Question: My question regards procrastination. I have faced this issue for a while whenever I decide to work on my sādhana, health, etc. Even while engaging in day-to-day commitments, I waste time on social media or something else. Although I am aware of the necessary things I need to do, I find myself unable to perform them properly because of this habit.
Please guide me on overcoming procrastination and properly engaging in daily sādhana and other activities.
Answer: Not knowing you personally, my simple advice is to join an āśrama for a week or two and follow the āśramasādhana. It is easier to follow one’s sādhana in the company of other sādhakas than to do it alone. This is the advantage of āśrama life.
If you want to dig deeper, then you need to do some serious introspection. You have to ask yourself: What do I gain by procrastination? You must gain something from it which you are not getting from your sādhana. The mind is short-term smart. Buddhi is long-term smart. The mind thinks of immediate benefit even if the ultimate outcome is troublesome. This is called happiness in rajas:
“The happiness which comes from contact of the senses with their objects, which appears like nectar at first but turns out to be poison, is called rājasika.” (Gītā 18.38).
Such happiness is an offence against our own intelligence, prajñā-aparādha. It is not conducive to our sādhana. In order to not be offensive to our buddhi, we should avoid such happiness. For that, we have to use our buddhi, which means raising our awareness.
Happiness comes from sādhana also but generally not to a beginner. Therefore, in the beginning, one need to engage in it with fixity. Then gradually one will start relishing it.
“The happiness which one gains through practice [of dharma], which leads to the end of misery, which is like poison at first but like nectar in the end, and which is born of a placid mind fixed on the self, is declared sāttvika.” (Gīta 18.36b, 37)
Associating with advanced sādhakas, listening to spiritual talks, reading biographies of great spiritualists, studying śāstra, etc. are very helpful in giving up procrastination.
Distaste for Sense Pleasure
Question: Does the feeling of dislike towards sense pleasure, felt by a practicing devotee, manifest a result similar to guilt? When you are feeling guilty, you feel bad about yourself, which could lead to an inferiority complex where you become even more ensnared in the object you were initially trying to avoid feeling guilty about. Could a feeling of dislike towards sense pleasure cause you to end up being more entangled in it?
Answer: A devotee has a distaste for sense pleasure. He has no liking for it. Guilt arises when you don’t want to do something because you feel that it is immoral, but you are forced to do it because of peer pressure or lack of sense control. It pricks our conscience and makes us feel guilty. When you feel guilty, you also become despondent, frustrated, and depressed. But a devotee has a firm resolution, driḍha niścaya, which means he or she doesn’t become despondent. That is the meaning of śraddhā. He knows bhakti will make him free from this, no matter what happens.
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Daily Bhakti Byte
The world is real but to think that it can give happiness independent of Bhakti is an illusion which is quite rampant.