Even when we can’t avoid sensual perception, we can avoid sensual imagination

We live in a world rife with temptation. Such temptation can deceive and degrade us at any moment. Given that we can neither remove temptation from the world nor live with closed eyes, we may wonder: how can we resist temptation?

By understanding how temptation attacks, as outlined in the Bhagavad-gita (02.62): from perception comes contemplation, as we start investing our imagination in the tempting object we perceive; then comes fascination, as our imagination fantasizes how enjoyable that object will be; then comes obsession, when our imagination makes that object seem irresistible; then comes infuriation, when our imagination rails against anything that obstructs our enjoyment. Then (02.63) delusion, oblivion and stupefaction follow as sensual fantasies fill our consciousness, driving out anything that might deter us from indulgence: our higher values, our scriptural knowledge, our past disappointments with indulgence. With our consciousness captivated, we soon succumb to self-destructive indulgence. The fuel that propels our consciousness from perception to self-destruction is imagination. 

How can we avoid imagining about sense objects? By giving our imagination something else to imagine and by giving our intelligence wisdom to analyze sensual pleasure. Essentially, our consciousness gets invested in anything by two primary ways: the mind’s imagination or the intelligence’s analysis. 

Gita wisdom empowers our intelligence to analyze the deceptiveness of sensual pleasure, thereby deterring our sensual imagination. And Gita wisdom reveals a beautiful conception of God, the all-attractive supreme Krishna, with whom we can joyfully engage our imagination in various creative forms such as music, dance, drama, poetry and painting. When our imagination is thus constructively engaged, it doesn’t run off so forcefully toward sensual fantasies. 

The more we invest our consciousness in Krishna through both analysis and imagination, the less sensual perception will trigger sensual imagination, and the more we will be protected from temptation.   


Think it over:

  • How is imagination the fuel that drives our consciousness from perception to degradation?
  • How can we avoid imagining about sense objects?
  • How does Gita wisdom protect us from sensual temptation?

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