Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Relationships
What keeps relationships beautiful and alive
Let noble thoughts come to us from everywhere — The Vedas
If our minds and hearts are receptive enough, noble thoughts can indeed “come to us from everywhere.”
Every text teaches us something. For me, the Bhagavad Gita has been my constant companion, guiding me in all areas of life.
I was recently thinking about the intricate web of relationships that we are all surrounded by in our lifetimes. Because, while relationships can be simple and beautiful, they can also be challenging and complex.
Relationships are about being with and serving the other, just as much as they are about being yourself and serving the self. Perhaps, then, the most challenging part of relationships is to strike that balance between serving the other as you continue to serve the self.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says every act must be done as service to Him, which essentially means that everything that you do for the other is nothing but service to a Higher Force.
On a daily basis that approach may be possible by very evolved and magnanimous souls, who can “see God in everyone”. For most of us regular mortals, we simply see human beings as human beings, and thus may neglect certain relationships if they seem too tiresome, or move away from them altogether.
When such moments arise, it’s time once again to flip through the verses of the Bhagavad Gita, and take advice from the words of Lord Krishna, who urged Arjuna to fulfil his duty — or dharma — as a warrior on the battlefield.
As Lord Krishna motivated Arjuna to pursue his life purpose, he also gave him valuable nuggets of wisdom, some of which can help enhance relationships too… Here are some select verses on relationships, along with my interpretation of them.
In the beginning the creator created human beings together with selfless service (Seva, sacrifice) and said: By serving each other you shall prosper and the sacrificial service shall fulfill all your desires. (3.10)
Yes, we’re “all connected” like is often said in the popular web series Manifest. And, we’ve come together, not just to fulfil our own life purposes, but to also enable the life journeys of others. We’re all part of the same “Lifeboat,” and by saving the other, we save ourselves.
Seva or selfless service is the ability to carry out our duty or responsibility toward the other, without expecting anything in return, safe in the knowledge that all acts move toward a greater good.
King Janaka and others attained perfection of Self-realization by selfless service (Karma-yoga) alone. You should also perform your duty with a view to guide people, and for the welfare of the society. (3.20)
The famous King Janaka was known to be a multi-faceted personality, who enjoyed the luxuries of life, just as much as he enjoyed learning about yoga and conducting philanthropic activities in his kingdom.
The message then is to not stop being yourself, but to always keep the welfare of the people at the centre of all your activities. Enrich yourself as a service to others, and be a beacon of light, sharing your wealth of goodness with those around you.
The forces of Nature do all works. But due to delusion of ignorance people assume themselves to be the doer. (3.27)
Yes, we are not the doers, but mere actors or messengers, simply playing the role we’re given for the few years we spend on this land. Nature has and will exist long before and after us.
Why then does ego come into play, making us think — we did this or didn’t do that…he/she did this or didn’t do that? If we understood that the doer is not the doer, but merely life teaching us something, all misunderstandings in relationships would subside.
Humility, modesty, nonviolence, forgiveness, honesty, service to guru, purity of thought, word, and deed, steadfastness, self-control; and aversion towards sense objects, absence of ego, constant reflection on pain and suffering inherent in birth, old age, disease, and death; (13.07–08)
All these qualities are not just essential to improve our lives, but to improve our relationships too. The more humble, modest and forgiving we are, the more peaceful we will be.
With a spirit of service, attention to all we do and say, as well as continuous introspection on the physical, emotional or mental angst we may feel, are ways to know ourselves better, and in turn know the other better too.
The knowledge by which one sees a single immutable Reality in all beings as undivided in the divided; such knowledge is in the mode of goodness. (18.20)
Yes, we’re all one big family…and being undivided always helps. This is the ultimate realisation for harmony in relationships, but, is only possible when when all ideas of “us” and “them”, or “us” vs “them” are erased.
Factions in society, caused due to personal gain, greed, politics, religion or anything else, are divisive, and prevent us from being part of a united whole. To realise our true potential as a collective should thus be the goal.
The agent who is free from attachment, is non-egotistic, endowed with resolve and enthusiasm, and unperturbed in success or failure is called good. (18.26)
Relationships are important, but we must still not be attached to them… A difficult task many would say, but an essential one nonetheless. We must give the relationship our all, but we must also be detached to the outcome.
Our job is merely to realise that we are but passengers on a train, each getting off at different destinations. Till we reach our designated destination, all we can do is lend a helping hand, sing a song of cheer, and bring as much enthusiasm to the moment as we can…till it’s finally time to depart!
If you’ve missed the previous blogs in the Lord Krishna series, here are the links to click on:
- Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Health
- Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Control over the Mind
- Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Decision-Making
- Lord Krishna’s Teachings for Better Control Over the Senses
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