05.25 – Are we like doctors who give medicines to everyone except themselves?

by December 7, 2012

Doctors going to epidemic-struck areas are extremely careful to vaccinate themselves from the disease they intend to treat.
Gita wisdom informs us that the entire material existence is an epidemic-struck zone. All of us are afflicted by the epidemic of bodily misidentification and the attendant infection by material desires. These desires make us restless and dissatisfied, thereby stripping away our ease or making us dis-eased. To cure ourselves, we need to assimilate knowledge of our real identity as souls and revive our devotional relationship with Krishna.
When we experience a bit of the healing potency of Gita wisdom, we sometimes become enthusiastic to share it with others. This enthusiasm is laudable; it is like the enthusiasm of a patient who while being cured of a chronic disease wants to, like a doctor, share that treatment with others suffering from the same disease.
However, our enthusiasm may make us foolhardy if it distracts us from taking the medicine of Krishna consciousness ourselves. One of the most insidious ways that we may get distracted is by succumbing to moral self-righteousness. We may condemn the widespread immorality among people while delighting subconsciously or consciously in our moral superiority over them. As pride is also a material desire, when we become proud, we essentially get infected by the same epidemic that we intended to cure.
We can free ourselves from misleading moral pride and other such distractions by reminding ourselves of our constant vulnerability to the epidemic. By meditating on the disease metaphor, we can strive for a safe and sustainable balance between inner administration and outer propagation of the medicine. The Bhagavad-gita (05.25) points us to this balance by underscoring that those desiring liberation need to both purify themselves internally (kshina-kalmashah) and assist others externally (sarva bhuta hite ratah).

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