02.71 – Fight the inner war that counters the outer war
“Spiritual life is a war.”
As we live in a world torn by violence, the war metaphor for spiritual life can seem alarming, even alienating: “I have come to spirituality for gaining peace, not starting another war.”
Gita wisdom reassures us that the war in spiritual life is of an entirely different kind. It’s an inner war, a war against our lower nature. People who don’t fight this war succumb to selfishness, lust, greed, arrogance and anger. They exploit others recklessly and ruthlessly, thereby fuelling conflicts and wars.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (02.71) indicates that we can attain peace only after we conquer our lower desires and thus win the inner war.
Winning the inner war requires us to rise to spiritual consciousness, where we gain two precious realizations that counter the outer war. Firstly, we discover that real happiness comes not by material possession but by spiritual devotion for Krishna. Secondly, we see all living beings as our family members in Krishna’s family.
Every time we win the inner war by beating down our lower nature, we help herald peace not just in our own life but also in the world at large.
How in the world?
By setting an example for others to similarly fight their lower natures, become better human beings and thus contribute towards making a better world.
No doubt, some outer wars will still be essential for controlling those who are not ready to control themselves. Nonetheless, many outer conflicts can be minimized even averted if people feel inspired to resist their lower nature – as they will when they see more examples of individuals winning their inner wars.
The opportunity to thus inspire them beckons each one of us whenever we fight our inner wars.
A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego—he alone can attain real peace.