Thursday, December 27, 2012
understand your personality
Verse 1.5: dhṛṣṭaketuś cekitānaḥ kāśirājaś ca vīryavān purujit kuntibhojaś ca śaibyaś ca nara-puńgavaḥ
Ever been asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I have. Several times. And as one who really didn't know what I wanted to be for a long time, trust me when I say that it stops being cute after the age of five. In fact, it becomes fear inducing; especially if you're investing in post-secondary education and it serves as a reminder for what's already going on in your head, "Oh oh...I think I made a mistake. I have no idea what I want to do."
One of the reasons why we are left floundering to figure out what to do with our lives, is the simple fact that we don't recognize and understand our nature. We haven't been trained or guided to do so. What do I mean by nature? Simply put it's your inherent tendencies and inclinations. Your personality.
In Vedic times, such as when the Gita was spoken, society didn't have this problem. Through astrology and the guidance of mentors and elders, a child's nature was told to him/her and encouraged from a young age. In this verse we hear the names of some great warriors - those whose inherent nature is to protect others.
Similarly we all have our conditioned natures. I was reflecting how it is our tendency is to say my personality or my nature like somehow we own it. Just yesterday though, I was listening to an overview of the Gita given by a great bhakti yogi and this topic of nature was discussed at length. It was mentioned that just as our past karma dictates our present karma, similarly our past thoughts and actions also determine the type of nature or personality we receive.
So what does that practically mean? It means that our personality or nature that we hang on to so dearly is on loan (i.e. it's not our possession). Also, it can't be changed. That part most of us intuitively know, but we tend to forget that we do have control over how we engage it. So for all of you out there who are thinking, "Yes! I'm not a person who likes to read, it's not in my nature, so I don't have to." Well...you're right and wrong!
The beauty of bhakti yoga is that it doesn't force you to change your nature or personality, but it does teach one how to purify it. And how does one purify it....well I guess you'll have to wait and see! That only comes up in Chapter 2 and we're only on Verse 1.5. But if you can't wait that long, go ahead and pick up the Gita and share with us what you find out!