Why do we fall in Bad Habits? Lessons from Bhagavad Gita

Why do we fall in Bad Habits? Lessons from Bhagavad Gita

Introduction

Let’s start with the definition of bad habit. According to Wikipedia, we find the definition of a bad habit as ‘a bad habit is a negative behaviour pattern.’ Every one of us is sick of our bad habits and want to get rid of them. In this article we’ll find out why do we fall in bad habits and we’ll know why is it very difficult to overcome them even after a lot of endeavours. We’ll take references from the Bhagavad Gita.

bad habits

Origin of Bad Habits

Let me take me an assumption that every reader knows that we are not this body, rather the soul.

The soul in this material world is roaming lives after lives. In this process, we have been in various circumstances, we have associated a lot of ‘gunas’ (different modes of nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance).

So these are the modes according to which we act, and the modes of passion and ignorance are the cause of our bad habits. So, we already have some sort of impressions of these qualities from birth itself. Now, when we keep nurturing these modes, our bad habits originate.

How do we fall in Bad Habits?

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita states the reason how do we fall in our bad habits in chapter 2 (verse 62-63).

Dhyayato visayan pumsah  sangas tesupajayte

Sangat sanjayte kamah  kamat krodho abhijayate (BG 2.62)

 Translation: While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment, lust develops, and from lust, anger arises.

Krodhad bhavati sammohah  sammohat smriti vibhtamah

Smriti bhramsad budhhi naso  buddhi nasat pranasyati (BG 2.63)

 Translation: From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.

After reading the above to slokas, we find how we are the reason for our fall down.

Lord Krishna in the above texts mentions ‘objects of senses.’ Readers may ask what is it.

‘Object of senses’ are the objects that are related to our five sense objects, for eyes sense objects are what we see, for ears, it is something we hear. The food we eat is the sense object of our tongue, the smell we like are the objects for the nose and the people or objects we associate are the objects of skin.

The kind of sense object we choose associating with, cause us to associate with a certain mode of nature. For example, let us consider the case of eyes, let a person uses his eyes for reading meaningful books, he’s associating mode of goodness, but another person using his eyes for watching pornography is associating his mode of ignorance.

Why is it difficult for us to Quit Bad Habits

Well, though we have bad habits, we try to overcome them. Though a lot of efforts are put in by us, we find it very difficult to overcome them. As soon as sense objects pop us, we commit the same mistake.

Let us consider a smoker trying to quit smoking, but as soon as he sees someone smoking, it is very difficult for him to resist. He, being unable to resist, smokes and regrets later.

Arjuna also asked the same question in the Bhagavad Gita, to the Lord.

Arjuna uvacha

Atha kena prayuktoyam  papam charati purushah

Anichhinam api varsenya  balad iva niyojitah (BG 3.36)

Translation: Arjuna said: O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?

The Supreme Lord Krishna answers this in the next verse.

Shri Bhagavan uvacha

Kama esa krodha esa  rajo guna samudbhavah

Mahasano maha papma  viddhy enam iha vairinam (BG 3.37)

Translation: The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.

When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for Krishna is transformed into lust, in association with the mode of passion. Or, in other words, the sense of love of God becomes transformed into lust, as milk in contact with sour tamarind is transformed into yoghurt. Then again, when lust is unsatisfied, it turns into wrath; wrath is transformed into illusion, and illusion continues the material existence. Therefore, lust is the greatest enemy of the living entity, and it is lust only which induces the pure living entity to remain entangled in the material world. Wrath is the manifestation of the mode of ignorance; these modes exhibit themselves as wrath and other corollaries. (Purport BG 3.37)

I hope the readers must have got the justification of the title of the article, ‘Why do we fall in Bad Habits? Lessons from Bhagavad Gita.’

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Thank You for reading the article. The above translations and purports are taken from Bhagavad Gita as it is by His Divine Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. Hare Krishna.

 

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