Where we are doesn’t determine who we are

We might sometimes be at a terrible place in life — we may be addicted to something harmful. What could make us feel worse is if we had arrived at that place not because of factors beyond our control but because of our own mistakes and misdeeds. We might beat ourselves down with guilt and self-recrimination, thereby feeling worthless and hopeless. 

At such times, Gita wisdom reminds us that at our core, we are still pure souls; we are eternally parts of the all-pure Supreme, Krishna (Bhagavad-gita 15.07). Even if the soul is covered by impure conditionings, those are circumstantial and ephemeral – they are like the smell acquired by the wind while going through certain areas (15.08). 

The wind might smell foul after passing through a nauseous area, but that smell will soon disappear once it goes into a fragrant area. The same applies to us, though of course, conditionings may take longer to get cleansed. Amidst discouragements caused by our dark side, understanding that we have a core purity can be heartening. And if we strive to grow spiritually by connecting with Krishna, we can rapidly regain our core purity. Indeed, that remarkable transformational potency characterizes bhakti-yoga (09.31). 

Undoubtedly, our present condition is important; we can’t deny it or wish it away. If we are attached or addicted, we will have a long hard climb to raise our consciousness from there to the spiritual level where we can relish lasting happiness. Still, the ardor of that climb needn’t dishearten us. Why? Because we don’t belong where we are presently, at the bottom of a dark valley; we belong at the top of the mountain, in pure love for our Lord.

Knowing that his grace can empower us to get where we are meant to be, we can gird ourselves for the climb determinedly and confidently. 

 

Think it over:

  • How might our present condition dishearten us?
  • Why does our present condition not define us?
  • How can we go beyond our present condition?

 

***

15.08  The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another, as the air carries aromas. Thus he takes one kind of body and again quits it to take another.


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1 Comment

  1. GITA guides you to your destiny

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