02.03 – What we do reflects on what we do

by September 1, 2012

“What we do” can refer to our specific behavior as well as to our general vocation. What we do in our specific behavior reflects on what we do in our general vocation. For example, if a doctor exploits a patient, that individual behavior reflects adversely on the whole medical profession.

This principle that our behavior reflects on our vocation is a consistent theme of the Gita. But as its message evolves, it deepens our understanding of our actual vocation and it also refines our reasons for harmonizing our behavior with that vocation.

At its start, the Gita recognizes that most of us conceive of our vocation materially, as determined by our social position, and that we behave in ways that enhance, or at least preserve, our public image. Accordingly, it (2.3) urges its original student Arjuna to avoid unbecoming cowardly behavior (naitat tvayy upapadyate).

At its summit, the Gita helps us recognize that we are all souls, who are by our spiritual nature devotees of Krishna. It also inspires us to behave in devotionally respectable ways by helping us understand that such behavior simultaneously enhances our own spiritual happiness internally and honors the dignity of all that we represent externally.

Let’s see how this happens.

When we adopt the path of devotion, we become its representatives in the eyes of the world. Consequently, our behavior becomes the barometer by which people judge the path of devotion. Thus, their devotional prospects largely hinge on our behavior.

If we accept this grave responsibility and behave properly, our inner life becomes rich because Krishna being pleased by our responsible conduct reveals himself more endearingly to us.

Thus do our external and internal harmoniously fuel our swift return to Krishna.



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