Friday, January 11, 2013

the right motivation

Verse 1.23: Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.

Today's verse reminded of a saying: Focus on doing the right thing, not on doing things right. This came to mind since Arjuna is stating here that he wants to see those who are wanting please to Duryodhana. Those who are not focused on doing the right thing (standing up for morality and righteousness) and instead are fighting their best (for the sake of honour and prestige).

Notice the difference in motivation. Just focusing on doing the right thing tends to result in doing things right. When we focus solely on doing things right, we may not recognize it, but subtly we're setting ourselves up for an ego boost. How so? Because for most people out there, the satisfaction in doing things right is the praise and recognition that comes along with it.

Part of doing the right thing also means having the proper motivation and conviction. When you ask someone why they do something, it's it's not uncommon to hear responses such as, "Well...because everyone's doing it. It's popular. It's the thing to do. It's cool..." Rather than think for oneself, it's easier to just go with the flow. This way you don't stand out and you're not left behind.

The practice of bhakti yoga is not about going with the flow. In fact, bhakti is quite the opposite of that. Bhakti is about taking a stand for what's right. It's about stripping away all the external wrappings and getting down to the essentials - our need to express and receive love.

However, where the practice of bhakti yoga differentiates itself from all other paths is that it teaches us how we can fulfill that need - through service. And, it teaches us how to reconnect with the supreme source of love - Krsna (one of numerous names of God). Engaging in loving relationships with others is good practice, but our need for eternal and uninterrupted love can only be satisfied by Krsna who is eternal and unconditional in his love for us.

Beautiful isn't it? But for many aspiring bhakti practitioners, including myself, it can be challenging. Why? Because we keep getting distracted by the glitz and glamor of advertisements and a society that keeps making empty promises that we'll be happy and satisfied by buying into consumerism and going with the flow.

So next time you do something, question yourself. What's your motivation? Are you focused on doing the right thing or just doing things right.

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