The best time to win the battle against temptation is before it begins
To practice spiritual life means to enter into a war against temptation, the temptation for enjoying matter. The arena of battle is our own consciousness, and the two contending armies are our intended desire to serve Krishna and the unwanted desire to enjoy matter that manifests in the consciousness either from our past conditionings or our circumstances or a combination of both. Whichever desire we dwell on gains strength and eventually emerges victorious.
When we dwell on tempting sense objects, we become disconnected from higher sources of pleasure, especially the highest source of pleasure – remembrance of Krishna. As we are innately pleasure-seeking creatures, our need for pleasure pushes us to seek it somewhere, and the sense objects seem to be a readily available source. Consequently, the desire to enjoy matter strengthens and the desire to serve Krishna weakens. Thus, we find it increasingly difficult to win the battle against temptation.
In a war, its far better for defending soldiers to watchfully prevent hostile forces from penetrating into home territory than to counter them after they have penetrated, positioned themselves for attack and started firing. Similarly, it is best to win the war against temptation before it begins, that is, before temptations enter into our consciousness and start seducing us, thereby attacking and wounding our desire to serve Krishna.
The Bhagavad-gita (02.68) urges us to rigorously control all the senses so as to not let temptation slip in. The most positive way to actualize such sense control is by striving for absorption in Krishna so that there’s no room left for thoughts of the sense objects to enter and entice. By such absorption, we will not only safely survive in the war against temptation, but also march swiftly towards victory by growing in our devotion to Krishna.
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