Temptation can knock us down, but it can’t knock us out

In a boxing match, a boxer may be knocked down, but only when the fallen player fails to rise does the knock down become a knock out.

We are all engaged in a match with temptation, which sometimes gains an upper hand and with a sudden sweeping punch knocks us down. It devastates our intellectual defenses, decimates our determination and drags us down to activities that go against our ethical and spiritual principles. Such a knock down can be disheartening.

But we can take heart from the fact that it’s only a knock down, not a knock out. No matter how badly we fall, we always have the power to rise. Nothing can make us stay fallen unless we lose the will to rise. But once we lose the will to fight, just a small push, that would otherwise have not even shaken us, can knock us not only down, but also out. Thus the result of our match against temptation is determined far more by the presence or absence of our own will to fight than by the presence or absence of a formidable temptation.

Just as a boxer when squaring up against a fearsome-looking opponent needs the morale-boosting encouragement of a competent coach, we need when dealing with irresistible-seeming temptation the encouragement of the ultimate coach Krishna. He declares in the Bhagavad-gita (09.30) that even those who slip into sin are to be seen as saintly because their heart is in the right place; so, they will soon become virtuous (09.31). This declaration assures us that no wrongdoing, however grievous, can ever stop Krishna from loving us. Nothing that we do will make Krishna leave our heart and go away.
Thus, when we falter and fall, we can regain our determination by meditating on Krishna’s unfailing love for us.

Explanation of article:

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  1. Repeating your words: This was “morale-boosting encouragement!”

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  2. Hare Krishna Prabhuji,
    The explanation and the example given here for the verse is excellent. Your explanation makes us more energetic and enthusiastic in devotion.


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  3. Nice description of the verse, again! You clearly understand the underlying principles of which Lord Krsna speaks to us all.
    More important than having ‘the ultimate coach, Krsna’ is having a proper relationship with His representative, a spiritual master, as Krsna sends His mercy and grace only through them. We offer this in prayer every mangala arotik.
    Again, very nice description.
    Thank you.
    Gaurasakti das

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