18.57 – Fighting vices is like fighting weeds: we are always slightly behind

by February 15, 2013

In gardening, each time we pluck weeds out, they grow again; in fighting them we are always slightly behind.

The same applies to the garden of the heart. All of us want to be good persons. Gita wisdom offers us a delightful surprise: we are actually good persons. How? The real person within the body is the soul. And the soul being a part of God has all godly qualities. However, in most of us, those qualities are presently choked and covered by the weeds of vices, of impure and immoral material desires. So the entire project of becoming good is like a gardening project: cultivating the saplings of virtues and removing the weeds of vices.

Weeds are constantly being sown in our heart by the provocations created by the rampant materialism of our culture and the stimulation of the memories of our past indulgences. That’s why, though we are pure at our core, though we may have led largely pure lives, though we may have practiced purificatory disciplines for a long time, it’s dangerous to assume that we are already pure. Because new weeds are being sown constantly, it’s safer to assume we are always behind in the work of purification. This assumption will inspire us to be always diligent in cultivating virtues.

Such diligence may seem burdensome. But it won’t be if we adopt the purificatory process of bhakti-yoga. In this process, the same activity that removes the weeds of vice also waters the plants of virtue. That activity is remembrance of Krishna who is all-pure and all-purifying. Remembering Krishna far from being tiring is fulfilling. And it becomes more and more fulfilling as our devotion to him increases. Thus it is that the Bhagavad-gita (18.57) urges us to constantly remember Krishna.


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