The way to transcendence is through tolerance not indulgence
All of us periodically battle urges that damn us: urges born of lust, anger and greed, for example. We want to be free from these immoral anti-devotional urges, but they keep coming back.
When such an urge appears at the back of our mind, or worse still, at the front of our mind, they drain us of our mental energy. At such times, we may think that we can get rid of the urge by indulging in it. And indulgence does seem to work; it frees us from the craving. But the relief is temporary and treacherous. Indulgence feeds the urge and makes it stronger. After a brief respite the urge comes back harder. We find that we have not got rid of the urge; we have got deeper into it.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (05.23) underscores that to get rid of the urge for good, we need to tolerate it. Each time we tolerate the urge and say no to it, we starve it, thereby weakening it. Tolerance is a slow but sure way to attain transcendence, to go beyond the pull of the urge.
However, we often underrate the power of tolerance because it seems like doing nothing. When the urge strikes, we want to do something assertive. Either fling the urge out or fling ourselves into it. Tolerance seems utterly unassertive.
That’s why we need to couple tolerance with a higher purpose wherein we can express our assertiveness. Gita wisdom offers us devotional service as the means to assert our right to the higher life of loving Krishna and gaining lasting fulfillment thereof. When we keep ourselves busy in serving Krishna, then tolerance of the distracting urges becomes easier. Gradually the urge weakens. Till finally the day we transcend; the urge disappears.
“Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world.”