Where is the glory in a backdoor victory over attachments?
In sports a backdoor victory is universally considered inglorious. If India deliberately schedulesa cricket seriesagainst Pakistan at a time when all the top Pakistaniplayers are exhausted or injured, then even if India wins, such a backdoor victory earns few accolades. And if India loses, then that defeat is positively ignominious. Victory is most glorious when the opponents are at their best and are still defeated.
The internal confrontation between our higher spiritual principles and our lower material attachments is like a sports match. Some people postpone confronting their material attachments like lust and greed till old age hoping that age will weaken their attachments. Their attitude is decidedly un-heroic, like wanting a backdoor victory over weakened opponents. Of course, better late than never; so, even if they begin serious devotional service late in life, that’s definitely better than never.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that intentionally postponing spiritual practices till old age is decidedly inglorious. Worse still,it can also be dangerous. If we give our material attachments free rein during our youth, then they are likely to get such a stranglehold on us that breaking free might be nearly impossible even in old age.Even when our body loses the capacity to enjoy, our mind may still hold on to the desire to enjoy, thereby subjecting us to the humiliating defeat of continued agony in the cycle of birth and death.
The most glorious victory is when the attachments are at their strongest. The Bhagavad-gita points us towards this memorable triumph by urging us (3.41: adau) to regulate our senses right from the beginning. Even if we don’t win immediately, by battling with the attachments when they are at their prime, we will become seasoned warriors who will definitely win over time.
“Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.”