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 to the precepts laid down by Lord Krishn?
Sri Krishn’s answer to the question is provided in the following verses.
Lord Krishn sings:
“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 adds:
“And, O son of Kunti,
even wise men’s discrimination is engulfed by desire,
insatiable like fire and their perpetual enemy “
So far Lord 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.
Lord 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 of discrimination.”
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.
“So, O the best of Bharat (Arjun),
first subdue the senses and kill determinedly this desire,
the heinous destroyer of both spiritual and physical knowledge.’’
Above all, Arjun must control the senses because his 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 Arjun must subdue his senses and kill this sinful desire which ravages both knowledge of the unmanifest Spirit and knowledge of the physical world. However, he cannot storm them directly; he has 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 his disposal which a man can use to fight against the enemy.
Lord Krishn adds:
“Above senses there is the mind and above mind there is the intellect,
and the one which lies above all of them is the Soul within,
supremely powerful and yet subtle.”
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.
Lord Krishn concludes:
“Therefore, O the mighty-armed,
knowing the Soul-subtle and in every respect mighty and meritorious,
restrain the mind with your intellect and kill this desire,
your most formidable enemy.”
Possessed of knowledge of the unmanifest and yet mighty Soul that is beyond intellect, and after a due appraisal of his innate strength and restraining the mind with his intellect, Arjun must slay desire, his worst enemy. Arjun has to kill this enemy after a proper scrutiny of his inherent capacity.
Desire is a terrible foe, for it deludes the Soul through the senses. So knowing his strength and with confidence in the might of his Soul, Arjun should kill this desire-his 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.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~