Work on mind control enthusiastically while Krishna works on mind conversion expertly
We all have first-hand experience how the mind impels us to self-defeating actions. So when the Bhagavad-gita (06.05) warns us that the mind can be our worst enemy, we feel not surprised, but vindicated. We feel motivated to persevere in our battle to control it.
But what do we make of the same verse’s statement that the mind can be our friend too? Normally, we think of a friend as someone to be cherished, not controlled. If we are to regard the mind as a potential friend, how can we control it?
Gita wisdom explains that the ultimate purpose of controlling the mind is not to enslave or exterminate it, but to convert it. The mind is not our enemy – the selfish passions within it are. For example, the Gita (03.37) identifies one of those hostile passions: lust.
How do we convert the mind?
By infusing it with a taste for the sweetness of Krishna.
In the task of mind conversion, Krishna expertly helps us by revealing his glory and beauty in progressive installments. By offering these delicious discoveries, he prods the mind towards the understanding that there is nothing as fulfilling and empowering as thinking about him.
With Krishna helping us, our work is simply to keep exposing the mind to him. That’s why unlike other paths that focus on deactivating the mind, bhakti focuses on engaging it by fixing it on him and his service. As the mind is restless, keeping it fixed on him requires untiring enthusiasm. Demanding though this may seem, it’s still much easier than silencing the mind.
And fixing the mind on Krishna becomes easier still as he starts converting it. Eventually he makes it our friend – a friend who, when our thoughts go off-track, redirects them back to him.
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