12.19 – Belonging that leads to blissful being
Our actions are frequently molded by others’ opinion, especially by the opinion of the social circle we wish to belong to.
As we are social beings, our desire for belonging is sound. But our decision about which social circle to belong to is not always so sound. Often we don’t realize that this decision is momentous: it will determine our character and even our destiny. Most social circles today consider sin to be cool and virtue to be prudish. To belong to such circles, we have to do things that weaken, even ruin, the ethical and spiritual fabric of our very being. Such belonging ends only in misery.
That’s why we need to base our decisions not on superficial considerations like popularity and visibility but substantial considerations like principles and values. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (12.19) urges us to not let worldly praise and criticism shape our decisions. Gita wisdom guides us to a basis for our decision-making that goes deep into our very being: our spiritual essence and its dormant potential for universal love.
We are all souls who belong to Krishna’s world of eternal love. By connecting with him through loving devotion, we become channels of his compassion in this world, doing the highest good for others. When we center ourselves on the process of bhakti-yoga that brings out our essence, we gain a sound and timeless basis for our decision-making. Though our decisions may be sometimes praised and sometimes derided, we can take both in our stride without undue agitation. Why? Because we know that we belong to something far greater than worldly social circles: the spiritual circle of Krishna’s love. In the circle of those who love Krishna, belonging leads to blissful being – our decisions help us grow spiritually towards a state of eternal, enlightened, ecstatic being.