Wednesday, March 20, 2013

embracing opportunities

Verse 2.32: O Pārtha, happy are the kṣatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.

Are you one to shy away from opportunities? The adventurous and free-spirited part of me screams "Of course not! Bring them on!" It's shameful to admit, but in actuality I know that I have oftentimes turned a blind eye to said opportunities, given numerous excuses as to why I won't advantage of them to appease myself and promptly gone and tried to forget about them. Of course, what happens next is inevitable...someone else (who might have been just as fearful as you) takes advantage of that opportunity and great things come from it. Once hearing about it you feel a myriad of emotions - a little envy with "I could have totally done that better" thrown in for good measure, disappointment in yourself and a general feeling of dissatisfaction.

Sound familiar? I think it's common, especially when it comes to those opportunities that are in line with your nature. As mentioned yesterday, your nature consists of your proclivities and qualities and act as a roadmap to figuring out what you are meant to do with your life. The challenge, however, often lies in - 1) figuring out our nature and 2) embracing opportunities to engage that nature in effective, influential ways. Think of a super talented singer whose nature it is to be artistic and creative through singing. She gets an audition and instead of getting the support that she needs to overcome her fear and wow the record label, she doesn't show up and instead continues to work at the corner store. Drastic example, but I'm sure it happens everyday. You might be wondering though, how in the world does this tie in with bhakti?

You see, Krsna is starting with the basics in explaining the intricacies of bhakti. Krsna first taught lesson 1 - we misidentify ourselves with the body which covers who we really are - eternal souls. Krsna then goes on to explain in great detail the nature and characteristics of the soul, educating all of us since we have forgotten and ignored it for so long.

Now, Krsna is further explaining that even though in reality we are the soul, if we don't actually understand this on a practical level, then we need to use our body, mind and intelligence to help us get us to the soul platform. How do you do that? Krsna gives the formula - you work with what you have. Just like you have a particular body, you also have a certain mind and intelligence that has been given to you. Literally, no two living entities are alike. Everything has been tailor made just for you (the soul).

In this basic program, which acts as a brilliant foundation to build upon spiritually, the key requirement is acting according to your nature. That means if you are a person who loves to learn and teach and guide others, then you act in that capacity. It doesn't mean that you slave away and try to become a businessmen just because it may be more lucrative financially. No. Be true to the nature you have been given.

After having done so, the next step is to embrace opportunities that arise so that those gifts and skills (which ultimately are given to us by the Supreme) can be properly utilized. In doing so, this program actually helps one progress in the bhakti path when one works in the consciousness that all this is possible due to the gifts bestowed upon us by Krsna. It opens up our eyes to recognizing that we can be empowered to become instrument of greatness. The take away message being we are empowered by God. The greatness doesn't originate from us. When we understand this, we naturally feel grateful to Krsna for choosing us to be instruments of inspiration and talent.

That's what Krsna is telling Arjuna here. He's saying, "You have been empowered to be a great leader and administrator for millions of people who count on you for your protection. It is your nature to lead them and care for them. Are you going to turn a blind eye when the moment of truth comes to stick up for them?"

In our own day to day lives, we may face these defining moments on a smaller scale, but they are nonetheless important. Even if our circumstances don't allow us to engage in activities that are in line with our nature, the goal should be to move in that direction. Why? Because it's easier and will make us happy.

So the next time an opportunity arises for you to engage in your nature, take it! It's not only an opportunity to develop your skills and talents and contribute something to the world, it's also an opportunity to realize that everything is only possible by blessings and grace.


  1. I love your last sentence, everything is possible only by blessings and grace - that is just so true.

  2. Lol, I did just turn down an opportunity that engages my nature :) But I have been accepting many others and even too many opportunities can be a bad thing, a distraction. Great post though, we are all tailor made to be us.

  3. Thanks Suzy and Cairn! We really are instruments of grace. It's amazing how when we recognize that, we become empowered to do more and more. As for turning down opportunities when you're being inundated with them- I think you're just being intelligent Cairn! We also don't want to get so overwhelmed that we can't devote the time and attention that's needed to each one. :D