Lokanath Maharaj on curbing the symbol of sin


Lord Krishna did talk about this topic in Bhagavad Gita. So we will also talk and discuss about it. In fact the symbol of sin, i.e. lust, which is the biggest enemy, can be defeated not just by talking. Discussion is necessary for understanding. But we would succeed in curbing lust (and other five symbols- anger, greed, illusion, pride and envy) by chanting Hare Krishna, by honoring prasadam, and by association of devotees. These ultimately help us to curb the symbol of sin. Not just the knowledge or the philosophy.
This topic has its foundation in Bhagavad Gita. If it is not based on Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, we don’t touch that because it would haves no substance, or utility. We go for only those topics that have connection with sadhu, shastra and acharyas (scriptures and great personalities) Verse 41 in third chapter of Bhagavad Gita talks of this great symbol of sin, lust, “tasmat tvam indriyani adau niyamya bharatarshabha, papmanam prajahi hyena gyana vigyana nashanam.” (Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curbs this great symbol of sin (lust) by regulating the senses, and slays this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.)
We would like to present the topic in five phases:-
1. Vision (or definition) of this topic: What is sin and where does it reside?
2. Obstacles or stumbling blocks in achieving the vision: Difficulties we face while curbing the symbol of sin.
3. Strategies to achieve the goal: Solutions for difficulties.
4. Negative effects of lust on the life of individuals, society, country or humanity, etc.
5. Benefits of curbing this enemy.
1. Vision: The symbol of sin could be curbed by regulating the senses. This is Krishna’s proposal. Niyamya adau. Adau – adi becomes adau in Sanksrit translation. Indriya is sense, plural is indriyani, senses.
If we don’t curb this symbol of sin, then it will destroy knowledge and self realization. We all are interested in knowledge and self realization, but the difficulty is this symbol of sin, lust. Sin destroys knowledge and realizations of a person.
Prior to this, Krishna was asked a question by Arjuna. In the middle of two armies, on a chariot, Krishna and Arjuna had a dialog. Arjuna is asking in verse 3.36, “atha kena prayukto ayam papam charati purushah? Annichhan api varshneya balad iva niyojitah.” (O descendant of Vrushni, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?) How come some people commit sin? How come sometimes the sin is committed unwillingly by a person? He knows this is not to be done. This is wrong and sinful. Still someone is pushing him, impelling him, and compelling him to commit that sin. Who it is, what is it, O Lord, could you please explain. This is the question of Arjuna. Do you have similar experience as Arjuna? If the question of Arjuna is also your question, then reply given by the Lord is also not only for Arjuna but also for all of us. Arjuna is asking on our behalf for the benefit of all of us, so Krishna doesn’t have to repeat the answer. He gave one eternal reply. Even when used generation after generation, the reply is still beneficial. Lord Krishna replies in verse 3.37, “Sri Bhagavan uvacha, kama esha krodha esha rajo guna samudbhava, mahashano maha papma viddhy enam iha vairinam.” (The Supreme Personality of Godhead said, “It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.”) It is lust that is compelling us to commit sin. Krishna is also adds some more words, “Kama esha, krodha esha”. Lust and anger. Srila Prabhupada says anger is younger brother of lust. First kama takes birth and then the next one to take birth is the krodha. They go together, kama and krodha, next to each other. Krishna also says, “rajo guna samudhbhava”. They are produced by rajo guna, the passion. Passion gives birth to kama and krodha. So immediately we would make a connection that if you want to become free from lust and anger, become free from passion.
What guna should we have then? Go higher. Go in Goodness. As soon as you are in the mode of goodness, you will not be bothered by lust and anger. Krishna says, “Arjuna, you should know this kama. This is your enemy. Viddhi enam iha vairinam. Please take note. We should also take note of this, that this lust is our enemy, not a friend. Having understood that much, what else would you like to know about your enemy?
Where does he stay? Unless you know whereabouts of your enemy, how would you accomplish destroying him? So Krishna points out, this enemy is having three bases or camps. Indriyani, mano buddhir. That is Lord’s reply. (verse 3.40), “indriyani mano buddhir asya adhisthanam uchyate, etair vimohayati esha gyanam avruttya dehinam.” (The senses, the mind and the intelligence are where this enemy resides. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.)
