There’s no need to be confidently pessimistic
To achieve anything challenging, we need to be optimistic. Bhakti can boost our optimism by helping us realize that we are not alone; Krishna is always with us – he loves us and wants the best for us.
However, during our bhakti practice, our mind subtly and sinisterly shifts our focus from Krishna to the hurdles between him and us: our conditionings. When they cause us to slip and fall, we become disheartened, thinking, “I can never overcome these conditionings.” Such a feeling, while understandable, is not reasonable. How, after all, can we know the future so surely? Have we mystically developed the power of precognition? No, our confident pessimism comes not from our precognition, but from our mind’s deception.
Our mind is presently ruled by our conditionings, so it often acts as our enemy. It wants to keep us in its control – control that is threatened by our practice of bhakti. So, it takes us away from Krishna by attacking with temptation, and then keeps us away from him by attacking with pessimism. We may fall to the attack of temptation, but we don’t have to stay fallen by letting pessimism paralyze us.
Gita wisdom assures us that no matter how strong our conditionings may be, they are no match to Krishna’s omnipotence. The Bhagavad-gita declares that even if devotees succumb to misdeeds, they are still well-situated as long as they keep practicing bhakti (09.30). And by that diligent practice, they will soon become virtuous (09.31).
By remembering Krishna’s omnipotence, we can replace our confident pessimism with confident optimism. Energized thus, we can strive to remember and serve him to the best of our capacity. Being pleased by our sincere endeavors, he will purify us by his omnipotent mercy, gradually empowering us to rise to levels of freedom that had earlier seemed impossible.
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