We are programmed in different ways on account of our past. These factors play out throughout our lives, says AJIT KUMAR BISHNOI
I don’t know about anyone else, but I do know plenty about myself. I wish I was a better person in my previous lives, especially in the last one. Don’t we bring our minds and senses from the previous life? (The Geeta 15.8) Then, I could have been programmed better, which could have meant that my consciousness was better when I was born; it was too materialistic. It has taken me decades to change that to somewhat spiritual. Fortunately, my sanskars were better; I was born in a devout family. This gave me a good exposure to God in my formative years. This helped my consciousness to become refined slowly but surely.
My desires, especially the deep ones were more aligned with sense enjoyments than ‘sukha’ — the genuine happiness, which comes from being linked with God. Similarly, my nature was more influenced by the mode of passion than by the mode of goodness — the preferred mode. Yes, there was also an ample dose of the mode of darkness, which has troubled me greatly over the years. My conditioning was not that great either, which made it very difficult for me to accept God as everything (7.49), and not just one more entity. I am still suffering greatly due to some poor habits which have accompanied me in this life; some details of the same I will share in this article. Lastly, my thinking was more mundane than superior. It has been tough to refine it.
In short, like me, all of us are born having been programmed in different ways by the divine on account of our past. These factors play out throughout our lives unless dealt with. It is up to us to identify our inherent weaknesses and try to rectify them to avoid their ill effects. The sooner we do so, the better it will be. Why carry such handicaps for the rest of our lives? The cosmic design has not made them permanent; we can do plenty to negate them. Yes, some of these, that is, habits, conditioning, etc. we pick up in the present life also, but those, which came with us are more difficult to deal with, as we realise.
I have made a list of habits, which have troubled me in the past and are still causing some difficulties. Like most of us, I have been very concerned about my future. This concern or fear has literally forced me to toe the line most of the time, that is, in my academic career and subsequently in my professional life. Still, I never felt secure in spite of achieving considerable material success, until I turned to God for help. Because He alone can ensure it; no one else has the power to do so. Now there is less fear.
Impatience has been my weakness since very long. I felt that whatever good is to happen should happen soon, little realising that all acts come to fruition at their appointed times only. This problem is less troubling now having realised the karma-phala principle. Controller mentality — a close cousin of impatience has also troubled me greatly till I realised that only God is the controller; we are all controlled. This fact is sinking in slowly.
Material success, even if little, breeds both controller mentality and intolerance. I have been guilty of both. Living in material bodies and in this material world — a place of miseries (8.15), one must be tolerant. Rather tolerance should be inculcated seriously. It is no wonder that Lord Krishna has asked us to be tolerant (2.14), because pleasure and misery come and go. Being sensitive has its benefits but being ultrasensitive hurts. Similarly, overreaction harms; one must be very careful in how one responds to any situation or circumstance.
I could go on, but I will state with pride that with God’s guidance and help, my life has been improving gradually, and for this I am grateful to my Lord. Whatever I was programmed for when I entered my body is now less troubling/damaging.
Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org