Are You Making The Right Moves In Your Life?

Control and Effort in Life

by Jayaram V

Notes: I have translated the Bhagavadgita twice. The first one was a loose translation. The second one was a word to word translation with a detailed commentary. The commentary is however different from what you will find here. In this section I will share with you my thoughts about the knowledge, philosophy and wisdom of the Bhagavadgita as I understand it from my perspective. Jayaram V


Most of us want to be in control of our lives. I have a friend who cannot sit comfortably when others drive the car. He would like to be in control. I heard another friend of mine once saying that he would not like to flow with the currents of life but prefer to swim because he was afraid he would drown.

The question is whether your actions always lead you in the right direction and solve your problems or make things worse. There are many things in your life which are not entirely under your control: your birth, your breath, your death, and the birth of your children. When we have a problem, our first instinct is to resolve it and control the situation.

Whether we succeed or not, the illusion of activity, or doing anything in response, gives us a sense of security, and the assured feeling that we are acting responsibly. It also helps other people to know that we are confirming to the norms of society and standing up to their expectations. While others may not fathom our thoughts or motives, they can draw conclusions about us based upon our actions, reactions and responses. For example, if I have a reason to be angry or sad and if I am not people may wonder what happened to me. If some one smiles or jokes and if I do not react they may draw negative conclusions.

We therefore learn from an early age to act habitually or instinctively to fit into the world and make ourselves feel good. The truth is that we are never sure whether the actions we perform out of anxiety or social necessity really improve our lives or mess them up. We can never be sure whether we would be better off by letting things happen or by making things happen. We never know whether our lives would have been better or worse had we made different decisions or took different actions.

We face this dilemma because we do not possess the knowledge or information necessary to choose wisely or make right decisions. Since we have limited knowledge and understanding, we are constantly driven by the anxiety to micromanage our lives and make things happen. In the process we are vulnerable to make mistakes and complicate our lives.

Project managers know that even with all the advanced methods of planning, organizing and controlling, more than half of the projects in the USA fail, get delayed or exceed the budget. What this means is that with all our knowledge and abilities, we will never know how far our actions and decisions will bear fruit. Therefore, the Bhagavadgita says that the best way to live is to do your work according to your best knowledge and judgment and not worry or feel anxious about the outcome.

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