15.07 – Are we trying to live someone else’s life?

by November 25, 2012

All of us are irreducibly individual.

We all have our own distinctive looks, tastes and talents, which combine in a way that makes us unique. Our individuality is not just a function of our physical and mental conditioning, but is also a reflection of our innate spiritual nature. The Bhagavad-gita (15.07) indicates that all of us as souls are individuals, with our own unique eternal identity and special relationship with Krishna in the spiritual world.

Despite our intrinsic individuality, we often try to live someone else’s life. Here’s how.

Our culture allures us with glamorized icons such as movie stars and sport stars. Consciously or subconsciously we imitate their hair-style, way of dressing, manner of speaking and so forth. The media further goads us with ads, billboards and commercials that depict how we should look and be. The cumulative effect of these external materialistic influences is that we spend much of our life trying to be somebody else. This habit may carry over even to our spiritual life, wherein we try to become like some senior devotee whom we admire.

We may wonder, shouldn’t we have role models? Definitely we should. However, models are not for duplication, but for inspiration. We should not, need not and can not try to become the duplicates of our models. Such an attempt will be impossible because no two individuals can be identical and it will be undesirable because it will make us incapable of making our own unique contribution. Instead, we should take inspiration from the virtues of our models and integrate those qualities according to our individual nature.

By so doing, we will be able to make our best contributions for the pleasure and glorification of Krishna, our own holistic growth and our service to the world.

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