How can we stay in the mode of goodness?
Transcription by– Keshavgopal Das & Ambuj Gupta
Question: How can we try to always be in the mode of goodness?
Answer: It will vary from person to person what specific measures to take but in general we have to find out what are the factors that take our consciousness upwards, towards goodness and Krishna transcendence and what are the things that take our consciousness downwards towards passion and ignorance and accordingly maximize the first and minimize the second.
For example, if exposure to certain sites or having to many too many things to do that drags our consciousness towards passion then we cannot avoid in having lot of things to do but we can try to schedule some things. Broadly speaking if for example, we know that sleeping in the day time puts us in the mode of ignorance then we can try to find out how we can avoid that, may be by taking more rest at night or may be ensuring that we only take short naps, or whatever.
Now more important than avoiding the negative is affirming the positive. That means the mind is always going to be like a sine wave for a conceivable future because the mind has the tendency to oscillate. The important thing is we have to find out what keeps us sustained. That means when mind starts going down to the lower modes then what can we do to bring ourselves back. For example, short breaks where in we hear some favorite kitrans, sing some bhajans, or repeat some prayers, or even read some favorite passages from scripture. Those are things which can help pull our consciousness upwards.
Basically we can compare this to gravity. We know that gravity pulls us down but if there are something which holding us up, there certain support, certain props by which we can hold us up than by holding on to that we will move up. So we have to find out what are the things that hold us up or what are things by holding which we can pull ourselves upwards.
If we observe our own spiritual life we will find that these are the things which bring my consciousness back up. Off course this is not mechanical, it is not that every time we do our activity immediately our consciousness will move upwards but this is broad principle, sometimes it’s like a war. Sometimes in a war one particular weapon doesn’t work than we try our second weapon or third weapon. We try till something works and then we start winning.
So because the mind is like a child and it is sometimes unpredictable in the sense that sometimes the same activity may be relishable or sometimes it may not be relishable. But overall the mind follows patterns. When we observe the mind carefully than from that we learn what is the best way to deal with it.
I wrote article called “Look at the mind before you look with the mind”. That means when we start feeling like doing certain things and if we broadly know that these activities are not favorable to devotion and instead of doing it immediately we sort of create a mechanism for pausing ourselves. Look at it. Does it make sense? No. why I am doing? What should I do then? Then we find out certain activities which will help us to check ourselves. Praying to Krishna off course is very helpful. But one problem that comes up is that when have been dragged by the lower modes sometimes we not feel praying to Krishna also. Therefore sometimes our intellectual motivation which helps us to see why the lower modes are dangerous and why we need to keep ourselves in goodness and above that can, having some scriptural passages, some contemplation capsules which remind us of the philosophical truths, they are helpful.
But overall anukulasya sankalpa, pratikulasya varjanam accepting the things which keep our consciousness upwards and knowing and minimizing if not rejecting the thing that take our consciousness downwards- this is the broad pattern or principle of what we need to do to come towards goodness. Gradually, even if we find that we not able to come to goodness right now and whatever level we are, we keep practicing bhakti. Bhagavatam describes that by the steady practice of bhakti rajas tamobhavah the influence of modes of passion ignorance will subside and then sthitam sattve prasidati (SB 1.2.19) we come to the mode of goodness where we will become cheerful and joyful. Thank you.