“There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much, or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.16)
“I dig Krishna consciousness. I am into it. I am ready to follow the four regulative principles and chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. I believe in the words of the spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
I am having one particular problem, though. Laziness. I believe it’s referred to as indolence in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is book. Too much sleep is in the mode of ignorance. In the short term, I’m trying to rise to the mode of goodness, which is enlightening and brings the most happiness a material existence has to offer. Obviously, I want to go beyond and become liberated. No more birth and death; simply a servant to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
“Six hours of sleep is sufficient, but a man in the mode of ignorance sleeps at least ten or twelve hours a day. Such a man appears to be always dejected, and is addicted to intoxicants and sleeping. These are the symptoms of a person conditioned by the mode of ignorance.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 14.8, Purport)
This problem is not uncommon, even for people not practicing bhakti. Procrastination is easy. Putting a task off until later requires less effort than satisfying the responsibility immediately. Fortunately, there are ways to get help in conquering indolence.
1. Find an active engagement
The chanting of the holy names is there. It is the recommended dharma for the present yuga. Dharma is the essence of something, and when referring to the essence of identity, it is the core way of living. Dharma becomes religion when the set of procedures is viewed with respect to attaining the goal of reclaiming the essence of the soul.
Service to God is the original and all-encompassing dharma, and the dharma to get back to that consciousness may vary based on time and circumstance. For the present time period, which is known as a yuga, the recommended path is the chanting of the holy names, such as those found in the maha-mantra.
This chanting is an active engagement, recommended especially to be done in a systemized and organized way on a set of beads. Chant the mantra one time on each bead and go around the necklace. As all truths rest in Shri Krishna, so every dharma is included in the holy name.
“O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.7)
This chanting cannot be done while sleeping. It is difficult even to do while lying down. The best is while in an optimal seated position, but standing is also an option. Regardless, the chanting itself prevents laziness. I can’t put off something if I’m working on it right now.
Fortunately, bhakti is very diverse. There is not just one way to love the Supreme Lord. Indolence is easily conquered when there is any type of active engagement, approved by the spiritual master. Cooking, writing, reading, even cleaning can be done to please Krishna.
2. Taking advantage of the morning hours
There is a period of time right before the sunrise that is considered very auspicious. It is known as brahma-muhurta, or the moment of the spiritual energy that is Brahman. This time is extremely favorable for performing spiritual activities.
Notice that the auspicious time is not during the night. There is typically less energy. So many other responsibilities have been handled already. The mind wants some rest. No more pressure. Morning is the time of renewed energy. Though it is difficult to get up so early, to rise out of bed, once accomplished there is a better chance of focusing on tasks at hand.
3. Remember Arjuna
If there was any person who was justified in feeling tired, it was Arjuna. He and his family had suffered long enough. They were kicked out of the kingdom that rightfully belonged to them. That is one thing. Then the aggressors tried to kill. They wanted the five brothers, known as the Pandavas, out of the picture completely.
Arjuna could have taken the route of indolence, giving up and retreating to the forest, but he is known as Gudakesha. This means “one who has conquered sleep.” He is above the mode of ignorance. Urged on by the well-wisher Krishna, Arjuna moved forward in a very difficult, but important task. He and his massive army took down the Kurus, won the war, regained their kingdom, and protected dharma in the process. Any person suffering from laziness can take inspiration from Arjuna and other devotees who have worked tirelessly for the good of mankind.
Inspiration from Arjuna taking,
Since no more excuses making.
Rather than retire and retreat,
Took to action, up on his feet.
Not easy to conquer is sleep,
Focus on bhakti activities keep.
Like early in morning holy names chanting,
More confidence for rest of day granting.
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