We are our greatest hope – and our greatest horror (Based on Gita 06.05)
Chaitanya Charan Das: Traditions across the world have stories similar to the Western classic about Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde. In such stories, the same person acts sometimes like a principled, selfless benefactor and sometimes like an opportunistic, self-centered malefactor.
And similar is our own story too. What makes us behave like this? Our mind, or more precisely, the way we respond to our mind. Our mind reacts impulsively to external perceptions and internal recollections; it becomes infatuated with some things and repelled by others. During its roller coaster, it occasionally comes up with good ideas and regularly with bad ideas. When we uncritically buy into its ideas, we often do foolish things. Thus, we become our greatest horrors.
The Bhagavad-gita (06.05) exhorts us to elevate ourselves with our mind, not degrade ourselves. How can we elevate ourselves? By connecting with an inner presence that is stronger, steadier and wiser than the mind. That presence is God, Krishna, who is our greatest benefactor and is therefore the source of our supreme hope.
Whenever we do anything inspiring, we often channel Krishna’s divine potency, even if we don’t realize it. Gita wisdom helps us recognize that all ability comes from him (07.08). And bhakti-yoga practice enables us to connect strongly with him, thereby empowering us to resist our lower side and to release our higher side.
We all want to change for the better. But we often hope that something special will happen externally that will change us for the better. Instead, we need to see ourselves as our greatest hope. That is, we need to take the responsibility and the initiative to change ourselves. Equipped with Gita wisdom and bhakti practice, we can connect with the one who is our greatest hope – and he will fill our life with light and love and joy.
Verse 06.05 – “One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.”
Think it over:
How do we become our greatest horror?
How can we elevate ourselves?
How are we our greatest hope?