The enemy is found in the body, not outside, but right there inside you. You are your senses, mind and intelligence. These are the three places where the lust is residing. Now after this, comes that statement from verse 3.40, “Tasmat.. indriyani niyamya adau.” In the beginning you have to control the senses. Why in the beginning you have to control the senses? Because you would like to check the enemy right at the entrance from making a progress. The very first place where you would station your army is right at the entrance point of the enemy. In the body, the entrance for this lust is the senses.
In Bhagavad Gita verse 5.13 it is mentioned, “Nava dvar pure gehe”. The material body is like a city that has nine gates. Srimad Bhagavatam describes the city of body has four directions. This face is considered to be the East direction. It has five gates. (eyes, two nostrils and a mouth). The western side has two gates, anus and genitals. Then is southern gate, the right ear. The northern gate is left ear. By regulating the senses, we stop the enemy (lust) from coming in, stop him at the gates. Indriyani niyamya adau. If the enemy is not checked at the entrance, the next thing he is going to capture is mind. Even there, if we are not careful, or don’t identify the enemy or destroy him, then he is going to reach the intelligence. That is the most dangerous.
Body is compared to a chariot and intelligence is the driver of that chariot. The most important person in the vehicle is the driver. We have to make sure that this enemy, lust doesn’t get anywhere near there. Otherwise, this enemy will dictate the terms, “do this, do that, do as I say.” He will be our controller, in superior position. Our enemy, lust will captures the most strategic point in us and that is intelligence. So curbing the enemy begins with senses. Then you are safer. So this is what Lord has said in third chapter of Bhagavad Gita.
In the purport of this text 41, Prabhupada says, lust is only perverted reflection of love for God. Love for God is called prema in Sanskrit. When prema deteriorates, degenerates, dilutes, it is turned into or transformed into kama or lust.
Caitanya Caritamrita describes what is prema, what is kama, what is love and what is lust. (CC Adi 4.165). Atmendriya priti vancha – tare bali ‘kama’, Krishnendriya priti iccha dhare ‘prema’ nam (The desire to gratify one’s own senses is kama (lust) but the desire to please the senses of Lord Krishna is prema (love)). So things done for ‘atmendriya priti’ are for the pleasure of our own senses. For satisfaction of your own senses, you are working, desiring to enjoy your own senses and that is described as ‘tare bali kama’. That is lust. It is very simple. The other is Krishnendriya priti – when we do things for the pleasure of senses of Krishna. Krishna is a person and He has senses. Krishna is described as Hrishikesha, master of His own senses and of everybody’s senses. The boss of your senses is Krishna. Hrishika means senses and isha is master.
Bhakti is described as that activity wherein three things, Hrishikena, hrishikesha and sevanam. You are using, engaging your senses to serve Hrishikesha, serve the Lord. That is called bhakti. (Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya 19.170, “sarvopadhi vinirmuktam tat paratvena nirmalam hrishikena hrishikesha sevanam ‘bhaktir’ uchyate.” Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, master of all the senses.
When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and one’s senses are purified simply by being employed in the service of the Lord. Controlling the senses would be possible if engaged positively. “Indriyani niyamya adau.” Regulating the senses doesn’t mean just block the ears or put ear plugs or stitch the mouth. That is not controlling the senses, that may be controlling but we don’t want to just control, or making the senses inert or useless, idle or doing nothing. We want to engage positively and that is bhakti, devotional service. We have to go beyond controlling them. That is where the devotional service, bhakti yoga comes into the picture.
2. Obstacles: In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, in 2.62, “dhyayato vishayan pumsah sangas teshupajayate, sangat sanjayate kamah, kamat krodhobhijayate.” While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust, anger arises.)
