Respond to the fire of desire not with fright but with fight

Suppose a novice firefighter is faced with the task of dousing a huge fire. The sight of the conflagration may overwhelm him – instead of raising the water hose to extinguish the fire, he may drop it in panic. A seasoned firefighter may also feel apprehensive on seeing the fire, but soon the training and experience triggers within him the necessary actions for fighting it. And the more seasoned the firefighter, the quicker will be the activation of the right reflexes.

The Bhagavad-gita (03.39) compares lust to a fire. This sensual fire burns down our intelligence, conscience and devotion, thereby impelling us towards immoral indulgences.

Sensual fire burns down our intelligence, conscience and devotion, thereby impelling us towards immoral indulgences.

Our daily diligent practice of bhakti is our firefighting training. And our experiences of the ultimate frustration resulting from sense gratification and the eventual fulfillment coming from devotional absorption are our firefighting experience. This training and experience progressively make us seasoned spiritual firefighters. The defining difference between novice and seasoned spiritual firefighters is in their response to sensual fire.

When we are spiritual novices, we respond to the triggering of sensual fire with fear and resignation. Imagining the desire to be too strong to resist, we give in to it. But the more we become seasoned through diligent bhakti practice, the more we respond to the fire with not trepidation but determination. We quickly use the hose of absorption in higher, devotional engagements to douse the fire of lower desire.

Even if our reflexes presently impel us towards sense gratification instead of devotion, every moment that we strive to absorb ourselves in Krishna during our directly devotional activities, we are retraining our reflexes. The more diligently we engage in this retraining, the more quickly we will be able to respond to the sensual fire with fighting spirit and douse it, by determinedly absorbing ourselves in Krishna.

 

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Fear is not the problem – fear of what comes after fear is
We can’t fly in the sky without breaking our shell

Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

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2 Comments

  1. Hare Krishna!!
    Very nice explanation Prabhuji.
    Thanks.

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  2. Prabhuji, a very nice article explaining the principle with a nice analogy comparing fire fighting to sensual fire. Very practical for our personal application.

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