We can’t eliminate fire, but we can become firefighters

When a fire starts off, civilians often become panicky and run here and there, making things worse. But seasoned firefighters quickly spring into action – their trained reflexes guide them to expertly combat the fire.

The Bhagavad-gita (03.39) indicates that selfish desire such as lust is like a fire within our consciousness. This fire, if not doused in time, can burn our intelligence and integrity, impelling us to self-destructive and deplorable deeds. The fire of desire can start off intentionally or inadvertently – we may choose to contemplate alluring sense objects, or such sense objects may involuntarily enter into our sensory scope. Either way, when our desire for a sense object gets triggered, we find ourselves burning internally with passion, agitation and dissatisfaction.

If we are spiritually untrained, we often impulsively indulge thinking that the pleasure is too good to resist. When we are neophyte spiritualists, we expect that desires shouldn’t occur in our consciousness. But when desires flare up, we tend to succumb because we become disheartened thinking that the craving is too strong to resist. Moreover, the desire misleads us into believing that sense indulgence will extinguish the fire. But the same Gita verse warns that the fire of desire is insatiable – indulgence acts like a fuel that causes the fire of desire to blaze further.

Even when we become serious spiritualists, the fires of desires still start off in our consciousness. But we become like trained firefighters – our spiritual training kicks in and we immediately douse the fire by absorbing ourselves in wisdom and devotion, both of which culminate in loving remembrance of Krishna.

So, rather than expecting unrealistically that desires shouldn’t occur in our consciousness, we can instead focus on intensifying our spiritual practices, thereby training our spiritual reflexes to quickly and naturally push us towards absorption in Krishna.

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The commonality of the source doesn’t imply the similarity of the effect
Meditation shrinks our problems by increasing our awareness of Krishna’s greatness

Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

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  1. It should not be ‘spiritualists’, but spiritual aspirants. ‘Spiritualists’ means ‘persons who intend to be connected with dead people’.

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