16.24 – End the tradition of abuse with the tradition of love
We are all shaped by our experiences. The way people deal with us, especially during our formative years, becomes our standard reference, conscious or subconscious, for how we deal with others later in our life.
Unfortunately, this is how abuse becomes a tradition. Ragging in college hostels is a tragic example. Those who are at the receiving end of ragging in their first year in college switch ends in later years and forcibly place newcomers at the receiving end. Children raised by abusive parents often become abusive parents themselves.
Thankfully, such traditions of abuse are breakable. We cannot undo the experiences that we have had, nor can we easily erase the scars that they have left. But we can prevent those experiences from determining our behavior. No matter how bitter our past experiences, they can never take away our free will. And that free will gives us the power to break free from the limiting influence of our experiences.
Scripture empowers our free will by pointing us towards alternative superior references for standard behavior. It provides models of selfless individuals for inspiration and maps of timeless principles for direction. The Bhagavad-gita (16.24) urges us to let eternal scriptural principles determine our behavior – not contextual personal experiences.
We can best live scripture by choosing to belong to a community that has made scripture its guidebook. That gives us access to a living tradition of love centered on Krishna’s supreme love. The more this tradition of love finds a place in our heart, the more the tradition of abuse gets exiled from there. Then instead of passing on our scars to others, we pass on the love of Krishna, thereby becoming radiators of happiness wherever we go.
What better legacy can we create?
One should therefore understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.