Suppose we had a serious enemy out to destroy us. We couldn’t afford to take them lightly; we would need to treat them with respect. Respect not in the sense that we bow down, but in the sense that we raise our guard. By forcing us to improve our defenses and increase our strength, our enemy may make us better, despite having no intention to do so.
We all have an enemy within us: our dark side. This dark side is comprised of our lust, anger, greed, envy, arrogance and illusion. Such dark drives are stored as impressions in our mind. If we come under our mind’s control, the dark impressions therein can make us act regrettably, even reprehensibly.
Because this dark side is inside us, it is like an enemy who has infiltrated us. We need to respect that dark side – respect not by submitting to it, but by guarding against it so that it doesn’t take control of us and pervert us.
Thankfully, along with the dark side, we also have a bright side – our spiritual essence, our potential divinity as parts of the supreme divinity. If we take the responsibility to connect with the supreme and unleash our divinity, we become agents of positive change in the world. While this sublime potential is always present, we don’t usually strive to manifest it. Only when we realize how degraded our dark side can make us, we commit ourselves to connect with the divine, thereby initially restraining our dark side and then purging ourselves of it.
Acknowledging that inside us lie both our dark side that we need to restrain and our bright side that we need to release, the Bhagavad-gita (06.05) urges us to not degrade ourselves with our dark side, but elevate ourselves with our bright side.[ bhagavad-gita ] [ greed ] [ ignorance ] [ illusion ] [ maya ] [ mind ]