“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.10)
ददामि बुद्धि-योगं तं
येन माम् उपयान्ति ते
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
1. Determining the best decision in gambling
“I was quite amazed. I have known this person my whole life. We are good friends. That implies an equality of sorts. I don’t necessarily look up to him, and there is no awe and veneration from his side, either. We are around the same age and have known each other for many years.
“I would never describe him to be a genius. He is intelligent, for sure. While successful in the corporate world, he is not in a scientific or engineering field. He deals with other people, manages them, and is expert at interpersonal dealings.
“Anyway, one time we went to a casino. I am not overly familiar with the various games available, but somehow we found our way there one afternoon. It was on the itinerary during a vacation trip. Well, I was amazed at my friend’s intelligence at this place. He could calculate odds in his head in a matter of seconds. He would not haphazardly throw his money away on various wagers.
“He could instantly translate that intelligence into words and guidance. If I thought about playing a certain way, he would explain the pros and cons of the decision. He would advise accordingly, based on mathematics. He would say that the probability was higher for such and such to occur.”
2. Finding preferred intoxication
“Where there is a will there is a way. One person I know can find intoxication in any situation or place. It doesn’t matter if the odds are stacked against them. A Sunday morning when every official establishment is closed? No problem. Attending a somber occasion where none of the people will be consuming adult beverages? They will find a way.
“This extends to travelling out of town. Upon landing at their destination, this person knows exactly where to go for finding their preferred method of intoxication. They know the ins and outs of the local laws. If there is some loophole, some advantage to be had, this person will exploit it. Amazing to see.”
3. Negotiating a price reduction
“I have been a subscriber to cable for a long time. I am what you would call a loyal customer. Been with the same company for years and never had a thought of switching. Well, that changed when I talked to my friend the other day. They told me how much they were paying for similar service, and it was much less.
“They proceeded to enlighten me as to how these relationships work. Apparently, you can threaten to cancel your service and the provider will most likely offer a significant price reduction. I gave it a try, and amazingly the cost went down by more than half.
“This friend knows all sorts of tricks on how to save money. They follow similar tactics with mobile phone service, airline tickets, automobile purchases, and even groceries. They have this innate ability to find a bargain. I am impressed.”
Desire creates a need, and then necessity is the mother of invention. If I desperately want something, I will figure out a way to make the potential a reality. I may not always succeed, but through my own effort there is some progress made towards achieving the objective.
गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः
कर्ताहम् इति मन्यते
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.27)
This simple truth of life should give hope to the person desperate for success in spiritual affairs, in meeting the long-term interest, paramartha. Short-term gain can only do so much for me. Svartha is fine for alleviating suffering at present, for contributing to some enthusiasm in an otherwise tiresome and boring existence, but eventually things will have to end.
The show stops, and the individual moves on to another destination. If there was no attention paid to paramartha, then there isn’t much hope for a promising future. The likely outcome is a return to the previous condition, i.e. repeated birth and death.
The fortunate person notices the pattern and wants more. They wish to escape from the cycle and achieve the best end in the afterlife. If they come upon the Vedic tradition, accepting the philosophy and assimilating the principles into regulative practice, they soon realize how difficult it is to meet every condition.
For instance, the mind can turn into the greatest enemy. While I may want to avoid certain beverages and foods, it seems that the more I think about quitting, the more I indulge. This is the work of the mind. If I would simply focus on something else, vairagya [renunciation] would take care of itself.
आत्मैव ह्य् आत्मनो बन्धुर्
आत्मैव रिपुर् आत्मनः
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ
“A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.5)
With such difficulties, the endeavor appears to be hopeless. Fortunately, the underlying principle guiding the situations mentioned above can be turned into the follower’s favor, with an added benefit. Desire might lead me to increased intelligence dovetailed with finding success in a material endeavor, and so I can apply the same to my pursuit of perfection of consciousness.
Simultaneously, the Supreme Lord will help me. He states so directly in Bhagavad-gita. He provides the understanding by which a person can come to Him. The lone qualification is loving devotion. Worship Him always, and He will help in finding Him. A person who finds Him has reached the perfection of life, and their future wellbeing is assured.
To worry no more,
Bright future in store.
Since with Krishna I’ve connected,
By Him now protected.
Knowledge from within providing,
In proper direction guiding.
Otherwise in the dark to remain,
Suffering through rebirth the same.
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