The depth of our positive attitude is very much determined by how much we have knowledge of our spiritual self.” – Radhanath Swami
If we objectively look at the world today – study the newspapers, the magazines, the statistics – there is really a lot be depressed about: the pollution, the way people treat each other with so much rudeness, so much selfishness, and so much egotism. There is lot of evil in this world. There is a lot of darkness and cruelty in this world. There is terrorism. There is crime. There are so many terrible diseases. There is so much poverty. There are earthquakes. There are droughts. There are floods. There are massive forest fires. There is a lot to be depressed about if you really look at the world as it is.
Now, how does an ostrich deal with crises? When the lion comes to eat the ostrich, the ostrich runs, and when he sees the lion coming up behind him, he digs a hole in the ground and puts his head in the ground. He thinks, “Now I am safe.” And the rabbit; when the fox is coming to eat the rabbit, he closes his eyes and he just forgets the fox is there. But the fact is, the lion is about to eat the ostrich and the fox is about to eat the rabbit. Closing your eyes or putting your head in a hole in the ground is not going to change situations. So people in the world today, either they just do not want to hear about the problems of the world, or they just dig their hole in the ground in the form of television or some sports event. ‘Whatever… just forget it all.’ Television is very popular; sporting events are very popular. Usually, people take those things so seriously because they just want to forget the perplexities, the complexities and the frustrations of life. It is a way of sticking your head in the ground or closing your eyes.
Arjuna, when he was faced with a severe perplexity, he could not close his eyes or stick his head in the ground. He had to face the reality as it was, and he became severely depressed. If a clinical psychologist were to read Bhagavad-Gita, and read the symptoms of Arjuna, he would say, “This man really needs some medications.” Arjuna was shaking. His bow fell from his hand and his dark complexion turned white. His mouth was dried up and tears were brimming in his eyes. He was in a hopeless state. He was depressed. Then he decided, “Krishna, I am not going to stay in this battlefield. I am not going to face this crisis. I am going to the mountains. Better I just renounce everything and negate the problems altogether. Then I will be at peace.” But negation of the negative is not the best solution. What does Krishna teach Arjuna in Bhagavad-Gita? He taught him bhakti.
Radhanath Swami defines Bhakti
What is bhakti? Bhakti is the combination of gyan and vairagya. Krishna told Arjuna, “Do not be depressed. Do not just artificially close your eyes and escape the problems of life. Do not run away and negate them. See the positive opportunity that you have in this situation and work accordingly.” That is the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita. Do your work for the welfare of others in a spirit of compassion to others with consciousness of your relationship with God. That is what Bhagavad-Gita is all about: developing a very positive attitude, not on the basis of just physical and emotional, but physical, emotional and spiritual.
Positive attitude – in depth
The depth of our positive attitude is very much determined by how much we have knowledge of our spiritual self.
You could be very positive about various opportunities to make money and very positive to never give up despite so many failures. So in that sense, somebody who just works really hard and does not give up hope in what he or she can do – that’s positive attitude. But what happens when old age starts taking away your facilities, and beyond your control, people you love start turning against you? It could happen. There was a famous lady in America; everyone knew her name, everyone brought her products. But now she is imprisoned. I am not going to judge whether she is right or wrong. But one thing we can see objectively: no matter how good you do, no matter how great you succeed, things could turn against you.A positive attitude based on emotional and biological considerations will not really help you to succeed through such crisis.
Bhagavad-Gita teaches how there is a positive opportunity in every situation, and however bad the world may be, as far as all kinds of corruption and pollution and ego, we can always look for the good. We know about the bad: we do not hide from it, we know about it and we are conscious about it. But we look for the good.” – Radhanath Swami