Why does a man,
although like one who is dragged to something which he despises, act in sinful ways?
Why does he not conduct himself according
the precepts laid down?
And the most interesting is that normally we do not like to spare a single second to think upon this question which was raised by loving disciple Arjun to Lord Krishn in Bhagavad Gita.Why we feel afraid in exploring the answer of this question which is a necessary concern to entire mankind?
Lord Krishn answers:
“Know that desire arising out of the emotional property of nature (rajas) and insatiable as fire is the same as wrath;
and learn to recognize it as your most
wicked enemy in this world.”
Desire and wrath that spring from the natural property of passion have an insatiable appetite for sensual pleasure and are the most sinful. Desire and wrath are the complements of attachment and repugnance. So Arjun is warned that he must regard them as his most dangerous enemies. And now their deleterious effects are dwelt upon in next verse.
“As fire is enveloped by smoke, a mirror clouded with dust,
and a foetus hidden by the womb,
even so knowledge is engulfed by desire.”
Discrimination is obscured by the mantle of desire and wrath.If we burn damp wood, there is only smoke. There is fire, but it cannot leap into flame. A dust-covered mirror cannot give a clear image. Just so, when there exist the perversions known as desire and wrath, the mind cannot have a clear perception of God.
Lord Krishn sings further:
“And, O son of Kunti,
even wise men’s discrimination is engulfed by desire,
insatiable like fire and their perpetual enemy “
So far Sri Krishn has named two enemies, desire and wrath, but in this verse he mentions only one of them, namely, desire. In truth, the feeling of anger lies within desire. When a task is successfully completed anger subsides, but when desire is obstructed anger reappears. So anger resides at the heart of desire. It is important to know where the enemy hides, for knowing this will facilitate a total destruction of the enemy.
Sri Krishn expresses his view on the problem.
“Since the senses, mind, and intellect are the seats of desire,
it is through them that it deludes a being by clouding-his faculty
So we have the answer. Our worst foe dwells within our own senses, mind, and intellect. It is through them that desire envelops knowledge and deludes the embodied Soul.
Above all, we must control the senses because our enemy lies concealed within them. The enemy is within us and it will be futile to look for him outside. The war that has to be waged is internal; it has to be fought within the mind and heart. So we must subdue our senses and kill this sinful desire which ravages both knowledge of the unmanifest Spirit and knowledge of the physical world. However, we cannot storm them directly; we have first to lay siege to the stronghold of moral perversions itself by vanquishing the senses. But to restrain the senses and mind is most difficult. The success of this endeavour always appears doubtful.Sri Krishn dispels this pessimistic attitude by pointing out the many weapons at our disposal which a man can use to fight against the enemy. So man is not so helpless after all. He has an armoury of plentiful arms with which he can wage war with strength and confidence. He can use his mind against the senses, his intellect against the mind, and above all these there is his Soul, all powerful and yet unmanifest. That Soul is the real “us,” and so we are strong enough to subdue not only our senses, but also our mind and intellect.
Possessed of knowledge of the unmanifest and yet mighty Soul that is beyond intellect, and after a due appraisal of our innate strength and restraining the mind with our intellect, we must slay desire, our worst enemy. We have to kill this enemy after a proper scrutiny of our inherent capacity. Desire is a terrible foe, for it deludes the Soul through the senses. So knowing our strength and with confidence in the might of our Soul, we should kill this desire-our enemy. Of course, this enemy is internal and the war to be waged against it is also internal- of the sphere of the mind and heart.
Bow down in lotus feet of revered Gurudev for imparting such learning to me.