When we indulge indiscriminately in sensual pleasures, we experience their actual nature. They are insubstantial, lasting for just a few moments; and miserable, subjecting us repeatedly to the torment of aggravated desires. Yet such pleasures, being hyped incessantly by today’s culture, keep alluring us. If we could just remember their true nature, we could reject them.
Unfortunately however, our mind specializes in forgetfulness. The Bhagavad-gita (06.34) states that the mind is obstinate – it stubbornly rejects everything that exposes the reality about its favorite sensual pleasures. This mulishness comes into play when we are confronted with sensual pleasures and try to recollect their nature. The mind subtly but swiftly shifts our focus to their seductive appearance, thereby persuading us to indulge in them.
To protect ourselves, we need to take shelter of something stronger than the mind: Krishna, our all-pure, all-powerful, all-attractive Lord. He is the super-specialist in facilitating remembrance. He manifests in many attractive and accessible manifestations such as Deities, holy names and wisdom-texts, which help keep our consciousness devotionally directed towards him.
When we practice bhakti-yoga diligently, our consciousness connects consistently with Krishna. Gradually, that connection becomes habitual, natural and relishable. Thereafter, whenever sensual pleasure allures us, we needn’t first struggle to remember its actual nature. Why not? Because such struggle keeps us in material consciousness, within the mind’s jurisdiction. Instead, we can first strive to remember Krishna, which raises our consciousness to the spiritual level, taking it beyond the mind’s jurisdiction. Remembrance of Krishna grants taste and wisdom: taste to relish spiritual happiness, and wisdom to perceive sensual pleasure’s emptiness and deceptiveness. This two-pronged counter-attack dissipates whatever oblivion the mind induces.
Over time, bhakti-yoga practice transforms our mind, making it attached to Krishna. When our mind becomes thus reformed, resisting temptation becomes easier, and spiritual life becomes effortless and joyful.
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