Why we are more than programmed machines

Today’s prevailing worldview, materialism, holds that we are biological robots. What we consider as our voluntary choices, it treats as mechanical results of our programming. We are programmed by our genes and our societal influences. This view of humans is counterintuitive and impoverishing. Counterintuitive because we implicitly hold each other responsible for our actions – this assumption underlies our relationships. Impoverishing because it sentences us to a will-less, loveless existence.  

Thankfully, Gita wisdom offers a more life-affirming view of ourselves. It acknowledges that our bodies are programmed machines, but we are more than our bodies; we are embodied souls, who are marred masterpieces. We are masterpieces in two ways: parts of the supreme master and products of his masterly wisdom. The Bhagavad-gita (15.07) explains that we are all parts or pieces of the ultimate master, all-attractive Krishna. We are also Krishna’s masterpieces in that we are manifest by his wisdom and will for reciprocating love with him and therein relishing joy eternal. For such reciprocation, we all have been given some independence, intelligence and initiative – things that define our unique individuality. For Krishna, we all are precious as his non-imitable, non-replaceable masterpieces.

Unfortunately, we are presently flawed masterpieces because our body’s programming sometimes prompts us toward choices that are unwise, even self-destructive. Thankfully, we can resist such promptings by connecting devotionally with our Lord, for that connection with all-pure Krishna frees us from the impurities that impel us to unhealthy choices. Being purified, we can contribute lovingly in a mood of service to our Lord, thereby channeling our individuality constructively and joyfully.

By thus gaining spiritual self-understanding, we can progress toward the life we intuitively aspire for: animated by enduring love, profound purpose and sublime fulfillment. 

One-sentence summary:

See yourself not as a machine with fixed programming, but as a masterpiece with fixable flaws.

Think it over:

  • What’s wrong with the materialistic view of ourselves?
  • How can we manage our programming and live meaningfully?
  • How can the Gita help us live as we intuitively long to live?


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Explanation of article:


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15.07: The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.


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