The Strength of a Soft Heart. ~ Vrindavan Rao

Via elephant journal
on Apr 28, 2013
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HeartBroken-Tears are the Baptism of Soul

Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: Soft Heart.

Verse 1.46: Sanjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.

Today we reach the last verse of the first chapter.

As we end this chapter, we are subjected to a moving scene. Up to this point, Arjuna, our valiant warrior, has been speaking and now due to mental turmoil he is setting aside his weapons and sitting down.

This mental turmoil is the result of his soft-hearted nature. Soft-hardheartedness is a beautiful quality. Unfortunately, in this day and age, this quality, along with humility, is considered weak, or even worse, useless. One more than one occasion, when I’ve expressed compassion for others, people have asked me, “Why do you feel sorry for them? They deserve whatever they get.”

Pretty callus, huh?

The heart of a bhakti yogi is naturally soft because such a person doesn’t want to see anyone in distress.

Source: google search via Callie on Pinterest

However, this doesn’t mean the bhakti yogi is naive, or has blinders on to the world. Oh no. The bhakti yogi fully realizes that this material world is not a place of happiness. They understand that identification with the body, mind and ego is the cause of so many problems and challenges.

You might ask, “How can one be soft-hearted if she knows the reason for others’ suffering? Doesn’t this actually make one’s heart hard?” A soft-hearted person is not characterized by just feeling a certain way; they are considered compassionate if they actually do something about it.

A truly soft-hearted person seeks to help others who are suffering. And in order to do this, one must be able to truly listen.

My spiritual mentor is such a person. He travels all over the world, and not only presents bhakti yoga to hundreds of thousands of people, but he truly cares for them. He listens to them. You see, bhakti yoga is not just about helping others with philosophy; its about being an instrument of God. That means that we are willing to be tested and molded into the very best that we can be.

All this time throughout the Gita, Krishna has been listening patiently to Arjuna. He has just been hearing. How amazing is that? What a good friend God is. He never interrupted, questioned, prodded or spoke up. He just quietly listened to everything Arjuna had to say. This is one of my favorite qualities of Krishna. It’s something I too strive to become—a patient and empathic listener.

But soon, Krishna will be putting Arjuna in the hot seat. Arjuna is the perfect student and so Krishna will go about testing and molding Arjuna into the perfect bhakti yogi.

If we can hear Krishna’s words, as Arjuna does, with an open mind and faith in our hearts, we too will uncover the mysteries of bhakti.


Vrindavan RaoVrindavan Rao was born into the bhakti tradition and grew up enveloped in it. However, her personal discovery of the bhakti path began in 2004 when she had the opportunity to go to a Vedic College in Belgium and since that time she has embraced it completely. Her love for travel has given her the opportunity to study Vedic texts, such as the Bhagavad-gita, in places such as India, Canada, Belgium, Ukraine and the United States under the guidance of several advanced practitioners.

She especially loves the Gita and refers to it as her “Guidebook for Life” since it contains practical answers for complicated questions and is currently writing a daily blog on every verse of the Gita. In addition, you can keep track of all the happenings of Everyday Bhagavad-Gita on Facebook and viaTwitter.

Her background is in science and she not only has a Bacherlor’s degree in Biochemistry, but also a Masters in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. In her free time she loves to write, read, give presentations, sing and work out.

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Editor: Thaddeus Haas


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6 Responses to “The Strength of a Soft Heart. ~ Vrindavan Rao”

  1. Vrindavan, this is so beautifully said. Thank you! Honoring and maintaining the soft heart is so difficult in the face of all that's going on some days, but that's the practice. That's where true strength is.

  2. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Thanks so much Kate! Yes, it's so difficult to maintain a soft heart and appreciate it's value in today's day and age. All of us have experienced so much disappointment and hurt and so it only seems natural to "steel" the heart. I love how the Gita offers us balance. By understanding that we are spiritual beings living in this temporary, material world it allows us to view things from a proper perspective. We can then understand that any disappointment or suffering we feel is not who we are. These are just experiences that allow us to go deeper and understand that actually we are souls that are full of knowledge and bliss. This allows us to develop a sweet and soft heart. 🙂

  3. We hear many, many times in the Gospels that Jesus ministered, healed, and fed others "because he had compassion for them." A soft heart . . . And, he acted on these feelings whether the recipients were deserving or not. You're story here sings with parallels to this! Just loved reading your post today, Vrindavan!
    Blessings to you, my friend!

  4. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Thank you so much Martha! Yes, it's so true…the great lovers of God all share this quality. Thank you for adding this beautiful point of "He acted on these feelings whether the recipients were deserving or not" The thing is, we are all the recipients of such wonderful gifts and talents, to share them is not just our duty but our greatest honour. Compassion is as natural to us as breathing….we just have to rediscover it within us. It's there! Blessings to you too!

  5. galenpearl says:

    I love your posts–so full of love. I especially loved the connection you made with Martha about great lovers of God. Beautifully said!

  6. Vrindavan_Rao says:

    Thank you so much Galen!