Purification means that sensual contemplation stops; determination means that we stop sensual contemplation
To grow spiritually and live meaningfully, we need to regulate sensual indulgence. For such regulation, we had best begin in the beginning: by minimizing our contemplation on tempting objects.
However, despite our best intentions, sensual contemplation often goes on within us. To avoid being demoralized by this, we can differentiate between two landmarks in our inner journey. Thereby, we can discern where we are on that journey and know what we can expect at that stage. Those two landmarks are purification and determination.
Purification: At this stage, our consciousness has been cleansed of impurities. Even if we perceive sense objects externally, we don’t feel allured by them or contemplate them. Why? Because our consciousness is enriched by the presence of the infinite divinity, Krishna, who is all-attractive, all-loving and all-joyful. Krishna’s presence expands our consciousness, making it oceanic; therein, the inflow of river-like sensual stimuli doesn’t trigger an overflow of sensual craving (02.70). Thus, sensual contemplation stops automatically because sense objects no longer tempt us.
Determination: If we aren’t yet purified, we feel strongly allured by tempting objects. Whenever we perceive anything enticing, that perception triggers immediate, intense and indiscriminate contemplation on that object, eventually impelling us to indulge. To prevent such bingeing, we need determination to consciously and conscientiously stop sensual contemplation. Determination means that we exercise our free will constructively using our intelligence guided by scripture. Such disciplined practice gradually takes us to the state of purification (02.64).
By thus understanding our inner landscape, we can avoid unrealistically expecting that we will never contemplate tempting objects. And we can avoid unnecessarily succumbing by misthinking that because we can’t stop contemplating, we can’t stop indulging either. If we determinedly focus on Krishna by practicing bhakti-yoga, that divine contemplation will replace sensual contemplation and power us toward purification.
Think it over:
- What are two significant landmarks on our inner journey? What is our consciousness while we are at those landmarks?
- What does determination mean?
- Which unhealthy reactions can be avoided by understanding our inner landscape?
02.64: But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord.
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