“Arjuna said: O descendant of Vrishni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?” (Bhagavad-gita, 3.36)
अथ केन प्रयुक्तो ऽयं
पापं चरति पूरुषः
अनिच्छन्न् अपि वार्ष्णेय
बलाद् इव नियोजितः
atha kena prayukto ‘yaṁ
pāpaṁ carati pūruṣaḥ
anicchann api vārṣṇeya
balād iva niyojitaḥ
1. How many times have I thrown the golf clubs in anger?
“They are quite expensive. I had saved up for this last set. I had my eye on a specific driver, and I decided to go for a replacement on all of the clubs. Custom-fitted, adjusted to my size and reach, I received compliments on the golf course when my playing partners saw the new gear.
“Knowing the time and effort that went into the purchase, consciously aware of the sacrifice in terms of hours spent at the office, I still could not help myself. I have been practicing the stroke from the sand-trap for a long time. I thought I finally got the technique down.
“During the latest round, I found myself in trouble early on. I immediately tensed up while preparing for the stroke. It was like the practice sessions increased my nervousness. Not surprisingly, I messed up the shot. If I was carefree, if I did not have so much invested in the outcome, it would not have been a big deal.
“Anyway, I lost it. Nothing new for those who know me well. I broke the wedge that I was using. But then I proceeded to pick up the entire bag of clubs and throw it into the water. If you watched this going on from afar, you would get a good chuckle, but to me it was anything but funny.”
2. What was the point of kicking that wall in frustration?
“I seriously cannot stand this one person who I work with. I am fairly easy to get along with; I don’t cause unnecessary arguments. This is probably why I am not in a management position, where you have to yell at people and sometimes behave irrationally. No one is going to listen to a weak and feckless leader; you have to be tough.
“This other employee is so annoying because they are careless in their work. I have to correct them in order for things to get done, and whenever I do I receive resistance. They don’t even feel bad about how terrible their work is. I have adjusted my mentality to simply ignore most errors, as I perceive them to be. It would be like a quality control person passing most changes because they are not interested in dealing with the headache associated with a failing mark.
“Of course this came back to bite me. When the product went to release, there was an issue. Not a major one, mind you. Nothing bad happened; we caught the problem early on. The error was due to this employee, however, and I got so mad about the situation that I kicked the wall in frustration.
“My big toenail came off, as a result. I was bleeding and my foot hurt. That only made me angrier. I should have known better, but what could I do? It was like an outside force compelled me to behave irrationally.”
3. Why did I yell at someone when they had done nothing wrong?
“We are talking top-level screaming here; enough so that people in other rooms in the building could here. It caused a scene, but I was not letting up anytime soon. The recipient of these harsh words was not phased in the beginning, so I continued to increase the pressure until they finally buckled.
“They were crying profusely. They ran away from the scene, taking shelter in another room. I was still seething to the point that I had trouble breathing. Later on, after cooling down, I regretted the incident. I don’t know why I lost my composure so quickly. I should not have spoken that way to them; no person deserved what I handed out.”
As to err is human, we find such incidents occurring in every person’s life. We know better. We use sound logic and reasoning to discern a pattern. Certain behavior led to trouble the last time around. It was that case for many iterations, in fact. The smart person will put a stop to the cycle; no more endeavor within that specific category.
As Arjuna asks in Bhagavad-gita, why do we keep going down the same road? It is like we have no control over ourselves. We should know better, but that part of the intelligence gets suppressed. It is only for the time being, as we regret the incident later on. Yet that short amount of time is enough to cause the guaranteed damage resulting from the improper behavior.
Arjuna’s teacher explains that the root cause is kama, which is material desire. The human being has the opportunity to control kama. The pursuit begins from childhood, if we are lucky. Parents instill discipline and a structure to daily life so that the children will not become accustomed to doing whatever they want, whenever they want, to the detriment of their future wellbeing.
In adulthood the best way to control kama is to meditate, and the ideal object of meditation is Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Shrimad Bhagavatam describes how proper meditation in this regard begins at Vishnu’s lotus feet and then moves upward.
It may seem like a mechanical process, but since the Supreme Lord is all-attractive and always our best, well-wishing friend, such meditation is entirely natural. The difficulty is that one may not even be aware that this is the real meaning to meditation, dhyana. It takes several lifetimes to even know the Supreme Lord in truth.
As during Kali-yuga, the current age of quarrel and hypocrisy, man is generally short-lived and unfortunate, to conduct proper meditation, and thereby control kama, is difficult. Fortunately, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has passed on the timeless practice of sankirtana-yajna. Chant the holy names, focus on sound, and receive the same benefits provided through direct sight concentration.
Any valid name for the Almighty will do, and any authorized mantra is sufficient to create the link known as yoga, but Mahaprabhu particularly recommends the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Repeat this sacred formula on a regular basis, with as few distractions as possible, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, and quickly enjoy the many benefits, one of which is increased control over kama, the all-devouring enemy of man.
Know that I should not throw,
But into water clubs to go.
That wall kicking with force,
Pain resulting of course.
Like by higher power compelled,
Who knowledge repelled.
From meditation’s seat to find,
In yoga a controlled mind.
Categories: the three