“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)
आत्मैव ह्य् आत्मनो बन्धुर्
आत्मैव रिपुर् आत्मनः
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ
1. Golfer leading by one stroke going into the final round of world famous tournament
“They kept calling them a choker. Never won the big one. So close, but never able to cross the finish line. Well, here they are again. A one shot lead going into Sunday. They are in the final pairing, poised to win the green jacket and be immortalized in the sport.”
2. Doctor preparing for bypass surgery on a patient
“Oh, just an average day at the office. Cut open a patient, shut off their internal system for a while, and then restart everything with different wiring. What could go wrong? No sweat, right? Actually, we can’t think of anything more serious. How these surgeons operate under the intense pressure is amazing.”
3. Baker preparing to make a cake for good friend’s wedding
“The bride has dreamed of this day since she was a little girl. The bakery didn’t have to bother putting out a brochure. The woman knew exactly what she wanted. From the size down to the actual ingredients, everything was laid out. Now it is up to the people in the back, in the kitchen, to make everything according to specification.”
The science of self-realization is for everyone. Man, woman, child, elderly adult, incarcerated, law-abiding, king, queen, mother, father, peasant. The applicability extends to the animal community and even plant life.
Dharma is at the individual level, who is spirit soul. The best opportunity for fulfillment of the mission to escape the cycle of birth and death is in the human birth, but the principles apply the same regardless of status.
This presents an interesting proposal, as other kinds of welfare work involve a classification of sorts. Those who are in need and those who are in a position to help. Charity is for those who are down on their luck. Philanthropy is to fill a gap in a specific place, where an important institution is lacking.
The need for realizing the self is universal. Even if someone has everything, living in a way that they shouldn’t have to worry about working or providing for family, there is still the mind to contend with. As Shri Krishna explains, the mind can be the greatest friend but also the worst enemy.
Of the above mentioned situations, a person is likely to think that the baker has the least pressure on them. After all, it is just food. People at the wedding ceremony can eat something else. The occasion will not be ruined entirely because of a mishap in the cake.
The golfer might be next in priority. They are under a ton of stress with a lead going into the final round, as they are on the tour for the purpose of winning. They are on the cusp of victory, so they are afraid of messing up and spoiling the entire venture.
If the doctor makes a mistake, it could cause instant death. Friends and family of the patient will be affected. The surgeon might be hesitant to continue forward in the profession, when other patients require the same assistance.
In truth, the pressure can be exactly the same for each situation. An outside observer might raise an objection, thinking it silly to worry over the outcome to a golf tournament, but in the moment the pressure is there. The feeling is the same; whether justified or not.
This extends to spiritual life, as well. Every person requires help in understanding who they really are, for discovering the proper direction in life, for clearing the consciousness to the point that it is no longer bewildered by the dualities of attraction and aversion. It is for this reason that saintly people travel the three worlds to deliver the message from Vaikuntha, for reconnecting with the Almighty in truth.
Travelling the worlds three,
For elevation to see.
Since everyone in need,
Of creeper of bhakti’s seed.
Because in background the mind,
Where irrational pressure can find.
The same whether high or low,
Dharma for all to know.
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