The thought that we can never give up temptation is also a temptation
Suppose an invading army infiltrates a defending army with a spy. And that spy disheartens the defending soldiers, telling them that their forces are too tiny and the opposing forces are too mighty. If they believe that infiltrator, they will give up even before the war begins.
Similarly, when the forces of illusion attack us, they infiltrate our consciousness with a dangerous emotion: hopelessness. The same forces that attack us externally by presenting alluring sense objects also attack us internally as an inner naysayer: “You are too weak. This temptation is too powerful. You will succumb, sooner or later. Then, why struggle? Just give up.”
Indeed, making us hopeless is a fatal attack of the forces of illusion. In our battle against those forces, we never lose till we lose hope. But if we lose hope, then we quit and lose even if we are in a winning position.
How can we protect ourselves from this insidious inner attack? By reminding ourselves that hopelessness is not just an emotion, but also a temptation. Pertinently, the Gita (18.35) indicates that self-sabotaging emotions arise from the lowest mode of material nature. And hopelessness is a sinisterly self-sabotaging emotion.
How can we resist the temptation to feel hopeless? By raising our vision from our tempters to our deliverer – from various tempting objects to the supreme transcendental object, God, Krishna. He is all-pure, all-loving, all-merciful. Even if we succumb to the worst of wrongdoings, he still stands ready to purify and rectify us (09.30-31). He offers everyone, without discrimination, the potent purificatory process of bhakti-yoga (09.32-33).
When we connect devotionally with Krishna, we access an unending fountain of hope. That hope energizes us to persevere in our inner war, till we ultimately rise beyond temptation to joyous absorption in our all-attractive Lord.
Think it over:
- How is the feeling of hopelessness an attack of the forces of illusion?
- How can we resist the temptation to feel hopeless?
- In our inner war, how can hope energize us?
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