One who rides a tiger into its lair becomes its dinner
Riding something that moves fast can be exhilarating. To get that thrill, many people drive bikes or horses at high speed.
But suppose a person chooses to ride a tiger, mistaking it to be a carrier animal, and the tiger runs full-speed towards its lair. A fool might find the ride thrilling, but a sensible person would find it horrifying: once the tiger reaches its lair, the rider will become its dinner.
The Bhagavad-gita (03.37) declares lust to be all-devouring enemy (maha-ashanah). It can be compared to a ravenous tiger. When we become lusty, initially we feel excited, stimulated and accelerated – as if we were riding a fleet-footed animal that promises to take us to destination enjoyment.
However, as lust increases, it deadens us to our intelligence and our conscience. Metaphorically speaking, the tiger of lust takes us away towards it lair, degraded mentalities and localities, where anything goes in the name of pleasure. Lust proposes increasingly perverse ideas of what constitutes enjoyment, and we agree even when those indulgences bring suffering upon others and ultimately even on ourselves.
When lust thus devours us, we don’t die because as souls we are indestructible. But we suffer a fate worse than death – the full brunt of karmic consequences. And one ghastly consequence is that we stay trapped in the lair of lust to be devoured again and again. Being as if morally dead, we repeat our misdeeds, even perverting them more in the hope of pleasure.
Gita wisdom offers us the way out through devotional service. By diligently remembering and enthusiastically serving Krishna, we get a better thrill – the thrill of moving high speed towards him. The more we relish that thrill, the more the thrill of lust loses its lure, and we break free from its lair.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.”