“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.34)
मन्-मना भव मद्-भक्तो
मद्-याजी मां नमस्कुरु
माम् एवैष्यसि युक्त्वैवम्
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
“I will level with you. I am simply afraid. I don’t think I can do it. I see the examples to look up to, and I know that I don’t measure up. This isn’t merely ‘imposter syndrome.’ I have enough evidence to review to know what my limitations are in terms of ability.
“I am generally lazy. I love to sit around and do nothing. Seriously, when I take long-haul flights, when the passengers are allowed to breathe freely, I end up sitting in my seat and closing my eyes. I don’t watch the in-flight entertainment. I do not listen to music. I do not read a book.
“This extended period of inactivity is extremely relaxing. It goes with my couch-potato nature. Transition that to spiritual life, as described in the prachara of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and you will notice my incapability.
“There’s just no way I could stay true to the four regulative principles, even. What to speak of chanting the maha-mantra for a prescribed number of rounds each day. No way I could always think of the Supreme Lord while carrying out my work, in a detached manner. I feel helpless.”
1. Learning to swim
“It was extremely difficult for me. I was afraid of the water since the very first time I entered. It was embarrassing growing up knowing that young children were more capable at swimming than me. But what could I do? I was never properly taught.
“That changed later in life, when I met the perfect teacher. They guided me along the way. They promised to always support me, no matter how tentative I was. At one point I started moving on my own, though I thought there was support in the background. The teacher had let me go, to explore the new ability, while proudly looking on.”
2. Learning to drive
“The very first day. No waiting around. My mom put full trust in me. As soon as I passed the written test, she told me to drive home from the motor vehicle office. I had absolutely no idea what to do. I was not prepared. I was afraid of getting into an accident.
“But it turned out okay. We practiced in an empty parking lot at first. After a few minutes of getting a hang of the vehicle, I proceeded home. My mom guided me the entire way. She was there in the background, letting me take the credit for the success.”
3. Riding a bike
“I desperately wanted to ride a bike when I was younger. It represented freedom; as much as can be offered during that period of life. The adults could drive, and I obviously wasn’t even tall enough to see over the steering wheel. With the bike, however, I could travel to different places and explore on my own.
“I’ll never forget the first time the training wheels came off. It was a kind, elderly neighbor who taught me how to ride. He let go of the bike, but I hadn’t noticed. I thought he was supporting in the background, but it was just me. In truth, he was the support the entire time, and I will never forget it.”
In the same way, Arjuna faced a terrible conundrum in the precipice to the Bharata War. There was a multitude of factors causing confusion. Uncertainty in the outcome to military conflict, the potential to inflict lethal harm to a respected teacher, and the idea of enjoying a kingdom at the cost of bloodshed.
It was so overwhelming that Arjuna dropped his weapons. He could not continue. Fortunately, his charioteer happened to also be the original spiritual master, the adi-guru. He is also the original person, adi-purusha. He is unending in His existence, ananta, and no one can trace His origins, anadi.
Though Arjuna felt incapable, he extended trust in the proper direction. He had a conversation with Krishna to make things right. He had his doubts resolved as he listened to the timeless wisdom presented by that great friend and well-wisher.
In the end, Krishna assured him that everything would work out for the best. If Arjuna adhered to his duty by keeping the Supreme Lord’s interests in mind, there would be guidance from within. The proper outcome would be reached, even if it was an unexpected one. Arjuna would work, but there would not be attachment to the results.
In the same way, a person should at least attempt spiritual life. Giving your best effort, the ultimate destination will be determined by the same guide. The charioteer to Arjuna is also our greatest well-wishing friend. He has been in that role since time immemorial, and even a little service performed in His honor goes a long way.
At first difficult and tough,
Road intimidating and rough.
How to cross it alone?
When failure thus far known.
When expert in background to guide,
Where subtly their influence to hide.
But for success full credit giving,
Like guru when in dharma living.
Categories: the three