Even the wise act in accordance with their nature and its attributes
How will repression of these attributes help? 3.33
Don’t follow rules to regulate and control attachments
They will be stumbling blocks in realizing the Self. 3.34
Act according to your nature even if not perfectly than another’s well
Better to fail acting in one’s nature, following some one else is dangerous 3.35
I acknowledge this lovely picture from the Internet!
Be different, says Krishna, be yourself.
It’s better if you do what your nature dictates, even if at the end of it you seem to fail, rather than copying someone and trying to be successful. You may be successful in the short-term, but you destroy yourself in the process.
People quote this verse from Gita often, far more often as a platitude than with any real conviction. What does Krishna really mean here?
At one level Krishna advises Arjuna not to follow rules and regulations. This appeals to my maverick nature. Rules and regulations are for the unintelligent. If one is intelligent, where is the need to be controlled and regulated? Every organization in history, be it religion, military or government, however democratic it may claim to be, established controls to govern people through fear and greed.
Jesus was a great guy, god to some. Those who followed shared none of his wisdom. Yet, they needed people to follow. Jesus was happy with twelve, including a traitor. Successors in religion wanted thousands and millions. Thousand and millions are impossible to control unless one established rules of behavior. So, the Church was born.
For long periods of time, the Church waged wars or instigated wars to kill dissidents. Other religions, founded by equally spiritual masters, became equally paranoid. Some declared openly that it is the duty of a believer to destroy one who does not share that belief. More numbers of people have lost their lives through religious warfare throughout the history of humanity than due to other causes.
Has such repression helped? Has such repression made anyone wiser or happier? Do the Popes and Imams and other religious pontiffs seem happy or wise to you?
What Krishna refers to as one’s nature, Vedic scriptures term as the gunas. The three gunas or natural attributes we all fall into are Sattva, passive disengaged action through ego free wisdom; Rajas, active obsessive action through ego filled passion; and Tamas, inaction from sloth and ignorance of negative ego. We all are a mix of these three attributes, though one is likely to be predominant.
We expect spiritual leaders to be in Sattva. Perhaps some of them were and a minuscule few are, but do you know any of them? All those i see around, parading as self-styled gurus, are full of rajas and tamas. They are in greed of money and power, and of sex, and fear of any opposition. In short, they are frauds.
Krishna says not to follow them.
Krishna says you are better off following your own nature, even if others pretend to be superior to you, as long as you are aware of and centered in your guna, your nature.
In a coaching sense, this is the difference between a mentor pretending to be a coach and a coach. The mentor’s experience, even if ostensibly successful based on his nature and experience, is of little value and can in fact be detrimental to the client. A coach on the other hand helps the client explore his/her guna and find own solutions.
Long live the Coach! Long live Krishna!