Who Are The Decisions Makers Of Your Life?

Krishna and Arjuna

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


You may take pride in your decisions making ability, but are you sure that you always make the right decisions and you are progressing in the right direction? Our lives are shaped mostly by our decisions, but we cannot always be certain that they will lead us in the right direction because we cannot always make the right decisions. Sometimes we realize our mistakes and wrong choices very late in our lives. Studies show that almost everyone dies with some regrets. If people tell you that they have no regrets, know that they have not examined their lives well.

People entertain many delusions about their decision-making ability. They fail to notice the underlying assumptions and prejudices that creep into their thinking and rationality. You have a lot of unexamined past in your memory and your decisions are often shaped by it. I too had many delusions about my decision-making ability. I slowly realized that I could be wrong in so many ways, especially when my decisions depended solely upon my likes and dislikes.

When you make decisions and choices, you should invariably check the underlying assumptions that go into your decisions. If you do not ask questions or question your conclusions and opinions, you may face many problems. It becomes even more important when your choices are guided solely by your likes and dislikes.

Our natural inclination in any action or decision is to maximize happiness and minimize pain and discomfort. When your choices are based upon such criteria, and guided by your likes and dislikes, you should be even more careful since you may not always think rationally. Many times your emotions and preconceived notions come in the way and cloud your judgment. Likes and dislikes are known in Sanskrit as raga and dvesha. They arise from the twin modes of attraction and aversion to things. Like Rahu and Ketu, the twin evil planetary influences, they rule your mind and shape your life silently. They are present in your consciousness, even when you make choices under pressure or out of fear.

Your choices should be guided by truth, your values and intelligent discretion (buddhi) rather than your likes and dislikes. It can save you a lot of trouble. The Bhagavadgita suggests that we lose our discretion because of the delusion caused by them (dvanda moha). This is stated in the following verse (7.27). "Oh. Paramtapa Bharata, born out of the delusion of duality caused by attraction and aversion, all beings pass into delusion from their very birth." It can be overcome by cultivating sameness or calmness through detachment.

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