Don’t just punish lust-dominated individuals; purify lust-tormented individuals
The Bhagavad-gita’s flow contains many leaps of thought that when understood using the commentaries of devotionally adept Gita teachers provide precious insights into life and living. As an example, let’s consider the connection between the Gita’s third and fourth chapters.
The third chapter ends (03.43) with a call to conquer lust by rising to the spiritual level of reality using one’s intelligence. The fourth chapter begins (04.01) with a description of how since the dawn of creation the eternal knowledge of yoga was passed down through a succession of rulers.
What is the connection?
Srila Prabhupada’s purport illumines: “The kings of all planets are especially meant for the protection of the inhabitants, and therefore the royal order should understand the science of Bhagavad-gita in order to be able to rule the citizens and protect them from material bondage to lust … by education, culture and devotion.”
The connection, then, is the understanding that society cannot leave the individual unsupported in battling individual weaknesses like lust. It must provide cultural, educational and devotional support systems for the individual to purify oneself, thus becoming strong enough to combat weaknesses. Purifying oneself by connecting with the source of all purity, the Supreme Absolute Truth, Krishna, is the essence of yoga. To ensure that yogic knowledge is available to the individual, Krishna from the dawn of creation creates systems for giving the knowledge of yoga to rulers. They can, according to time-place-circumstance, set up appropriate social support systems for empowering individuals. Unfortunately, today’s society intervenes only to punish lust-ruled criminals, not to purify lust-tormented people struggling to resist base temptations.
But this is a reactive approach whose ineffectiveness is underscored by the increasing frequency of sexual crimes. The Gita’s recommendation of social empowerment of the individual shows the way to a more proactive approach.
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