Monday, July 15, 2024

Always be yourself and do what you love to do. The Bhagavad Gita explains why

Amlan Shekhar Baruah

Many times in your life, you may keep hearing several people tell you what you should and should not do, how you should live your life, what you should become, etc. Different people may give you different advice and opinions. So, whose advice should you follow? And is it right for you to sacrifice your passions, dreams, and ambitions for fulfilling the wishes of what others want you to become? The Bhagavad Gita, which is one of the most important scriptures of Sanatan Dharma and was written by Bhagavan Krishna himself, gives the best answers to these problems.

The Bhagavad Gita says that you should always follow your passion and do the right thing. One should never regret doing the right thing, no matter what other people think about it. Every individual is of a different nature, and so every individual has a different passion in life. Therefore, it is important that one follow their passion instead of following others blindly.

Before the war of Kurukshetra had started, Arjuna wanted to give up fighting and live like a sannyasi (hermit), because he felt that the life of a sannyasi would be superior to that of a warrior. He felt he would commit sin by hurting his enemies, as they were his own family. The first and second chapters of the Bhagavad Gita cover Arjuna’s feelings and reasons for not wanting to fight the war. Then, from the 11th verse of the second chapter onwards, Shree Krishna explained in great detail to Arjuna why he should not think like that but instead fight the war with full spirit like a true warrior. Thus, Shree Krishna began His priceless teachings of the great gospel, the Bhagavad Gita.

In Verses 31-36 of Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita, Shree Krishna says to Arjuna:

“Also, considering your own Dharma (duty according to one’s nature), you should not hesitate, since there is nothing more meritorious to a kshatriya (warrior) than a war for justice and righteousness. O Partha (Arjuna)! A war that comes unsought is an open door to heaven, and happy/fortunate are those warriors who get the opportunity for such a war. However, if you do not fight this righteous war, then by abandoning your duty and reputation, you will incur sin. Everyone will always talk of your dishonor/infamy, and for a person who has always enjoyed the state of being honored by all, dishonor is far worse than death. The great chariot-warriors, who hold you in high esteem, will believe that you fled from the battle out of fear, and thus lose their respect for you. Your enemies will insult your strength and abilities with plenty of harsh and slanderous remarks. What could be more tragic than this?”

Then, in Verses 33 and 35 of Chapter 3, Shree Krishna says:

“Even the wise act according to their own nature, for all living creatures are propelled by their natural tendencies. What will one gain from repression?”

“It is far better to do one’s own Dharma, though imperfectly, than to do someone else’s Dharma, though perfectly. In fact, it is better to die performing one’s own Dharma than to follow others’ Dharma, because following others’ Dharma is dangerous.”

Arjuna was a mighty and honorable warrior by nature. He had a passion for fighting for the right cause, protecting his loved ones, and being a well-known and respected warrior. So, according to his nature and passion, his duty was to protect his people and fight for them whenever it was necessary. Thus, Krishna knew that Arjuna was saying such things because he was just stressed, nervous, confused, and worried, not because he would really be happy living like a sannyasi. He knew that it was just a temporary feeling, and Arjuna would himself later regret his own decision and not be happy living his life like a hermit, at least for a certain period of time. So it was not the right time for Arjuna to become a sannyasi. Krishna explained to him that there is nothing wrong with a warrior fighting for a good cause, i.e., to protect his loved ones from evil and establish Dharma (justice/righteousness). He said that such a dedicated warrior as Arjuna should rather be happy for getting such a great opportunity to prove his worth and earn his honor and glory. He said that one can achieve success and perfection faster and more easily by following one’s own passion, not by following others. This is how Krishna was able to dispel Arjuna’s doubts and bring back his fighting spirit via the Bhagavad Gita.

Each one of us is a different individual, and for each individual, there is a right path to success. Each of these paths is unique and equal to the others. So you should only follow the path that fits your nature and passion because only you and no one else can excel in this path. If you keep on listening to and trying to fulfill other people’s opinions and advice, you will definitely get confused because so many different people will give you so many different opinions and advices. In this way, you will not be able to fulfill anyone’s advice. Thus, you will neither achieve proper success anywhere nor satisfy anyone. Along with that, you will never be happy for not doing what you love doing and will always regret missing the opportunity to do what you are good at doing the most. Therefore, you should always listen to your heart instead of other people’s. Even if you disappoint others by not listening to them, you will always be happy with yourself and will be able to achieve the best success that is particularly meant for you. Or even if you fail, you will at least be happy for trying. Shree Krishna says that it is even better to die doing one’s own duty than to do someone else’s duty. If other people are not happy with what you love doing, it is their problem, not yours. So stop wasting your time and energy trying to please others. Also, by following your nature and passion, you will also be encouraging everyone else to follow their nature and passion, which is the right thing for them to do.

Also, only you know what your nature and passion are. No one else does. So use your own mind to decide what you should do with your life. Do not let others make that decision for you, and ignore them if they judge you. Your path is none of their business. Whether you choose to be a warrior, scholar, trader, farmer, laborer, sannyasi, yogi, artist, writer, musician, lawyer, or anything else, it does not matter as long as it fits with your nature and passion. Every profession is unique, and none is superior or inferior to any other if you practice it right. So just make sure it fits with your nature and passion, and practice it responsibly.

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