Crushing the devil within is a lifetime job.
Are power-hungry underground groups like the Illuminati plotting to rule mankind by establishing the New World Order? Was 9-11 an Al-Qaeda terrorist attack, or did the Bush administration help orchestrate the entire incident to justify military policy in the Middle East? Half a century ago, did the US government cover up a UFO landing and alien interaction at Roswell, New Mexico? Was the AIDS virus created by the KGB as a means to reduce world population? Was Shakespeare, English language’s greatest writer, really responsible for the body of works that bear his name, or were they actually authored by other people? We could go on, but suffice it to say that the modern world is riddled with conspiracy theories which seem to multiply by the day. As the plot thickens, how do we know what to believe? Will our painstaking research lead to any concrete conclusions?
Who knows, the theories themselves could even be part of a bigger conspiracy to confuse people and make us doubt everything! On the other hand, even if they are true, what can we do to change the state of affairs? If the higher echelons of society are directing the future of the world in smoke-filled rooms, it’s unlikely that our whistle-blowing will be taken that seriously. Having said that, there is an argument for the necessity of critical thinking in a world which we could label “the cheaters and the cheated.”
There is, however, one conspiracy that we can all be sure of. It’s a conspiracy a little closer to home, and a conspiracy which has been going on since our first breath in this world. The Bhagavad-gita explains that the uncontrolled mind, the lower nature within, is conspiring against us on a moment-to-moment basis. Tempting and distracting us while simultaneously posing as a friend, our lower nature, which you can identify as the ‘devilish voice within,’ is actually conspiring to divert us from the most progressive, pragmatic and fulfilling path in life. Krishna explains that only through spiritual acumen and unbreakable determination can we transform that lower nature, and bring the mind under control such that it becomes our best friend. This brings true freedom, where one is guided by intelligence instead of instinct. The project to conquer the mind requires focus, tenacity, perseverance and incredible drive. It’s a lifetime’s mission, and we need to utilize all the time we have. This is the inside story, the story of the enemy within, the story of the conspirator that we may well have forgotten about.
Sutapa Dasa is a resident monk at Bhaktivedanta Manor, ISKCON UK’s headquarters. Visit his blog