Weakness makes us hotheaded, wickedness makes us cold-blooded

We all sometimes act wrongly. But not all wrong actions are equally serious – they fall at different points on a scale that extends from weakness to wickedness. Where they fall on that scale depends on how they affect our inner defense mechanism.

Our inner defense mechanism is primarily our intelligence and our conscience. Our intelligence reminds us why something is wrong through rational analysis, whereas our conscience serves the same purpose through unpleasant feelings of guilt and remorse. 

In those with weaknesses, their lower impulses such as lust, anger or greed sometimes become so strong as to forcefully overpower their inner defense mechanism. But once those impulses subside, that mechanism gets reactivated. Thereafter, when they contemplate their hotheaded actions, they feel ashamed, even appalled. 

In contrast, those with wickedness have no inner defense mechanism. By their repeated wrongdoings, their conscience has become deadened; they do wrong nonchalantly, hardly ever feeling bad about it. And their intelligence has been taken over by their impulses. They abuse their intelligence to cold-bloodedly plot their wrongdoings. They plan deliberately to hurt others the most, to avoid getting caught in the process and to be ready with rationalizations if they get caught.  

In the weak, the inner defense mechanism is temporarily sidelined, whereas, in the wicked, that mechanism is permanently sabotaged. Like Duryodhana in the Mahabharata, the wicked take a devilish delight in doing terrible things such as murdering their rivals (16.14). They need to be penalized, even neutralized – as was Duryodhana through the Kurukshetra war. 

Fortunately, bhakti is so powerful that it can reform everyone – even the wicked, provided they want to be reformed. If we practice bhakti determinedly, then, even if we sometimes act wrongly, still, we can and will become purified (09.30-31). Such is the remarkable redeeming power of Krishna’s grace. 


Think it over:

  • What is our inner defense mechanism?
  • How does weakness affect our inner defense mechanism?
  • How does wickedness affect our inner defense mechanism?



16.14 The demoniac person thinks: “… He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful and happy.” 

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  1. Amazing, profound analysis. Simply an answer that I was seeking to understand some of the shocking chain of events in my life recently.

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