A standard war strategy for defeating a strong enemy is divide and rule. The Bhagavad-gita (06.06) states that the mind can often act as our enemy. Acting inimically, it targets us with this strategy when we practice bhakti-yoga.
The Gita (18.78) indicates that the combination of the omnipotent Lord and the determined devotee, as represented by Arjuna, is a guarantor of victory. Recognizing the formidable nature of this combination, the mind tries to break it with the divide and rule strategy. Of course, it can’t delude Krishna, and it certainly can’t rule him. So the sole target of its divine and rule strategy is us. That is, it strives to disconnect us from Krishna by creating dissension and distance between us and him. A common way it disconnects us is by giving a misleading spin to the phases of tastelessness we sometimes undergo during our bhakti practice as seekers. Such phases come primarily due to the influence of the modes – influence that comes and goes like everything material.
But the mind makes us believe that such tastelessness will be our lifelong fate if we continue practicing bhakti. Being overwhelmed at such a burdensome prospect, we slacken our connection with Krishna, thus depriving ourselves of our vital access to the higher taste of spiritual love. And then we soon fall prey to the lures of lower pleasures that the wily mind promptly dangles before us.
To protect ourselves, we need to recognize that the “tastelessness will be endless” notion is the mind’s smokescreen to undermine our devotional practice. By discerning this strategy, we can strengthen our resolve to not let anything disconnect us from Krishna. When we stay firmly devoted, taste soon returns, often reinforced by the purification resulting from our determined practice, thus making our further march towards him sweeter and easier.
Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies