Just as the Bhagavad Gita highlights the best qualities that will bring about a life of fulfilment, it also clearly spotlights those negativities that can bring about our downfall. It tells us of the thin line between the bright side and the dark, and drives home the importance of alertness. Krishna’s warning is loud and clear - work on these or else! This also serves as encouragement to do whatever is needed to lose these terrible traits.
In the fourth verse of the 16th chapter of the Gita, Krishna mentions six toxic traits that are to be dropped at all costs. He even describes them as demonic or evil. Get set for a good soul search, and if you find these within, pay heed to the advice given to overcome them.
To say one thing and do another.
To lecture others on how to be, without following that advice oneself.
To be a two-faced ‘do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do’ person.
Easier on yourself than on others. Double standards—one set for oneself and one set for others.
DO THIS: When you are dishonest to yourself, let someone know and do something really tough to make up for it.
Thinking oneself to be better than others.
Causes divisions, discrimination and prejudice which can destroy relationships.
It is good to have self-esteem but that should be kept to oneself. Then it is confidence. When that becomes something that we feel we should show to others, that becomes arrogance.
DO THIS: Have a mentor whose guidance and advice mean a lot to you. It’s humbling.
Also includes vanity and to an extent delusion too.
One who thinks better of oneself than they should.
If we spend most of our mental energy on ourselves, then what is left for contemplation on greater things? What concern can we then have for others?
DO THIS: Every single day, note down one good point about three different people.
Includes guilt and even pride when it comes to owning up and apologising.
It is far too easy to come under the grip of anger.
Isn’t it true that we actually FEEL ugly when we are angry?
We should remain in control of our temper, and not vice versa.
DO THIS: Regularly do things that make you happy and cheerful. Start and end the day in such cheer.
Sometimes it’s not just our words that are harsh but also our behaviour.
Brushing past someone, pushing and looking coldly are all examples of harsh behaviour. Gentle manners are always appreciated.
When we don’t even treat ourselves with harshness then what makes us feel others would be okay to receive that treatment?
DO THIS: Spend more time with wise senior citizens and adorable kids!
When the mind and intellect are veiled so that knowledge is not able to shine through.
Becomes worse when we make no attempt to bring ourselves out of it.
Dullness and inertia don’t allow us to attempt to practise positive values.
Other negativities feed off it and multiply. That’s why ignorance is the most toxic trait of them all.
DO THIS: Involve yourself in workshops, classes and activities based on values and personal development.
So there we go! We have been warned. And now the onus is on us to locate these enemy qualities and destroy them, as advised by the warrior Krishna to his warrior-friend Arjuna. Vijayi bhava!