18.76 – Are our thoughts impoverishing or enriching us?
Few things live as close to us as our thoughts; few things influence us as immediately as our thoughts; few things define us as much as our thoughts.
Yet we rarely examine the quality of our thoughts; we hardly endeavor to improve them; we scarcely recognize that they need improvement.
Our thoughts usually dwell on enjoyable worldly objects. However, all our rendezvous with various worldly objects unavoidable meets one of these three fates:
- Not attainable (e.g. the highest paying job in town) or
- Attainable but not enjoyable (e.g. the job necessitates working with a tyrannical boss), or
- Enjoyable but not retainable (e.g. the job ends with retrenchment or retirement).
When our thoughts are monopolized by worldly objects, we feel restless, cheerless, helpless – in one word, impoverished.
That’s why Gita wisdom cautions us against letting worldly objects dominate our thoughts. It recommends that we give worldly responsibilities the necessary thought and time. At the same time, it insistently and persistently urges us to stop evading the only responsibility that can make our thoughts enriching: the responsibility of practicing devotional service and awakening our devotion for Krishna, who is the reservoir of unending inner enrichment. To access this enrichment, we need to think of Krishna with a devotional heart – not a skeptical head. Our heart becomes devotional when we practice devotional service responsibly. Then thinking about Krishna becomes increasingly habitual, natural and relishable; soon, our thoughts start enriching us constantly, as happened to Sanjay at the end of the Gita (18.76).
This inner enrichment not only makes us happy in the present but also offers as a side benefit an enhanced ability to shoulder worldly responsibilities maturely and as the main benefit an accelerated journey to the eternal abode of Krishna.