Are we sending our intelligence on a vacation?
Imagine a person who has a priceless treasure carefully protected by a competent guard. Suppose a thief persuades the owner to send the guard on a vacation and then steals the treasure. We would consider such an owner to be tragically gullible, wouldn’t we?
And yet might we ourselves be like that naïve owner?
All of us have the priceless treasure of our integrity, our commitment to live according to spiritual and moral principles. Protecting this treasure is an irreplaceable inner guard, our scripture-based intelligence. By enabling us to foresee the long-term consequences of our actions, our intelligence reminds us of the necessity of principle-centered living and thereby protects our integrity. The desire for immoral pleasures is like a cunning thief who persuades us to send our intelligence on a vacation and then plunders our integrity.
Let’s understand how this devastating deception occurs.
The Bhagavad-gita (02.62)(02.63) indicates that when we dwell on an enjoyable-seeming object, the desire for that object enters our consciousness and allures us with the promise of enjoyment. When we start getting taken in by the promise, our intelligence competently guards us by warning: “This indulgence will violate your integrity and bring suffering in the long run; don’t do it.” However, the desire whispers artfully, “This guard is a killjoy who will never let you have a good time. Just get rid of the spoilsport for now.” If we trust the desire more than the intelligence, we send the intelligence on a vacation. Thus we set ourselves up to be robbed of our integrity.
How can we avoid being thus swindled?
By training ourselves to trust our intelligence more than our desires and by learning to evaluate our desires with our intelligence and not our intelligence with our desires.
“While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.”
“From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.”