Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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COMING OF AGE #16 – I, Me, Mine – Field!
By Yudhisthira Dasa   |  Jun 09, 2024

There’s one thing about minefields. They are dangerous. The “I, Me, Mine” mentality is arguably more deadly to our spiritual progress, even if compared to the dangers of traversing an explosive minefield during a war.

There’s a famous story of Srila Prabhupada on a cold and damp morning walk with his walking cane. There were many puddles with a crust of frozen water. Prabhupada struck and broke through the ice with his cane, one after another, saying something to the effect that water in its natural state is liquid, not frozen. And that, like ice, living in a materially conditioned state in this world is similarly not our natural state, which is full of eternity, knowledge, and bliss.

In the conditioned state, we are like children building sandcastles that keep washing away. As the saying goes, “Time and tide wait for no man.” This explains Prabhupada’s sense of compassion and urgency to help spiritually awaken as many fallen conditioned souls as possible and transcend the “I, Me, Mine” mentality we all know too well.

Identifying with the body, mind, personality, and all the extensions and extrapolations of the disease of “I, Me, Mine” is a struggle for survival … literally and figuratively!

Here are some examples of the materially conditioned state appearing before us in ourselves and others:

1. SPEECH AND EMAILS – If we find ourselves speaking or writing about others in a judgmentally critical way just for the sake of speaking about someone else, we can ask ourselves if the words are coming from our eternal loving self or from our minds and egos, which is sadly often the case. A symptom of attachments to these behavior patterns is thinking our opinions are more important than others.

2. MONEY AND POSSESSIONS – Ideally, we mature spiritually by seeing all we possess as a blessing from Krishna and, because of that, develop the consciousness that we are not the true possessor of anything. And, as a wise friend of mine who lives in Vrindavan shared, “It is not about how much we give, but about how much we hold back!”

3. FAME, ADORATION, DISTINCTION – Srila Prabhupada taught how conditioned souls doggedly seek fame, adoration, and distinction (FAD) at every opportunity. This is a reflection of our material conditioning (mind, false ego, personality, etc.) and not a reflection of our eternal nature.

4. RELATIONSHIPS – Our consciousness (material and spiritual) affects all our relationships, with these relationships arguably being the most important and essential energetic aspect of life. If we center our relationships on our false ego (and the conditional and materially temporary attempts we make to control our environment and what happens to us), we are doomed to struggle and suffer in this illusory world. But take the “I, Me, and Mine” out of the equation, and we will be much happier in all our relationships.


Language is important. Words matter. In humility, let us all reduce the doomed-to-fail “I, me, and mine” consciousness and replace it with appreciation and gratitude, the stepping stones toward love.

Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of ISKCON or ISKCON News.