03.36: When our impulses hold our values hostage…

by Chaitanya Charan dasMarch 9, 2012

All of us have experience of times when our impulses overpower our values and goad us into actions that we regret later. How do our impulses become so brutally strong? This, in fact, is the question that Arjuna asks Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita (3.36).
Gita wisdom points to the root cause of this conflict between impulses and values that characterizes our human condition. We are spiritual beings presently living in material bodies. As spiritual beings, we are naturally motivated by sublime values, with the supreme value being selfless love – love for God and all his children. However, our material bodies, geared as they are for self-preservation, make us prone to self-centered impulses, with the prominent selfish impulse being lust followed closely on the heels by greed and anger.
Thus the conflict between values and impulses in our heart originates in a conflict between the two dimensions of our present existence: the selfless spiritual core and the selfish material shell. Our contemporary culture, by its incessant glamorization of selfish materialism, fuels and fans our material side, thereby making our impulses far stronger than our values.
That’s why, if we wish to prevent our values from being held hostage, or worse still, being slaughtered, by our impulses, we need to connect with a culture that arouses, nourishes and reinforces our values. The Krishna-centered devotional culture with its focus on spiritual sound serves precisely this purpose. Seen in this light, participating in this devotional culture no longer appears a burdensome religious obligation, but is recognized as a profound and powerful tool for our vital self-development.

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan das
3 Comments
  • administrator
    March 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    (Submitted by email)

    Hare Krishna!!!
    Amazing Article.

    • Sanjay
      March 12, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you Prabhu for this very nice write up. In one of our classes it was explained that demons (or demonic propensities) reside in different planets during Saya-yuga; on the same planet/s during Treta-yuga; in the same families during Dwapara-yuga and in the same body (same person) during Kali-yuga.

      I find this quite fascinating and helped me understand couple of points:
      1. We can realize this within ourselves with some honest self-introspection.
      2. This may also be one of the reasons why Lord Caitanya did not kill the demons in this age but gave the process whereby the demonic propensities are slowly diminished and annihilated.

      Thank you again Prabhu for this wonderful article.

      Your servant
      Sanjay

      • Chaitanya Charan das
        March 18, 2012 at 7:18 am

        Dear Sanjay Prabhu,
        thank you for your comment. The idea that demons have different locations in different ages has serious problems, as mentioned below.

        Firstly, it is not to be found in any of Srila Prabhupada’s books or any of the other known scriptures.
        It obviously has logical and scriptural problematic implications:
        1. That demons no longer have any of their own lokas in Kali yuga
        2. That demons didn’t have a presence in the heart in Satya-yuga. This presence is a metaphorical reference to the propensities that they personify, so they may have been present much lesser in earlier ages but to say that they had no presence in the heart seems an overstatement.

        Overall, this statement seems like a naive overdramatisation that mixes the literal and metaphorical understandings.

        Pl see an elaborate audio answer here: http://www.thespiritualscientist.com/?p=3387

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