Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: Embracing Opportunities.
Verse 2.32: O Partha, happy are the kshatriyas 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!” But in actuality, if I’m honest, I know that I have often turned a blind eye to many opportunities, given numerous excuses as to why I won’t advantage of them, and promptly gone about and tried to forget them.
Of course, what happens next is almost inevitable; someone else (who may have been just as fearful as you), takes advantage of the opportunity and great things come from it. And then I’m left with a myriad of emotions—a little envy with “I could have totally done that better” thrown in for good measure, disappointment in myself, 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 our nature.
As mentioned last week, our nature consists of our proclivities and qualities, and serves as a roadmap to finding out what we are meant to do with our lives. The challenge, however, often lies in first figuring out our nature, and second, embracing the opportunities to engage our nature in effective, influential ways.
By way of example, picture a super talented singer whose nature it is to be artistic and creative through singing. Now imagine she gets an audition, but instead of getting the support that she needs to overcome her fear and wow the record label, she doesn’t show up and instead just continues to work at the corner store. Drastic example I know, but it’s happening around us everyday on so many levels.
You might be wondering though, how in the world does this tie in with bhakti?
You see, Krishna is giving us the basics in explaining the nature of bhakti. The first lesson: we misidentify ourselves with the body which covers who we really are—eternal souls. Krishna then goes on to explain in great detail the nature and characteristics of the soul, since we have forgotten and ignored it for so long.
Now, Krishna is explaining that even though in reality we are the soul, if we don’t understand this on a practical level, then we need to use our body, mind and intelligence to help us get a place where we will.
How do we do that? We work with what we have.
Just as you have a particular body, you also have a certain mind and intelligence that is uniquely yours. 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 our nature. That means if you are a person who loves to learn and teach others, then you act in this capacity. It doesn’t mean you slave away and try to become a businessmen simply because it’s more financially lucrative. No, you remain true to the nature you’ve been given.
The next step is to embrace the 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, we actually progress on the path of bhakti by utilizing the talents bestowed upon us by Krishna. It opens up our eyes to recognizing that we are empowered by God to become instrument of greatness.
Our capacities don’t originate from us, and when we understand this, we naturally feel grateful to Krishna for choosing us to be instruments of inspiration and talent.
This is the take away message Krishna is delivering here to Arjuna. 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?”
Painting courtesy of BBT
In our own day to day lives, we may face these defining moments on a smaller scale, but they are nonetheless important because they are ours. 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 in the end it is easier and is the only thing which will lead to our real happiness.
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.
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Editor: Thaddeus Haas