake venom does. Similarly, adversities don’t destroy us; resentment does. 

Think it over:

  • When reversals sting us like snake bites, what is the venom that destroys us?
  • How can we remove resentment from our heart?
  • Is any resentment poisoning your consciousness? What can you do to remove it? 


18.35: And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Pruha, is in the mode of darkness.


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1 Comment

  1. the snake-bite can’t kill us; what kills is the snake venom that enters into our system and reaches our vital organs.

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