15.15: Block out the Blackout

by Chaitanya Charan dasApril 28, 2012

Many of us often make resolutions for living according to principles of moral and spiritual integrity, but during times of temptation, our impulses ambush us. At the critical moment when our impulses start the ambush, our memory of our resolutions frequently suffers a temporary but total blackout. In the ensuing bewilderment, our impulses complete the ambush and goad us into actions that we regret later. 

What is the cause of this exasperating memory blackout?

The Bhagavad-gita (15.15) states intriguingly that Krishna, who resides in our heart as our constant companion, is the source of remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.

If Krishna is the source of forgetfulness, then is he responsible for our memory blackout?

To comprehend the correct answer to this question, we need to first grasp an underlying dynamic principle: Krishna’s sensitivity and reciprocity to our mentality. To see how this principle works, let’s analyze the three components mentioned in the intriguing Gita verse:

1.      Knowledge: Krishna gives us knowledge externally through our spiritual mentors and through the sacred scriptures. The knowledge referred to here is primarily about the choices and consequences of the two essential tracks available for our life’s train: the track of principle-driven living or the track of impulse-driven living.

2.      Remembrance: When we genuinely and deeply desire to live on the principle track, then during moments of temptation Krishna gives us memory of our resolutions and helps us fight off the impulses.

3.      Forgetfulness: When we still maintain residual desires for life on the impulse track, then during moments of temptation, Krishna facilitates our journey on that track by giving us a memory blackout.

Thus it is not Krishna, but our desire, that causes the blackout; Krishna merely facilitates our desire. The very fact that we suffer from a blackout at the time of temptation indicates that our resolve to switch to the principle track is not deep enough; it is lip-deep rather than heart-deep.

There is, however, no need to be disheartened. All that we need to do is genuinely internalize our resolve and say an unhesitant “No” to the impulse track and a wholehearted “Yes” to the principle track.

When we thus block out the impulse path from our internal options list, we will be pleasantly surprised and immensely relieved to see how swiftly and efficiently Krishna reciprocates – not just by ending the blackouts, but also by giving us memories of the precise insights necessary to counter and conquer the impulses.

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Chaitanya Charan das

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