We have snakes inside us, but we are not one of them
Suppose someone we thought we knew suddenly does something terrible and hurtful. We may be aghast, wondering what kind of horrible desires lie hidden below their ordinary-looking appearance. We may worry, “Are they dangerous? Are they like vicious snakes?
Worryingly enough, if we are honest and introspective, we can sense that we too have dark desires within us. We may not have the particular dark desire that they had, or we may not act on that desire to that depraved extent. But beyond such specifics, we do have a dark side that we conceal from the world. Still, we wouldn’t call ourselves snakes; after all, there’s some goodness inside us too.
Reassuringly enough, Gita wisdom explains that our core is good and godly; we are souls, who are parts of the divine. However, in our inner world, the pure soul is surrounded by many impurities which are like snakes. Thus, we have snakes inside us, but we are not one of them. And the essential adventure of human life is to go beyond the inner snakes to the soul and thereby relish unending spiritual joy.
Suppose we were seeking a treasure hidden in a snake-infested cave. To get to the treasure, we would need to slay all those snakes. Similarly, if we are to reach and realize the treasure of our spiritual identity, we need to slay the various snake-like desires that cover our soul. And we all can slay them. We just need to let ourselves be guided by transcendental knowledge, which the Bhagavad-gita (04.34) asserts can reform the greatest of wrongdoers.
Therefore, if we want to be internally enriched, we need to be cautious and adventurous: cautious to guard against our snake-like lower desires; and adventurous to fight an inner war till we reach and release our core goodness.
Think it over:
- We have snakes inside us — what does that mean?
- How are we not one of the snakes inside us?
- What is the essential human adventure?
04.36 Even if you are considered to be the most sinful of all sinners, when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries.
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