If we are defeated by temptation, it doesn’t mean we can’t win — it just means we can’t win alone

Suppose we resolve to reject a temptation, but fail, and fail repeatedly. We may become disheartened thinking, “I can never win against this temptation.” 

Our conclusion is true only as long as we are fighting alone, relying solely on our own intelligence and willpower. But we don’t have to fight alone. In fact, we are never meant to be alone; we are souls, who are eternal parts of the all-attractive Whole, Krishna (Bhagavad-gita 15.07). When our consciousness becomes disconnected from him, our mind and senses start tempting and tormenting us. 

In fact, our vulnerability to temptation is meant to help us realize that we need Krishna. If we could resist temptation on our own, we might presume that we have become spiritually advanced while missing the essence of spiritual advancement: loving absorption in Krishna. When we strive to become absorbed by practicing bhakti-yoga, we gain access to sublime spiritual satisfaction, thereby decreasing the lure of temptation. Over time, irresistible-seeming temptations become resistible when we surrender to Krishna (07.14). 

Integral to surrendering to Krishna is taking shelter of the association of those devoted to him. Devotees delight in sharing remembrances of Krishna (10.09). And we can leverage the power of association in our war against temptation. If we can find a trustworthy like-minded devotee with whom we can share our struggles, they can act as our accountability partner. The knowledge that we will have to report our lapses to them can keep us on track. And in our moments of weakness, they can help us see through the spell of illusion. 

When we thus see temptation as a reminder of our isolation from Krishna and strive to connect with him, the war against temptation will gradually become more winnable. 

Think it over:

  • What does our inability to win against temptation signify?
  • How can we leverage the power of association in our war against temptation?
  • Do you fight temptation alone? How can you change that?

***

15.07 The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.

 

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