“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)
1. I will get another job
“The current place is not good. The pay and benefits are at a high level, but the daily experience is becoming too stressful. The manager is indecisive, and the same behavior follows as you go further up the chain of command.
“I will start studying every day, to freshen up my technical skills. When I go on job interviews, I will have to present the best version of myself. I will need to impress the people asking me questions. I will conduct some mock interviews to see how I answer the most common questions presented.”
2. I will move to a different state
“This situation is getting ridiculous. I would like some peace and quiet. I would like it if our government stopped harassing us for a few months. Is that too much to ask? One day after the next, it is like the people in charge are intent on destroying the country.
“Maybe I should move to a place that has a better local situation, where I can actually send my children to school without fear of some crazy person teaching them perverted ideas. I would like to settle down in an area that does not keep the people locked at home for no reason.”
3. I will hire someone to teach at home
“Every day you see something new. A teacher was exposed for teaching adult material to children. Maybe they tried to secretly get them to ask for chemical castration. There is sickness and debauchery everywhere.
“Perhaps the best thing is to find a teacher to come to the home. This is certainly not the most economical decision, but what other choice do diligent parents have? We can’t rely on the state to protect our kids anymore.”
4. I will cut down on intoxicants
“The addiction to intoxication is too much. I know better. The scientific studies are clear in their conclusion. What I am taking on a daily basis is not good for me. But for some reason I can’t help it. It is like I am drawn to this stuff, where I am pulled into it like a magnet.
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
“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)
“Starting tomorrow, I will cut down. I would like to eliminate the addiction altogether, but I know that is a tall order. Rather than become overwhelmed by the task, I will start small.”
5. I will exercise more
“Getting up there in years, the bodily metrics become more important. Rather than rely on prescription medication for the rest of my life, I think I can reverse or at least prevent some of these chronic conditions through diet and exercise. It is time I took back control of my health.”
As much time as there is, the mind will continue to make schemes, and each of those schemes will have the two opposite extremes: acceptance and rejection. The schemes I made from one year ago no longer apply, but their effect is still visible.
That is to say, I missed an opportunity for transcendence. I likely continued to stay mired in the ocean of nescience. I remain convinced that through my personal effort, with enough use of the mind, I can find a situation of permanent happiness.
The ideal example of study from Vedic literature is Bhagavad-gita, wherein an otherwise sober and rational person decides to temporarily listen to the ways of the mind. While previously having decided, sankalpa, to proceed in a war to protect dharma, they suddenly abandon, vikalpa, that idea.
Fortunately for Arjuna, the best teacher is close by. He does not need to do an online search for someone who will give advice. It will not cost him an arm and a leg to reach out to the preeminent authority in the field.
Shri Krishna is there already, having just left the role of charioteer. Krishna will return to that role once the counselling session is complete. The conclusion is that Arjuna will follow the guidance of the Supreme Consciousness, which is above the swaying of sankalpa and vikalpa.
This decision has relevance to me and everyone else. It is Krishna’s guidance which is needed in life. Then the mind’s influence will be limited. Every decision, whether to enter or exit, will be based on the highest interest possible, dharma.
The best part of following dharma, in the authorized way, is that the specific results to decisions do not necessarily matter. Whether Arjuna succeeded in the war or not, he had protection from every outcome. He was linked with the Supreme Consciousness, and so he was never in danger.
As many schemes to find,
Through passage of time.
Produced by the mind,
But always lagging behind.
Because transcendence not found,
To same cycle bound.
Better to follow a different way,
Trust in words of Krishna to say.
Categories: the five