To mistake a ceasefire to be a treaty is suicidal
Suppose two warring armies decide to stop fighting. But one army thinks that they have arrived at a treaty that settles the dispute, while the other army considers it just a ceasefire so that it can attack later – the unalert defending army will end up slaughtered.
Similarly, we are all engaged in a fierce fight against selfish desire centered on lust. Sometimes, when the attack of such desires decreases, we feel overall peaceful and untempted. The Bhagavad-gita (03.39) cautions us against letting our guard down, by reminding us that lust is an eternal enemy – even if it is not attacking presently, it has not given up its intent to attack. It is simply planning a bigger attack in future.
If by the present absence of temptation in our consciousness we assume that we have transcended lust, we will unwittingly or recklessly expose ourselves to such objects. And to our horror, we will find that in one deadly swoop lust will flatten us.
Does knowing that hostile forces are always out to get us make us paranoid? No, not necessarily. The process of bhakti-yoga urges us to focus not on resisting lust, but on cultivating remembrance of Krishna and cultivating an attitude of service towards him. Such devotional absorption gives us a higher happiness that makes lust’s lures less appealing.
As devotees, we can strive primarily to remember Krishna – and thus be joyfully absorbed in a level of consciousness that lust can’t reach or penetrate. But when we tend to become lax in striving for such devotional absorption, at that time we can counter the laxity by remembering that lust is incorrigibly inimical and it will be out to get us. That meditation can bring our focus back on Krishna, thus making us not sensually paranoid, but spiritually satisfied.
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