If we repeatedly let our mind take us to hell, eventually it won’t let us come back

Addicts often live in their own mental hell. Their mind subjects them to tormenting emotions: unbearable cravings, crippling self-flagellation, utter hopelessness. 

How do addicts enter such a hell? They aren’t born as addicts; no one is. People slide into addiction by small indulgences that gradually increase in quantity and frequency. Eventually, the urge to indulge becomes irresistible, making their life unbearable. Being lured and lulled by their devilish mind, they unwittingly enter hell. 

We may not be addicts, but our mind too can take us to hell, which can connote both a level of reality and a level of consciousness. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (16.21) identifies lust, anger and greed as the gates to hell. A lusty mind fantasizes how to enjoy illicit sensual liaisons; an angry mind fantasizes how to cold-bloodedly destroy one’s enemies; a greedy mind fantasizes how to unethically get immense wealth. If we entertain such fantasies, we unwittingly let our consciousness enter hell, albeit temporarily. Each successive time we entertain those fantasies, we go deeper and longer into hell. Eventually, when life presents an opportunity to act out one of those fantasies, we succumb. And once a dark fantasy transmogrifies into a gory reality, we get sucked into a web of delusion, deception and degradation – we are trapped in hell.

How can we avoid this trap? By knowing that our mind can be our enemy (06.06) and refusing to entertain its hellish fantasies. Resisting the mind is tough, but redirecting it makes things easier. By practicing bhakti-yoga, we can strive to take our mind to paradise, ultimately to all-pure Krishna. When we thus bask in Krishna’s presence, one day, our consciousness will become so devotionally absorbed as to never return to this world of temptation.  

 

Think it over:

  • How do addicts live in a mental hell? How do they get there?
  • How can our mind take us to hell?
  • Does your mind conjure any hellish fantasy? How can you resist and redirect your mind? 

 

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06.06 For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.

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