Those who think they aren’t prone to evil are the most prone to evil

When we see someone doing something horrible, we may feel revolted, “How disgusting! I would never do anything like that.”

Shock at seeing people do evil things is understandable and desirable. Still, the presumption that we are far above such actions can be unjustified and unsafe.

Inside us exists a dark side – the accumulated impressions of the questionable actions we have done in the past, in this and previous lives. And outside us exist an array of temptations that can activate our dark side. Through such inner impressions and outer temptations, we all are targeted by the formidable forces of illusion (Bhagavad-gita 07.14). These forces are constantly on the attack, trying to find some chink in our inner armor. And a glaring chink is complacency, the notion that we aren’t prone to evil. What such complacency ignores is illusion’s attack strategy, which is insidiously incremental.

Initially, illusion tempts us not to evil, but to minor transgressions. The resulting impressions accumulate till eventually they impel us to do things we would earlier have dismissed as obnoxious. For example, those who take their first drug shot never think that a few months down the line, they would be robbing to get money for their next drug shot. But it happens, more often that we think.

Someone may object, “But if I have no impressions that make me inclined toward a particular temptation, then can’t I say that I am safe from it?” Yes, probably. Still, the forbidden fruit can seem the most fascinating. Given how today’s materialistic culture dangles forbidden fruits all around us, we may not be as immune as we think.

By remembering that we all are prone to evil, we can cautiously keep ourselves at a safe distance from the temptations that lead us to evil.

Think it over:

  • How are we all targeted by the forces of illusion?
  • How may we end up doing things that we would normally find obnoxious?
  • What evil do you need to keep yourself at a safe distance from?

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Arrogance keeps us not just in ignorance, but also in ignorance about the extent of our ignorance
Even if we can’t close the door to temptation permanently, we can close it presently
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