On determination…

Is determination good for you?

Yes and no.

Depends on your type of determination, says Sri Krishna.

धृत्या यया धारयते मन:प्राणेन्द्रियक्रिया: |
योगेनाव्यभिचारिण्या धृति: सा पार्थ सात्त्विकी || 33||

dhṛityā yayā dhārayate manaḥ-prāṇendriya-kriyāḥ
yogenāvyabhichāriṇyā dhṛitiḥ sā pārtha sāttvikī

The steadfast willpower that is developed through Yog, and which sustains the activities of the mind, the prānā, and the senses, O Parth, is said to be determination in the mode of goodness.

Dhṛiti (determination) is the inner strength of our mind and intellect to persevere on our path despite difficulties and obstacles. Dhṛiti is what keeps our vision focused toward the goal, and mobilizes the latent powers of the body, mind, and intellect to overcome apparently insurmountable impasses on the journey.

Sri Krishna now moves on to describe the three kinds of determination. Through the practice of Yog, the mind becomes disciplined and develops the capacity to rule over the senses and the body. The steadfast willpower that develops when one learns to control the senses, discipline the prānā, and control the mind is sāttvic dhṛiti (determination in the good sense).

यया तु धर्मकामार्थान्धृत्या धारयतेऽर्जुन |
प्रसङ्गेन फलाकाङ् क्षी धृति: सा पार्थ राजसी || 34||

yayā tu dharma-kāmārthān dhṛityā dhārayate ‘rjuna
prasaṅgena phalākāṅkṣhī dhṛitiḥ sā pārtha rājasī

The steadfast willpower by which one holds on to duty, pleasures, and wealth, out of attachment and desire for rewards, O Arjun, is determination in the mode of passion.

Determination is not found exclusively in yogis. Worldly-minded people are also staunchly determined in their pursuits. However, their determination is fanned by their desire to delight in the fruits of their efforts. They are focused on enjoying sensual pleasures, acquiring wealth, etc. And since money is the means for acquiring these, such people cling to money for their very life. Sri Krishna says that determination fueled by the desire for enjoying rewards is in the mode of passion.

यया स्वप्नं भयं शोकं विषादं मदमेव च |
न विमुञ्चति दुर्मेधा धृति: सा पार्थ तामसी || 35||

yayā svapnaṁ bhayaṁ śhokaṁ viṣhādaṁ madam eva cha
na vimuñchati durmedhā dhṛitiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī

That unintelligent resolve is said to be determination in the mode of ignorance, in which one does not give up dreaming, fearing, grieving, despair, and conceit.

Determination is seen in the unintelligent and ignorant too. But it is the obstinacy that arises from fear, despair, and pride. For instance, some people are victims of a fear-complex, and it is interesting to see how they hold on to it with great willpower, as if it is an inseparable part of their personality. There are others who make their life a living hell because they cling to some past disappointment and refuse to let go of it, despite observing its ruinous impact upon them. Some insist upon quarreling with all who hurt their ego and its imagined conception of themselves. Sri Krishna states that determination based upon such stubborn clinging to unproductive thoughts is in the mode of ignorance.

So it’s good that you are determined…but to what end? Is your determination sāttvikī, rājasī or tāmasī?

What have you chosen as your object of possible attainment? Is it control over the senses, or fruits of your efforts, or fueling your own ego?

Think about it. See you tomorrow!