How To Avoid The Victim Mentality

[Arjuna and Krishna]“Sanjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Krishna, ‘Govinda, I shall not fight,’ and fell silent.” (Bhagavad-gita, 2.9)

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सञ्जय उवाच
एवमुक्त्वा हृषीकेशं गुडाकेशः परन्तपः ।
न योत्स्य इति गोविन्दामुक्त्वा तूष्णीं बभूव ह ॥

sañjaya uvāca
evam uktvā hṛṣīkeśaṁ
guḍākeśaḥ paran-tapaḥ
na yotsya iti govindam
uktvā tūṣṇīṁ babhūva ha

“Have you ever met someone with the victim mentality? I did not invent that term. It is quite common to hear. The idea is that a person has had something bad happen to them. It might be that someone else has told them or reminded them of an injustice.

“That person then becomes the victim. They are vocal about it. The status of victim is what identifies them. It is the basis for everything they do. They are on a mission to right the injustice. It might be that they are fighting for the cause, in general.

“As an example, take children abused within a spiritual institution. Others accept the fight. The victims might roar back with a vengeance one day. They want the leaders to be taken down. They want them to be punished for everything bad that happened.

“I am not saying these sentiments are wrong. The offenses are many. There is no denying that. I think if we thoughtfully considered the many injustices around the world, we would have sufficient justification to cry from morning until night. It would be like a period of perpetual mourning.

“I don’t think this is the best use of time, though. I know it is easy to tell someone to move on, but just deal with reality at hand. You will never get full retribution. The wrongdoings will continue. Some of these offenders are too big to fail. This means that the institution will always support them.

“Am I out of place here? I think the mob would be upset with this kind of advice. They might think I am sympathizing with the enemy. Is there anything from the Vedic tradition that we can reference as support? Is there a way to settle on the best path moving forward?”

From Bhagavad-gita we read a description of Shri Krishna smiling. This is after Arjuna has made a heartfelt plea for compassion in the manner of giving up. He wants to avoid others being victimized. Their families will suffer. Society will have to pay for the consequences. It is too much of a burden to bear.

Krishna smiled in response because what He was hearing from Arjuna sounded so ridiculous. The word anarya was used in response. Arjuna was behaving like someone who did not know the higher values of life. He was lamenting so easily over something that was not worth lamenting.

श्री भगवानुवाच
अशोच्यनन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे ।
गतासूनगतासूंश्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः ॥

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ
prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca
nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ

“The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.” (Bhagavad-gita, 2.11)

The irony of the situation was that Arjuna was truly a victim. His brothers were, as well as their mother. Queen Draupadi had been humiliated in front of an entire assembly of respected individuals. The only thing that saved her from total ruin was Krishna taking the form of her sari, ensuring that the fiends could never show her naked.

[Draupadi saved]Arjuna had every right to walk around and demand justice. He could have accused every person siding with the Kauravas of enabling the bad behavior. He could have incited a mob to ruin the lives of Duryodhana and clan.

Just see Arjuna’s saintly nature. He essentially forgave and forgot. He did not hold on to the memories of those insults. There was lethal harm inflicted. Arjuna and family had to desperately flee a house after it was intentionally set on fire. They were made to live in exile for many years, devoid of honor and recognition.

Arjuna’s plight was not worth excessive lamentation and the same was true of the potential victims of the war’s outcome. Arjuna was ready to quit on the battlefield. As time had arranged for the proper resolution, Arjuna would be but an instrument in that master plan.

तस्मात् त्वम् उत्तिष्ठ यशो लभस्व
जित्वा शत्रून् भुङ्क्ष्व राज्यं समृद्धम्
मयैवैते निहताः पूर्वम् एव
निमित्त-मात्रं भव सव्य-साचिन्

tasmāt tvam uttiṣṭha yaśo labhasva
jitvā śatrūn bhuṅkṣva rājyaṁ samṛddham
mayaivaite nihatāḥ pūrvam eva
nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savya-sācin

“Therefore get up and prepare to fight. After conquering your enemies you will enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They are already put to death by My arrangement, and you, O Savyasachin, can be but an instrument in the fight.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.33)

The sober minded person acknowledges the many wrongs committed, but they do not let anything prevent the march forward in the path to liberation. There is a reason the material world is called maya. It has illusion at every step. The illusion has many sides. On one it leads to elation when there isn’t sufficient cause.

तेषाम् एवानुकम्पार्थम्
अहम् अज्ञान-जं तमः
नाशयाम्य् आत्म-भाव-स्थो
ज्ञान-दीपेन भास्वता

teṣām evānukampārtham
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva-stho
jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā

“Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.11)

[Arjuna and Krishna]On another side it creates images worthy of excessive lamentation. Those who succumb to the illusion play right into the hands of the material world, whose only guarantee is death. Whereas the person siding with Krishna can see properly. If they happen to fall victim to such illusion on occasion, Krishna shines the light of knowledge again for them, to see the proper way.

In Closing:

With victims too many to count,
With each lamentation to mount.

Allowed to happen why?
For retribution to try.

Arjuna’s behavior just see,
As most forgiving to be.

Krishna the mind correctly setting,
Where ultimate aim not forgetting.

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1 reply

  1. Radhe Radhe ❣️ oshriRadhekrishnaBole ❣️ Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Jay Jay Shree Siya Ram

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