Onlookers in the rustic Palashi, a village in Bengal thought, “This is a no battle; what can mere 3,500 men do against our Nawab with an imposing army of over 60,000!” Yet Robert Clive marched confidently with his relatively negligible East India company army. The historic Battle of Plassey was about to begin. “It surely is a non-starter” thought the unintelligent.
As expected, the war got over in a few hours; but the result was reverse of what a commoner expected.
Clive lost only twenty men while the Nawab, Siaj ud Daulah, despite more men, and better cannons, lost the battle, and escaped for his life. But he was soon arrested, and killed.
The Nawab’s commander-in-chief Mir Jafar was bribed by Clive, and he was the enemy in disguise. He, along with the Nawab’s 50,000 infantry, betrayed their master. The British took over Bengal, and soon the whole of India would be under its subjugation.
A good army is not only well equipped with the latest weapons and strong men, it also employs intelligent spies to weaken the enemy from within. A known enemy is relatively easy to confront but the attack is more lethal when it’s from within; when the enemy is undetected, he can cause greater havoc. Similarly as we attempt to come closer to God through our sincere spiritual practices, we have declared an open war against the illusory force called Maya.
Maya however, like Clive, is confident, and she often has the last laugh, because she has our key men-mind and intelligence-on her side. She is determined to keep us entangled in material activities while our souls hanker to reunite with God in the spiritual realm. The war is real as daily temptations and distractions of various kinds threaten to pull us away from our spiritual discipline.
Many sincere spiritualists keep a fixed regimen and carefully march ahead on their journey to God. Yet the enemy of Maya hasn’t given up.
Maya employs secret agents and spies to wreck us from within. Her biggest agents who reside in our body are the mind and intelligence. They often go unnoticed. Often they appear as friends, and diligently plant bombs of doubts and dissensions from within. If we are not careful to see the evil ploy of the enemy, we’d be thrown away from the path of Bhakti.
If caught and exposed, the spies become ineffective; if we are attentive in our practice of Bhakti Yoga, we would see the enemies within. If we are not attentive, like the Nawab we’d imagine the Mir Jafar like mind to be our friend. And soon, we’d be vanquished.
The best way we apprehend the enemy is by attention and association; attention in our spiritual practices helps us see our mind from an aerial view and know how we are being cheated. And association of sincere devotees of Krishna helps us check our motivations. It’s like being packed up together to face the enemy from within. When we reveal our struggles to another devotee or confess our shortcomings, we stay humble and the sinister plot of the enemy is busted.
Maya would then lose her grip on us, and we’d stay in control of our lives. We’d then be able to offer our tender hearts to Krishna with feelings of love and gratitude.