No enemy is as dangerous as the one we are blind to
An army would be endangered by an invading enemy, but it would be far more endangered by a spy in its own ranks, for the army would be alert to the aggressors’ advances, but blind to the spy’s slyness. Catching it off-guard, the spy could sabotage its defenses and make it easy prey for the invaders.
When we start practicing spiritual life, we become alert to the forces of illusion. These forces aim to wreck our purified consciousness by alluring us with tempting worldly objects. Knowing that worldly objects can delude and degrade us, we guard against them.
But the forces of illusion have an insidious agent right inside us: our own lust, our selfish desire for sensual indulgence. When such desire pops up within us and promises us pleasure, it frequently catches us off-guard. Why? Because firstly, we are prepared for enemies outside, not inside; we tend to think, “Any desire inside me is my desire – not an enemy’s instigation.” Secondly, it promises us pleasure. As we are innately pleasure-seeking, its promise makes us lower our guard. And it sabotages our intelligence and conscience. The very same object that we would have earlier guarded against, we now warmly welcome, even actively pursue. We succumb to sensuality, immorality, even perversity, being felled by the inner enemy we were blind to.
Alerting us to this danger, the Bhagavad-gita (03.37) underscores lust’s viciousness and voraciousness. Significantly, Gita wisdom guides us ahead from maintaining inner caution to cultivating inner devotion. It encourages us to practice bhakti-yoga and invoke within our heart the presence of all-attractive Krishna.
When bhakti practice makes us absorbed in Krishna’s remembrance and service, we become protected not just by our inner alertness, but also by the sublime devotional absorption that gradually makes lust’s lures pale and stale.
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