By Romapada Swami
The process of retraction of bad habits can be summed up as follows: Recognition, Regret, Rectification, and Reinstatement – aided by saintly association and devotional practices. Retraction of bad habits was compared by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura as being synonymous to the jiva’s returning back to the spiritual world, because in effect these bad habits are nothing but the binding effects of our long material association and past activities. The first step in overcoming this material conditioning is of course to recognize the bad habits themselves. This recognition should be accompanied by sincere regret followed by firm resolve to give up the habit. But often we find that despite being aware and regretful for their habits, many people are unable to avoid their sinful tendencies, because of the lack of proper effort. It takes great commitment sustained over time to accomplish the result.