How can we balance between bhakti and studies?
Transcribed by: Geetanjali Nath
Question: How can we balance between bhakti and studies?
Answer: The first principle in maintaining balance is to know that we cannot maintain a steady balance. We expect balance to be like a formula – morning I will do this, afternoon I will do this, evening I will do this. However, life is never so certain. Adjustment or planning is required as we move on.
We need to understand that planning in life should be done more in terms of direction rather than specific action. Planning is like riding a bicycle where the balance changes every moment. When going straight the normal balance is vertical. When turning right, the balance is towards right. After turning, the balance again becomes vertical. If there is an obstacle, the balance again has to be adjusted. Similarly, life requires dynamic balance. When there is an unexpected event in life, we need to adjust accordingly.
If we keep an overall understanding, that we want to grow in our bhakti as well as in our studies, we can broadly divide our lives by allotting time for both. There will be phases in our lives when we may have to do more in one area compared to the other. For example, when we go for yatra when so many devotees come together, at that time we can focus more on spiritual activities. However, during exams we can focus more on our studies.
If we have the broad sense of direction, as to where we want to go, then we will learn when to tilt right or left. We must deliberate on our approach in the mood of goodness. Usually plans don’t work, but planning does. The difference between plan and planning is that plans are specific actions, but planning refers to an overall direction. For example, one plan can be reading Bhagavad-gita for half an hour every day and finish it in next six months. However, during exams it may not be possible. Here, we need to analyse the situation. Our primary objective was to read Bhagavad-gita but due to exams it is not possible to read daily. In such situation we may decide to make-up and read more after the exams are over.
If we have a sense of direction then even if there is an interruption we will come back on track with planning. Deviations will come along the way and to plan for them in advance is not possible because we are not god; we cannot control everything. Also, whenever there is an interruption, it will irritate us. However, when we calm down, look back, analyse, we will learn from our experience. Maybe we over reacted or we could have done something different. Through such learnings we can come more and more towards balance.
To summarize, balance is not a rigid formula. Planning is the first thing we need to keep in mind. Planning means that we need to be flexible about our actions but firm about our direction in life.