16.13-14 – Our convictions are far more important than our possessions
The world defines us by our possessions – what we wear, where we stay, what we drive in, for example.
However, these things are external to us, peripheral to our essential identity – unless of course we let them define our conception of ourselves. Such possession-based self-definition is unstable because worldly things come and go, often due to factors entirely beyond our control. This instability can push some people to such extremes that they throw aside everything else just to grab more money. The Bhagavad-gita (16.13-14) indicates that ungodly people being obsessed with money become ready to maim, even murder, to boost their self-image.
Such perverse extremes may be foreign to us, but the underlying need for a respectable self-conception isn’t. Gita wisdom provides a stable foundation for our self-conception: the knowledge that we are spirit souls. When we understand that we are not even our body, leave alone things connected with it, we can stay undisturbed even when we lose worldly possessions.
The truth that we are souls is an unchanging reality, our conviction in that truth isn’t. Convictions rooted in scriptural truth may come to us only after years, decades, even lifetimes of searching. And they may go away in much shorter time if we don’t preserve them by regular scriptural study among those who share our convictions. As compared to the damage due to lost possessions, the damage due to lost convictions can be far more pervasive and persistent.
That’s why our scripture-based convictions are as important as our possessions. In fact, they are our most important possessions. Protecting and increasing our convictions deserves as much of our time, thought and effort as does protecting our possessions, if not more. After all, the returns from investing in our convictions last far longer – for all of eternity.