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Section 2 - Personality development tips from the Bhagavad Gita

posted Oct 30, 2019, 7:38 PM by Sudhir Babu   [ updated Dec 7, 2019, 5:38 AM ]

Here are the 3 powerful personality development tips from the Bhagavad Gita.

  1. Cultivating good habits:

Bhagavad Gita says that there are three modes of material nature under whose influence we all work. They are: mode of goodness, passion and ignorance. Mode of goodness is characterized by knowledge and happiness. Passion is characterized by sense gratification, unlimited desires and eventually leading to misery. Ignorance is characterized by laziness, sleep and misery throughout. Good habits sprout from cultivating mode of goodness in our lives.

Bhagavad Gita 14.17 says: “From the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops; from the mode of passion, grief develops; and from the mode of ignorance, foolishness, madness and illusion develop.”

Srila Prabhupada says in the purport to this verse: “Through Kṛṣṇa consciousness, society will develop the mode of goodness. When the mode of goodness is developed, people will see things as they are. In the mode of ignorance, people are just like animals and cannot see things clearly. In the mode of ignorance, for example, they do not see that by killing one animal they are taking a chance of being killed by the same animal in the next life. Because people have no education in actual knowledge, they become irresponsible. To stop this irresponsibility, education for developing the mode of goodness of the people in general must be there. When they are actually educated in the mode of goodness, they will become sober, in full knowledge of things as they are. Then people will be happy and prosperous. Even if the majority of the people aren’t happy and prosperous, if a certain percentage of the population develops Kṛṣṇa consciousness and becomes situated in the mode of goodness, then there is the possibility for peace and prosperity all over the world." 

Srimad Bhagavatam gives a 3 stage scientific process to develop the mode of goodness:

Stage 1 - Hearing:

Cleansing the dirt from our unclean heart. This can be done by the easiest and most purifying process, i.e., hearing about the most pure, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.


śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ


hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi

vidhunoti suhṛt satām

Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramātmā [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. (SB 1.2.17)

Stage 2 - Clearing:

naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu

nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā

bhagavaty uttama-śloke

bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī

By regular attendance in classes on the Bhāgavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact. (SB 1.2.18)


Stage 3 - Achieving:

tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ

kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye

ceta etair anāviddhaṁ

sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati

As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature's modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy. (SB 1.2.19)

  1. Maintaining resolutions:

In Bhagavad Gita 3.36, Arjuna asks Krishna, “why is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?”

We all experience situations where we resolve and aspire to achieve something great but inevitably fall flat more often than not. In Bhagavad Gita 3.37, as an answer to Arjuna’s question, Krishna teaches us that we become weak in our resolve because of lust. Lust makes us weak in our resolve and impels us to do things as if out of force. Lust means trying to enjoy our senses more than what we need. This is generated by association with the ‘mode of passion’ or ‘rajo guna’.

Srila Prabhupada says in his purport to Bhagavad Gita 3.37: “When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for Kṛṣṇa 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…”

Our senses always force us to serve them and provide them what they need, and many times because of this lust, a human being commits abominable activities. Therefore, Krishna concludes that this lust is the eternal enemy of the living entity. To curb this lust, Krishna gives the science of “control hierarchy” within ourselves (BG 3.42). He says that our mind is superior to the senses. Intelligence is superior to the mind and the spirit soul is superior to the intelligence. We need to strengthen our intelligence and mind to be able to conquer our senses. Our intelligence is strengthened by following the instructions of Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, our mind is strengthened by chanting and hearing the Lord’s holy names (especially the ‘hare krishna’ maha mantra - hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare, hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare). And eventually the mind can control the senses from going astray and thus we can conquer the lust.

  1. Overcoming addictions:

Bhagavad Gita 2.59 gives a simple yet powerful formula for overcoming our addictions. Krishna says that we can not give up our addictions merely by restriction, but rather by cultivating a higher taste. 


viṣayā vinivartante

nirāhārasya dehinaḥ

rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya

paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate

The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness. (Bhagavad Gita 2.59)

Srila Prabhupada writes the following about this verse: “Unless one is transcendentally situated, it is not possible to cease from sense enjoyment. The process of restriction from sense enjoyment by rules and regulations is something like restricting a diseased person from certain types of eatables. The patient, however, neither likes such restrictions, nor loses his taste for eatables...But one who has tasted the beauty of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, in the course of his advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no longer has a taste for dead material things... When one is actually Kṛṣṇa conscious, he automatically loses his taste for pale things.” 

One can cultivate this higher taste of Krishna consciousness simply by faith and thereby seeking association of devotees who are practicing Krishna consciousness. Just like one becomes addictive drunkard by associating with expert drunkards, one can cultivate the higher taste of Krishna consciousness by associating with those who are already on that platform. By the power of devotee association, one practices a life of Krishna consciousness and gradually attains the higher taste of Krishna consciousness, which alone can help us overcome all ulterior addictions.

To summarize,

  1. To cultivate good habits, develop mode of goodness by the 3-stage process starting with hearing about the Supreme Lord Krishna

  2. To maintain resolutions, drive the lust away from within by strengthening your spiritual intelligence and mind.

  3. To overcome addictions, cultivate higher taste of Krishna consciousness

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