“I am doing this Only for You”. Really?

We have said this at least once, whom are we kidding? Not once but many a time- “I am doing this only for you.”

Really? Ask yourselves whether do you do something for anybody here other than for yourself? Think of an event where you thought you went out of your way to do something for somebody and then drill down and drill through till you reach the rock bottom.  Who do you see there at the bottom? Is that you or that somebody? It will always be you.

We might move out of our comfort zone, do things for others and the reasons can be many however, if we look closely then all the reasons will point straight at us.

You Do Things For Others Because

After taking a good look at the image above, can we still go around telling others that we do things for them? And it is okay, that is how we are and that is why we as a race are still existing. Our mind is designed in a way to support our existence. Whatever it thinks that we are, it’s job is to support that. And it does a brilliant job at that.

But we were also socially conditioned since childhood in believing that good people are those who help others and selfish ones are those who help themselves. So there is an inner conflict, your mind is driven to helping you but it is also afraid of being judged. So it smartly sweeps anything damaging to one’s reputation under the carpet. Even the knowledge that it is there to support you first before others also goes under the carpet.

Therefore we stop accepting this fact and start believing that whatever we do for ourselves are also to help others- our (close family members or friends or peers or religion, or society or nation). Over time, this becomes a habit, now our unconscious mind drives our thought process as well as our habits. 

Thus, we not only lost that knowledge but also take false pride in helping others while whatever nonsense we are doing is only and only to support our existence. With this false pride, comes flared-up ego and when people don’t reciprocate, frustration builds in and we wonder why others aren’t seeing our selfless nature. God, what foolish false bubble do we live in?

While I write this, I can’t stop thinking of those times when I refused to accept that I am solely responsible for my actions and that I have no one to blame. We all been there, right. It’s easy to blame others than take responsibility.

This small knowledge sets me free of many social prejudices and helps me appreciate others way of living. There is no right or wrong. If there is anything wrong then it is us working like machines, we stopped questioning our thoughts, habits and conditioning.

For me, spirituality is this. Bhagavad Gita for me is to question my fears, prejudices, habits, false pride and basically to question whatever I think I am. Spirituality is like having a good bath, purifying your self of all the impurities you have claimed and gained through this journey called life.

Bhagavad Gita is not asking us to look at others but to look within. Our contemplation should start and end with us. And the verse below is saying exactly that.

manaḥ-prasādaḥ saumyatvaṁ maunam ātma-vinigrahaḥ
bhāva-sanśhuddhir ity etat tapo mānasam uchyate//17, 16

Serenity of thought, gentleness, silence, self-control, and purity of purpose—all these are declared as the austerity of the mind

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Does it matter how we perceive Krishna in The Gita?

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Social Psychologists’ term us as cognitive misers who downplay every stimuli other than the ones we find useful. Since we have this problem it is important to re-look at the character Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

If we look at him as someone who advised Arjuna at battlefield, we might ignore his teachings as only relevant to Arjuna. If we look at him as a God, we might never be able to implement his lesson as there is a fear of being categorized by our mind as an entity different from us. If we look at him as a Guru/Teacher, we will end up trying to apply his teachings. Thank God, for the reinforcements we had as children@School to act upon teacher’s advice .

Before seeking instruction from one of the best Teacher the world had known, we need to set aside our prejudices and judgmentalism. To do that, we ought to go off from the autopilot mode to an elaborate processing. Yes, we are capable of doing this but we need a good reason to do so.

We need to ponder at finding its importance in our professional or personal lives. Many Corporate Gurus termed him as a Tactful Leader and used his teachings to set leadership values. So, we aren’t the first to test him at the professional front and will easily find many reasons to imbibe his teachings. Yet, take some time out to see Gitas’ relevancy in your life to making it better.

From the standpoint of Arjuna, he had the wisdom to accept and admit being taken over by doubt and dastardism which is so not a trait of warrior(He in Chapter 6, shl 39 says Etanme samsayam Krishna Chetum Arhasya Asesatah). He seeks refuge as a disciple and request to discipline him is indicated in Shlok 7 of Chapter 2.

Karpanya Dosopahata Svabhavah
Prcchami Tvam Dharma sammudha Cetah
Yac Chreyah Syan Niscitam Bruhi Tan Me
Sisyas Te ham Sadhi Mam Tvam Prapannam

Arjuna casts away all defensive manoeuvres’ and prepared his mind to a neutral state to soak up in the teachers’ advice. By the way, it is a great leadership quality to possess in disciplining our minds and opening up to new ideas to make profitable decisions. Most of our problems arise when doubts overwhelm us and we lose the clarity of thoughts. Acting blindly in doubt is a sure recipe for trouble.

If we succeed to taking Gita as our teacher, we will see the song Divine uplifting us slowly but steadily from being human to spiritual. We will no longer be entangled in the character of Krishna but would look at Gita as a jewel box full of hand-picked precious gems- especially for us from The Great Upanishads.