Aspects of Vaisnava Theory & Practice
The Three Modes of Material Nature
Chapter 01
Why Study the Three Modes of Material Nature?
Segment 04
Responsibility, This Is No Exaggeration

The point is that by such clear knowledge, one can choose how he wants to live.  One can live his spiritual life deliberately.  Rather than living in a reactive mode of life, one can be pro-active, and live as a victor.  By knowing what his choices are at every moment and by accepting squarely the responsibility for making the optimum choice one lives life deliberately, purposefully, from moment to moment.  Such a person is sure to progress towards perfection.

The key word here is responsibility.  Conditioned souls are lazy.  They have an inborn tendency not to accept responsibility.  Specifically, there is a tendency in the conditioned soul not to accept responsibility for one’s spiritual growth, for improving oneself.  A person may be busy, busy, busy, doing so many tasks, putting in a 70-hour week, but if by doing so they avoid the work of improving themself, of refining their character; the conclusion is, that they are lazy.

One symptom of such a person, is that when he succeeds at something, he thinks, “I did it.”  But when he fails, he thinks,

“Someone did it to me.  I am a victim.” 

This mindset will not make anyone successful on the path of perfection.  One-way to determine whether you have taken responsibility for your life or not, is to take inventory.  If you find that you blame someone else for your failings or setbacks, you are not yet a responsible person.  You are not a responsible person until you can say to yourself,

“I am cent-percent responsible for who I am and all I have done in my life up to today, and it is my choice what I will make of my life from this day on,” and mean it. 

Once you have accepted responsibility like this, you are ready to move away from being a victim.  You are ready to be a success in life, even if by all other counts you fail.  This kind of thinking is not an artificial imposition.  It is not a psychological trip.  It is reality.  You alone are responsible for all you are and where you are in life. 

What you have made of your life and your karma is entirely you’re doing and what you make of your future is also a matter of your choice.  In the end, you cannot blame your parents, your kids, your spouse, your teachers, your guru; and if you are a member of an institution, those that are authorities or leaders, or anyone else for the outcome of your life.  You will stand or fall solely on your merits or lack of them.  No one will take the stand and be judged in your place.  Either you took advantage of the human form of life or you blew it.  In that case better luck next life.

However, in the next life you can get caught up in the same useless “I-am-a-victim” trip again under the spell of the mode of nature.  It can be tricky.  How many lifetimes are you prepared to go on like this?  Until you accept full responsibility for what you make of your life and take a stand you can take birth over and over and do the same useless program of laying blame elsewhere for lifetimes.  What’s the use?  Why not shake off all this ignorance in this life, tighten your belt and face the music?  Make a decision that no matter what, I am going to mold my life to Krishna consciousness.  This is success thinking in spiritual life.

Such success goes only to those who accept full responsibility and who make a firm, non-negotiable, non-retractable decision to do whatever it takes to become Krishna conscious.  Starting today.  Starting this minute.  That willingness to do whatever it takes includes understanding clearly what is mixed devotional service and what is pure devotional service and having the willingness to do the work of discriminating between the two.  That means one must have more competence in understanding the modes of material nature than mere ability to explain it in a lecture.

Living deliberately, knowingly, using the modes of nature as a God-given tool for dealing with material reality is superior to relying on the mind and senses and one’s feelings as the basis for decisions.

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