06.24 – Are we placing in the treasury that which belongs to the dustbin?

by January 10, 2013

We regularly clean our home because dirt particles inevitably come in from somewhere. When we find such dirt, first we check if it is coming from any specific source – an open window – that can be closed. Second and more important, we throw the dirt into the dustbin.

Unfortunately, we usually don’t bother to clean our inner home, our mind. Mental dirt comprise unworthy thoughts, deplorable desires and evil schemes. When such ideas come in from somewhere, we unwittingly dwell on them, even fantasize about them.

Such contemplation can be dangerous because unlike physical dirt, mental dirt has size-changing abilities. It feeds on our attention and grows to imposing proportions, thereby making us give it undue importance. Metaphorically speaking, we place it in our mental treasury.

From this privileged place, mental dirt influences us deviously. In moments of inner weakness and outer temptation, we may act out an ugly idea. Even if we don’t, the awareness that we entertain such an idea may deplete our moral self-esteem, Even if we don’t feel morally stained, still the very presence of mental dirt will subtly corrupt us.

To avoid all such contaminating influences, the Bhagavad-gita (06.24) urges us to do regular mental housekeeping by abandoning unwholesome desires without exception. We can adapt the two standard steps of physical housekeeping for mental dirt as follows:

  1. Did I see or hear or read something that generated this dirt? If yes, then let me henceforth avoid it as much as possible.
  2. Let me firmly and swiftly sweep this dirt out of my mind; let me give it no more thought but instead focus on my important and worthy goals.

This simple and sensible approach can protect us from the blunder of treasuring that which deserves to be trashed.


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