Contemplation on temptation changes our disposition from zero tolerance to zero resistance

Suppose a country that is being overrun by illegal immigrants has adopted a zero tolerance approach at immigration. But suppose some illegal immigrants approach the border and start talking with the guards there. And soon those guards let those immigrants through. If the immigrants could sweet-talk guards into changing their approach from zero tolerance to zero resistance, that sweet-talking ability would make those immigrants dangerous indeed.

Unhealthy temptations pose a similar danger at the entry-point of our consciousness. Having indulged in those temptations in the past and having found them unfulfilling at best and degrading at worst, we often resolve to adopt a zero tolerance approach toward them. Yet when that temptation knocks on the door of our consciousness, we soon find ourselves succumbing without even putting up a fight.

How does temptation change our disposition from zero tolerance to zero resistance? Because of its deceptively sweet appearance. It seems like nectar initially, despite being like poison eventually (Bhagavad-gita 18.38). When we contemplate temptation, we see only the initial nectar. That nectar seems so unobjectionable and enjoyable that resisting it seems like unnecessary self-deprivation. And we succumb.

When processing immigrants, guards need to focus on legal documents, not on sweet words. Similarly, when processing temptation, we need to focus on its eventual consequence, not its initial appearance.

How can we avoid being deluded by that initial appearance? By looking at temptation, if at all we need to look at it, with scriptural eyes, not physical eyes.

Additionally and more importantly, we need to use scriptural guidance to start contemplating the all-attractive supreme, Krishna. When such contemplation starts giving us sublime satisfaction, worldly temptations will start seeming like unwanted distractions from that divine absorption. Thus, we will get the conviction to stick to our zero tolerance approach toward temptation.

Think it over:

  • How does contemplating temptation change our disposition toward temptation?
  • How can we stick to our zero tolerance approach toward temptation?
  • Next time when you feel tempted, observe whether your disposition toward temptation changes or stays fixed. What can you learn from your observation?

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To best defend our consciousness from the world, first raise it above the world
Our tongue is like a loaded gun that we always carry within us
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3 Comments

  1. Haribol, please accept my humble obeissances. I feel inclined to comment on my favourite website. I am deeply saddened to read so called illegal immigrants being compared with unwanted temptations. I cannot help feeling this comparison is ignorant of time, place and circumstance. Furthermore the term ‘zero-tolerance’ evokes terminology uttered by current wordly and political forces. Shouldn’t we strive towards transcendence of our worldly urges in stead of so called zero tolerance? Prohibition seldom leads to purity, which is characterized by a ‘lack of interest’ in material cravings due to the experience of a ‘Higher Taste’. Please correct me where I am wrong. I just felt I had to communicate that this purport seemed to have the opposite effect on me than I hope was originally intended. Gita Daily has gained me so much insight already and I will always be grateful. This day just shocked me a bit. Thank you for reading. Hare Krishna

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    • Thanks for your comment. I am well aware of the current political situation and have used this metaphor for its relevance. Would we allow strangers to enter unrestricted in our houses? Then why should they be allowed in our countries? There is no so-called illegal about illegal immigrants – they are illegal. It is only because of the increased influx of illegal immigrants that even legal immigrants face difficulties. Gita daily is not going to pander to current notions of political correctness of those who want open borders and live in gated communities themselves.
      The comparison of sensual desires with illegal immigrants implies that just as legal immigrants are in a different category, so too we all can have healthy desires that fall in a different category.

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