Ajamila knew scripture – yet he fell down. Why?
Transcribed by: Geetanjali Nath
Question: Ajamila knew scripture – yet he fell down. Why?
If we consider our past karma, sometimes certain situations come in our life when we may meet with an accident, lose our job, lose our health etc. When reactions come at the physical level we can understand law of karma easily. “I didn’t do anything. I was driving safely but a drunk driver hit me.” When something physical like this happens, we can understand that it is our karma coming to us.
However, karma can also hit at the mental level. For example, we may go through phases in our life when certain desires, e.g. lust or anger, may become very strong. This means that our past conditionings are strong. Conditioning means accumulated inclination that is formed by our past actions. For example, if a person drinks repeatedly, the conditioning manifest in the form of strong urge or inclination to drink. Such inclination or conditioning is also a form of karmic reaction.
Our karmic reactions can come back to us in two ways. One is at the physical level and another at the mental level. Just like the physical, we can also understand karmic reactions at a mental level. For example, when a person is angry with us, probably it is because we have acted angrily to them in the past. Sometime, we face disproportionate anger for a very small mistake. Sometimes we can correlate such instances with some incidence in our present life but sometime time we cannot correlate it at all. We cannot correlate why some person has such an agenda to destroy us. Sometimes, we just cannot comprehend. At such times, we must understand that it is our karma.
Similarly, sometimes suddenly desires pop up within us. Sometimes we can correlate such desires with some action in the past. Maybe we watched something or maybe we did something, that is why such a desire is coming. However, sometimes we are not able to correlate at all; the desire just comes. We all go through phases in our lives when suddenly the desires, the cravings, the vasanaas just increase. Those are the times when we are vulnerable and if we have good association we can overcome such instances.
Due to our karma we may be vulnerable to certain desires but when these are coupled with external provocation, we become even more vulnerable. Normally if somebody behaves rudely with us we just tolerate or neglect. However, when many things have gone wrong and then on top of it somebody behaves rude, we explode. Unfortunately, a person behaved rudely at a time when we are also feeling low. At such times, we should stop ourselves and not talk about it. We should understand that we are little irritable, little weak, and somebody is bringing something provocative, let us not talk about it. The other person may also understand and may agree to talk about it later. However, if they insist, then it may become difficult.
Our past karma, our internal disposition and our external situation, these may conspire to catch us at our very weak moment. That is how good people may also do bad things. One such lapse is understandable, but in case of Ajamila, it was not just one lapse. He once saw a woman embracing a man and got agitated. He may not be able to avoid that agitation and the desire may also have become so strong that he may want to go and associate with the woman. However, what he did was much worse. He rejected his chaste wife and parents. He started giving up all brahmanical activities. He started to rob and kill. When he would have started doing all this, obviously the other brahmanas would have counselled him. At that time, he could have stopped.
The first mistake maybe circumstantial but if do it second time or third time, we cannot call those mistakes circumstantial. At some point, the circumstantial becomes intentional. Circumstances do not make the wrong right. Wrong is still wrong. However, circumstances make the wrong understandable. It is one thing to make one mistake. However, if we let that one mistake lead to the second or third mistake, we cannot blame such mistakes on circumstances.
Sometimes our mind becomes so strong that it overpowers our intelligence. It makes us do wrong things. Srila Prabhupada says in the purport of the sixth chapter of Bhagavad-gita that sometimes the disease is so malevolent that it overcomes the medicine. Mind’s desires are like a disease and intelligence is like a medicine. The mind may overpower the intelligence at times but after some time the intelligence does recover. At such times, if we have been studying scriptures, associating with devotees and do have some trustworthy devotees close to us, we can take their help to evaluate our mind.
Generally, we evaluate everybody through the filter of our mind, but if we have someone whom we can trust, we can evaluate our mind through them. Our mind maybe saying something is right but they may say the other thing is right. This is also the meaning of close association i.e. when we reveal our mind in confidence to others. Close association does not mean doing dance or kirtan together. Close association means that we will let some other person come as close to us as our mind. The first mistake maybe circumstantial, but if we have good association, culture, or habits, the intelligence will awaken soon. Such awakened intelligence will ensure that the first mistake does not lead to a series of mistakes.