The defect of distraction distorts the defender into a defector

The defect of distraction distorts the defender into a defector

The life of a spiritual seeker is the life of a warrior – a warrior defending the territory of the consciousness against the forces of illusion. These forces attack from without as opportunities for sense indulgence and from within as memories of past indulgences.
In a normal war, the invaders usually try to destroy the defender. But as souls we are indestructible. So, the forces of illusion focus instead on destroying our spiritual convictions and replacing them with materialistic convictions so that we end up seeking pleasure in the very things that we earlier rejected as sources of misery. Thus, the forces of illusion are like insidious invaders who beguile the conquered defenders into defecting so that they end up fighting against the very cause that they earlier fought for.
How do the forces of illusion bring about such a scary coup d'état in our consciousness?
By exploiting our defect of distraction.
The Bhagavad-gita (02.67) cautions that distraction in the form of letting the mind focus on the roaming senses causes delusion, just as a boat exposed to a stormy wind gets carried away. The next verse (02.68) urges us to conscientiously restrain the senses from the sense objects. And an earlier verse (02.61) underscores the positive object for such conscientious focus: Krishna.
When we utilize this positive focus in the inner war, it dramatically redefines the struggle: self-control no longer seems like deprivation, wherein we struggle to say no to enjoyable material things. Rather, it becomes the pathway to satisfaction, wherein though our struggle remains, its purpose becomes much more fulfilling: not to say no to something enjoyable, but to say yes to something supremely relishable – Krishna.
By thus conscientiously absorbing ourselves in Krishna, we can gradually transcend the danger of defection and eventually attain the destination beyond temptation.

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  1. Pratyahara or the withdrawing of the senses from their objects is the junction between external focus and internal focus. When we focus on the Supreme Object, Lord Sri Krishna, our senses become aware of His Divine Presence in everything we perceive. The impersonalists however, who try to withdraw their senses into the void, do not have such a fixed center of focus and their senses gravitate back to the sense objects. Thus our intelligence becomes steady through the positive and active engagement of our senses in the loving service of the Lord which overrides their engagement with the sense objects.

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