If the truth makes us flee, it can’t make us free

Suppose we have diabetes, have eaten too many sweets and are facing a major health crisis. To be cured, we need to accept the unpalatable truth that we can’t eat sweets, that doing so will only hurt us. If we flee from this truth, we sentence ourselves to repeated and aggravated suffering. But if we accept this truth and take the treatment diligently, we can free ourselves from much unnecessary distress.

In the Bhagavad-gita, when Arjuna asks what makes us act self-destructively (03.36), Krishna identifies our own desire for sensual indulgence as the culprits (03.37). If we are to liberate ourselves from self-destructive behavior, we have to begin by acknowledging our vulnerability and gullibility. We are vulnerable to being lied to by our lower desires which promise pleasure through sensual indulgence but deliver only disappointment and distress (05.22). And we are gullible because despite having repeatedly experienced the emptiness of their promises, we tend to believe them when they make a similar promise next time. Normally, we like to think of ourselves as strong and smart; so, acknowledging that we are the opposite is unbearably unpalatable. But if we flee from this truth about ourselves, we stay bound.

Thankfully, the Gita also provides us the process to become determined and discerning, that is, strong and smart. That process is bhakti-yoga, which helps us connect lovingly with our eternal Lord, Krishna, who is the reservoir of unlimited happiness. If we practice bhakti-yoga steadily, the resulting absorption in Krishna provides us the supreme joy. When we thus discern what is real happiness and become determined to pursue it, we break free – free from worldly desires, free to relish unending spiritual joy.

Therefore, accepting the truth about our weaknesses that seems initially like poison eventually turns out to be like nect


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