“In dreams we sometimes enjoy eating sweet rice and sometimes suffer as if one of our beloved family members had died. Because the same mind and body exist in the same material world of duality when we are awake, the so-called happiness and distress of this world are no better than the false, superficial happiness of dreams. The mind is the via medium in both dreams and wakefulness, and everything created by the mind in terms of sankalpa and vikalpa, acceptance and rejection, is called manodharma, or mental concoction.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 6.17.30 Purport)
“I need a new job. Not that I mind the current place of employment, but you can never be too careful. The stress of returning to the office under these difficult times is too much of a transition to tolerate. We have been working remotely for the better part of two years without issue. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
“I will look for something new. A better opportunity that aligns with my skillset. Though I tend to get comfortable once settling into a new place, I am not averse to risk. I can accept new challenges with enthusiasm. If a new opportunity opens up, with better benefits and compensation, I will have to give it some serious thought.”
“I really miss my old job. The culture was great. The colleagues were fantastic. The upper management more or less left you alone. They put me in positions to succeed. They understood what I did best and assigned me those tasks.
“This new place is terrible. I can barely understand my manager. I need to coordinate with several different business groups to complete a simple task. Then they are on me about everything, wondering why stuff is delayed. Hello? You people are the reason! You are standing in my way.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada uses the Sanskrit words sankalpa and vikalpa to address the above mentioned situation. Though the mind is a subtle element of nature, separate and apart from the individual, who is spirit soul, it seems that the mind has full control.
भूमिर् आपो ऽनलो वायुः
खं मनो बुद्धिर् एव च
अहङ्कार इतीयं मे
भिन्ना प्रकृतिर् अष्टधा
bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.4)
The mind first creates a scheme. It reaches a decision to do something. Action then follows. There are consequences to action. Even if everything turns out favorably, there is another scheme that pops up.
Eventually, things won’t go well. Then the same mind devises an exit strategy. Find a way out of the unfavorable circumstance. Though the mind is the sole cause for the issue, it does not lay blame on itself.
The individual can spend an entire lifetime toggling between these two conditions. The mind will devise endless schemes, to match the ever-changing nature of the world. Nothing ever stays the same, as the individual has passed from boyhood to youth to old age, eventually departing at death.
देहिनो ऽस्मिन् यथा देहे
कौमारं यौवनं जरा
धीरस् तत्र न मुह्यति
dehino ‘smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)
The superior way is to follow a path that never has to be rejected. Decide on something and do it as a matter of duty and honor. Even if the work is difficult, if it goes against the plans of the mind, continue forward regardless. Allow a higher authority to determine the outcome.
कर्मण्य् एवाधिकारस् ते
मा फलेषु कदाचन
मा कर्म-फल-हेतुर् भूर्
मा ते सङ्गो ऽस्त्व् अकर्मणि
karmaṇy evādhikāras te
mā phaleṣu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te saṅgo ‘stv akarmaṇi
“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.47)
This was the position of Arjuna of Bhagavad-gita fame. First, he made the decision to proceed in a war. Then, just as things were about to start, he rejected the idea. Shri Krishna set him straight. The path of dharma aligned with Krishna’s interests. The individual pieces would fall where they may. Arjuna was not responsible.
That path continues into future lives. Krishna’s interest is the direction of the Supreme Consciousness. This is higher than individual mind, as it witnesses everything taking place in every corner of every universe. Once I choose in favor of Krishna consciousness, I never have to reject it. It is like the greatest wish-fulfilling tree, providing endless happiness and bliss in the course of renewing enthusiasm.
Not ever bitterly eschewing,
Cause with enthusiasm renewing.
Since direction a higher authority making,
Who my interests never forsaking.
Where everything by Him faced,
Servants in proper arrangement placed.
Otherwise lied and cheated by mind,
One difficulty after another to find.
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