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Who in the world do you think you are?

Who in the world do you think you are?

Great question for all of us.

To a large extent we are who we believe we are (we believe we are this body). If I think I am the president of the US, or I own the Bank of Whatever, or that I am good at math, that doesn’t make it true, yet there will be consequences for such a belief. If we feel we are stupid, or ugly or useless, that governs our life.

People are expert at arguing for their limitations, or why they will never amount to anything, or why God couldn’t possibly merciful to such a lowly creature as them. These are global beliefs, and life reciprocates with these subjective opinions we have of ourselves. And we wonder why we are stuck in a rut.

In the world of religious, psychological, and alternative health understanding, thoughts are said to be things, and greatly affect our health and success in life. Students of Bhagavad-Gita should readily understand this. There in the 8th chapter we read that what we think of at death will determine our next life. When we see any material body we are seeing the consequences of that persons attachments, thoughts, and pious or impious activities from our previous life. The Gita’s chapter 17 about faith says that we are our faith. As original Ford said, “if you think you can, or can’t, you are right”.

The whole mind body connection is finally being accepted by science and medicine, and self help authors have been teaching about the power of our thoughts on our life long before the wildly popular, “The Secret” book and DVD came out.

Chanting the pure holy name will ultimately destroy our illusory misconceptions. The first step is to understand them, not just in general, but specifically for us. That requires honest self-assessment, and being able to distinguish reality from illusion. Experience has demonstrated that this process is very difficult, because we are often attached to certain ways of thinking----this is really physical consciousness. What is called, “anartha nivritti” (retiring unwanted or useless ways of thinking and acting), is what this process is all about.

Those who come to Krishna don’t leave their mental baggage or conditioned values behind, even if they have given up all material possessions to live a surrendered life in the Temple Ashram. What is especially problematic is when our mental baggage is dysfunctional, and we dress it up in spiritual clothes and call it renunciation or even Krishna consciousness.

From another perspective, as Prabhupada said in a famous lecture, “We are not fallen”. That is maya, as we are spirit part and parcel of Krishna---that is truth.

What don’t we like about ourselves? It is our story, or our parents, or the choices we have made. But we are not those things.

Now, I have to say that we may artificially deny our physical and mental condition (which I and many devotees did) in the name of spirituality, but it is a matter of realization.

Until we are realized we do have to “Be here Now”, from a book from the American sixties. We have to understand our conditioning in the body and have a life strategy that takes this into account while we engage in Krishna bhakti.

The conclusion is that we have to become aware of our habitual ways of feeling and thinking which impede our progressive life, both materially and spiritually. Often we need help doing this, though ultimately we have to do the hard work.

"The way out is through". We have to understand what is, and use that as a springboard for our spiritual life.

combined comments


I was going to say in a previous blog that I needed to let go of the reigns and let Krishna take over but I thought it seemed incorrect and didn't post it. You just put into words to what I was peicing together slowly in my head. We are not this body. I can let go of the past and move forward with a clean slate. My old friends can just deal. I've never done anything too illeagal so i'm not worried about paying a debt to society, but morally, I've done and said some questionable things. I'm a history buff and it seems natural to look back and wonder about MY legacy. The answer is to look FORWARD and not worry about the legacy, just worry about doing the right things for Krishna. Am I closer?

* reply

Fri, 09/21/2007 - 02:46 — Karnamrita.das

Right on!!

As Thakur Bhaktivinode has said:

Forget the past that sleeps,
and 'ever the future dream at all
but act with times that are with thee
and progress thee will call.

Your friend in Krishna,