When the mind takes charge, the only thing that works is we: hard

Suppose some competent leader takes charge of a project. They ensure that everyone works hard and productively. But if the leader is incompetent, no one works productively. Worse still, if the leader is incompetent and dominant, they make others work unproductively, but hard. Worst of all, if the leader is incompetent, dominant and malevolent, they make others slave till breaking point on work that is painful and pointless.

Our mind often acts like a taskmaster of this last category. If it conceives that something is enjoyable, it makes us crave and slave to get it, no matter what the cost. Consider addicts, for example. They often squander their time, money, sanity, self-respect, relationships, their everything – all because their mind craves for a pleasure that is nothing more than a short-lived relief from an insatiable and irresistible craving.

We may not be addicts, but may still be very much under the mind’s dictatorship. Driven by its conceptions of enjoyment, we labor excruciatingly and uselessly.

The Bhagavad-gita (15.07) states that we struggle and suffer when we come under the spell of the mind and the senses. If we let it take charge of our life, nothing works under its dictatorship except we ourselves. And our work just propels us toward self-ruination.

Thankfully, the same verse points the way to freedom from the mind’s dictatorship: We are eternal parts of Krishna, the omnipotent supreme. As parts, we are meant to serve the Whole. When we strive to serve him by practicing bhakti-yoga, he makes things work in our life. And we slowly and increasingly free ourselves from the mind’s dictatorship.

Doesn’t serving Krishna also require hard work? Yes, but this work purifies us. And as we become purified, serving him becomes increasingly joyful till it finally becomes supremely, unendingly blissful.


Think it over:   

  • What kind of taskmaster is the mind?
  • How are addicts under their mind’s dictatorship?
  • How does serving Krishna free us from the mind’s dictatorship?

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