Taking advice from vice traps us in the vise of vice

The vise of vice refers to the unbreakable grip (vise) with which we are held by our lower desires (vices). An example of such entrapment is alcoholism.

Taking advice from vice means treating our lower desires as reliable guides for deciding what to do and what to not do.

We may wonder, “Why would we take advice from vice?” Because we usually take advice from our intelligence, and vice often contaminates our intelligence. The Bhagavad-gita (03.40) cautions that vice corrupts not just our senses and our mind, but also our intelligence. For example, alcoholics may (ab)use their intelligence to hide their addiction from others or to even themselves live in denial of it. Or if the problem can’t be covered, they may abuse their intelligence to rationalize or trivialize the problem: to justify that what they are doing is ok or to claim that it is not a big problem.

If we take one or more of these four bad advices from vice, we become intellectually defenseless against its attacks, thereby indulging in it more and more. And with each indulgence, vice becomes stronger. It prods and persuades us more forcefully towards future indulgences. Thus, we end up increasingly caught in vice’s vise-like grip.

How can we free ourselves? By using our intelligence (the part of our intelligence that is still uncontaminated) to understand our spiritual identity and destiny (03.43).

For such spiritualization, we need to start taking advice from Krishna, the all-pure supreme who is beyond all vice. By that advice, we get the inner clarity to catch vice whenever it misleads us. And when we act on Krishna’s advice to practice bhakti-yoga, we become purified, thereby weakening and silencing vice’s voice.

By such inner clarity and purity, we progress undistractedly towards freedom from vice.

Think it over:

  • What are four broad ways in which vice gives us bad advice?
  • How does taking advice from vice trap us in the vise of vice?
  • How can we get the inner clarity and purity to free ourselves from vice?

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When the mind engages, it encages; when Krishna engages, he elevates
The thought that we can never give up temptation is also a temptation
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