13.08-12: Information is not enough in formation of character

by May 23, 2012

Most of us have probably seen normal, sensible people sometimes suddenly act abnormally and insensibly. They know well the harms of what they are doing – or at least they knew it before they did it and they knew it after they did it. Yet they did it. Why?

Gita wisdom helps us understand that our actions are determined not just by the information that we carry in our heads, but by the character that we cultivate in our hearts. The Bhagavad-gita (13.8-12) describes knowledge in telling terms: not as the information that comprise our knowledge base, but as the qualities that comprise our character base.

Gita wisdom aids us in forming and reforming our character by showing us the fastest expressway to developing virtuous qualities. By our own individual, determined efforts, we may be able to develop some virtues. Be we will get quicker and better results if we complement those efforts with a parallel effort to connect with Krishna, the embodiment of all qualities in their fullest and best manifestation.

The easiest way to connect with Krishna is through mantra meditation. Far from being a mere ritual utterance of some sound, mantra meditation is subtle and sophisticated science that uses sacred sound as a bridge to link us with Krishna. When we focus our consciousness on Krishna’s holy names, we pave the way for him to manifest in our heart. Krishna’s manifestation in our hearts dissipates all negative, self-destructive traits, just as the sun’s rising dissipates darkness. This devotional illumination not only protects us from our self-defeating impulses, but also empowers us to become channels for Krishna to share the same protection with others.

Being able to help ourselves and help others in the best way: isn’t that the essence of character?


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