The beginning of the Gita is marked by Arjuna falling into a state of despair. He breaks down at the thought of having to fight against his family and wants to give up. His friend and companion Krishna tells him to stop wallowing in his self-pity. Krishna then says that Arjuna shouldn’t worry about killing anybody, as their soul is indestructible.
Like any normal person, Arjuna isn’t convinced. He doesn’t really care about the soul, he cares about the body that the soul is housed in. So Krishna tries to explain to Arjuna that he has to do his duty selflessly. Arjuna seems to be picking it up well, and Krishna has explained about selfless duty and how everyone and everything has a purpose.
Now, Krishna starts by saying that the path to liberation is hidden by self-indulgence. Is Krishna saying that you shouldn’t satisfy your needs?
No. What Krishna means here is that you shouldn’t indulge yourself in too many pleasures. For example, you can watch a movie every week (I recommend not doing so!), but don’t watch more than one. Stick to your principles and routines, and everything will go better for you.
I’m not saying to be completely rigid. Everyone has late nights or days that they don’t want to work out. No, that’s absolutely not what I’m saying. I’m suggesting to stay as close to routines as possible.
A good way to do this is to use tools. Early humans were just another animal — a kind of slave to nature — until they harnessed fire and made tools to help them survive. The rest is history. In the same fashion, we can use modern tools to stop being a slave to our indiscipline.
I find that the Done app is extremely useful for me. Done is a free app that helps you keep up your routines: it’ll count how many days in a row you have completed your routines. You can also choose to receive reminders from the app. It’s a brilliant tool to use for creating new habits.
In the early days of your new routine, you’ll feel that it isn’t worth continuing. And then you end up telling yourself to take a break, just for a day. Then the days becomes two, and two becomes three, and soon you find that you’ve completely forgotten about your routine altogether. Funny how our minds work, isn’t it?
Krishna then says that our indiscipline and indulgence harbors in three different places: our senses, mind, and intellect. It’s simple how our indiscipline harbors in our senses and mind: we do drugs, indulge in foolish pleasures, and drink alcohol to please our senses. To please our mind, we watch unnecessary movies, read junk magazines, and become a slave to our mind in general. But how do indulgence and indiscipline harbor in our intellect?
Here’s the answer: ego. Ego is a form of indulgence; we are indulging in the pleasurable thought that we have a higher intellect than somebody or something. Maybe we think that we can’t be outdone. So how do we get rid of ego?
It’s simple: we have to acknowledge a higher power. This power doesn’t need to be a god, but can simply be somebody better than you at something. Possibly a famous athlete, or a powerful world leader. Thinking about how successful they are compared to you will make your ego go down.
That concludes the third chapter of the Gita. In summary, indiscipline is one of the most fatal flaws of all, and the ego needs to be conquered. That’s all you need to remember! Moving on, Krishna will impart some more of his divine wisdom upon us.