In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna calls lust as an insatiable and all devouring enemy of the practising spiritualist. An enemy is generally subdued either through appeasement, bribery, making divisions amongst enemies or punishment. Lust is a special enemy in that only punishment will help. A little bribery will help for a householder by getting married; he pleases this force for some time. However for long term relief from the attacks of Mr Lust, we need to subdue him with strong intelligence. Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that Intelligence is covered by lust as fire is covered by smoke, mirror by dust or embryo by the womb; lust overwhelms our intelligence in one of the three ways. When fire is covered by smoke, one can’t see the form of the fire but the function is available.
This means the fire still burns although its form can’t be seen due to the smoke. Similarly at this first level, although lust is covering the intelligence, and the ‘form’ of the intelligence is lost, i.e one appears to be distracted by lust, yet the ‘function’ of intelligence, namely the resolve to practise spiritual life seriously remains. The intelligence of a sincere celibate endeavouring to overcome the influence of deadly lust is compared to the covering of fire by smoke; his function and purpose is not impeded although lust exists and troubles the practitioner.
Despite all the troubles and challenges, he practises spiritual life seriously, knowing that this is the ultimate goal of life. His pursuits remain strong even in the face of deadly and repeated attacks of lust because his intelligence is strong and he thus happily fights the enemy of lust. When the mirror is covered by dust, the ‘function’ of the mirror is unavailable, i.e. one can’t see the reflection, but only the ‘form’ of the mirror. This is compared to a situation where the practising devotee knows through his intelligence that lust is bad and should be fought, yet due to weakness of his intelligence, he succumbs to the force of lust. Thus the ‘form’ of the intelligence is there, i. e he knows what is right and wrong, yet the ‘function’ of intelligence, i.e the ability to say ‘no’ to the temptations of lust isn’t there. He is weak in intelligence and lust covers him strongly. He says, “I know lust has to be conquered but I am weak, I give up the fight” In the first type of covering (compared with smoke and fire), the devotee is harassed by lust but is eventually victorious because he fights the enemy and his intelligence is functioning. In the second type, the devotee knows lust is deadly and has to be given up but lacks the sufficient resolve. He postpones the fight to a later date.
Saint Augustine, writes in humour how as a young monk he would be harassed by lust and he would fervently pray to God to be freed from this enemy, but he would solicit the Lord, “please release me from lust, but not now…later when I am old” The third covering comparing the embryo with the womb is likened to the covering where both the function and the form of the intelligence are covered. This means a person at this stage of covering of lust is so grossly covered over that the intelligence rejects the proposal that it has to get rid of lust. Intelligence declares, “Lust is good, spiritual life and God is bad because it’s an obstacle for me to enjoy sex life” This is the stage when one is totally lost and is like an animal. A person whose intelligence is totally covered by lust thinks sex is natural and human life is meant for the glorious purpose of enjoying uninterrupted sex life. He thus wastes his precious life in pursuit of ephemeral pleasures. Krishna warns a sincere spiritualist that one has to endeavour to overcome this force. Also one can’t underestimate the power of lust. Sometimes after some years as brahmacharis, we may fool ourselves to think that I am no longer troubled by lust. This is big illusion because lust is just around the corner and any unexpected moment it could strike fatally
A sincere brahmachari thus always guards himself from complacency. Once a devotee told Srila Prabhupada that he is not troubled by lust. Srila Prabhupada replied that he should see a doctor because it’s not possible to be unaffected by this force till you become liberated. Therefore a devotee carefully and humbly guards himself against the attacks of Lust.
Live a Reply