Body is a bunch of senses and sense objects are there out in the world. We have five knowledge acquiring senses and five sense objects. We know the world around us by using these senses to perceive the five sense objects. If there was a sixth sense object out there in the world, we have no way to know that. We have no equipment or instrument to find that. By contemplating on the sense objects and attachment to them comes the lust. Using this information, here is a list of all those worldly items from our daily lives by contemplating which we develop attachment and lust:-
a. Mundane sounds and scenes: Television, internet, print media, books, newspaper, novels, film industry, mundane songs, cell phones, computer games, passionate or useless sports.
b. Mundane food and other habits: Junk food, fast food industry, intoxication by alcohol and drugs, smoking, fashion industry, free mixing with opposite sex
c. Mundane ambitions: Hankering for material success or economic development. Need to overcome obstacles, background for strategies.
In contrast to lust, ‘prema’, or love of God is the constitutional position of the soul. How the love of God is stirred up or manifested or revived? In Caitanya Caritamrita, it is said, Madhya 22.107, “nitya siddha Krishna-prema ‘sadhya’ kabhu naya, shravanadi suddha chitte karaye udaya.” “Pure love for Krishna is eternally established in the hearts of the living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, this love naturally awakens.”
All we need to do is hear about Krishna. When heart is pure, we will have love for God. Mundane hearing, mundane food, or habits will produce lust only. People are becoming lusty like anything. From lust comes anger, war, greed and what not. People have lost the intelligence, the power of discrimination and that is why they are not able to discriminate between love and lust. Love is something out of this world; in fact it is divine, eternal, pure, in relation with the Lord. But we have made it cheap by saying, I love you. What they should say is “I am lusty after you.”
When we talk of four things, dharma, artha, kama and moksha (religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation), if you notice, artha is in the middle of dharma and kama. If people take up artha for kama and not for dharma, then moksha is not possible. Out of four, they are going for only two, artha and kama. That is all. Their whole life is finished. Even education is just for money making. It is not for making man of character and morality. Money is not a problem, make a lot of money. Any fool can make money, but it takes a wise man to spend the money. It is easy making money, difficult spending it.
In this kind of seminar, we are teaching you how to spend. Creating modern Ajamils. There is a story of Ajamil in the sixth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Ajamil was a young, nice man, cultured and from a good family background. Once he was in a garden picking flowers for pooja and then he saw a scene wherein a low class man engaged in low class activity, lusty affair. Ajamil was young and not trained enough, not matured enough. He contemplated on that scene. He developed attachment and lust. He targeted the same woman. He succeeded in getting her and then followed his huge degradation. He fell down from high thinking level. He lost all the culture, good name. He became known as dasi-pati Ajamila, husband of a prostitute.
What is happening these days? How many Ajamils are being produced? Wherever and whenever you look around, all objects of senses are dangling in front of us through fashion, food, cinema, internet, the list is never ending. There is whole team of planners out there in the society; they are breaking their heads to create newer and newer fantasies, knowing human weaknesses. They are creating so many objects of senses, advertising them, transporting them quickly and they are proud for doing such job of advertisement and communication.
I want to say what Sukadeva Goswami said 5000 years ago. He is also making list of flaws in the age of kali. He said now the new age of kali is about to begin. This age will have ‘sarva sadhana badhakah’. This kali yuga will cause obstacles in sadhana, in regulated life of God consciousness. There will be big turbulence. Kaler dosha nidhe Rajan, kali yuga is full of faults, big storehouse of doshas. That is why our list is not ending. He concluded on the positive note. Asti eka maha gunah. There is only one good quality. Kirtanadi Krishnasya mukta sangah param vrajet. (Simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.)
3. Strategies: What could we do? We are in a big mess; we want to get out of this mess. We want to be like a lotus in the mud but above the mud, not touched by mud. When you churn the milk, a ball of butter is formed. Even if you try to push it down, it springs back and floats. Like that, we must do ‘vichar manthan’, churning of thoughts; we must do planning so as to stay pure, clean, and above it. Even if the objects of senses are freely accessible out in the world, be prepared and plan about how to encounter them. Engage all senses in Krishna’s service. Be in association of devotees. Never stay idle in mind. Read about Krishna instead of mundane literature. Develop attraction for kirtan and the taste for mundane music will automatically go away. Chant daily attentively. Follow four regulative principles. Take prasadam to control tongue, belly and genitals. Follow in the footsteps of previous acharays, take inspiration from them. Replace the thoughts of enjoyment with thoughts of service of Lord. When having encounters with opposite sex, think how beauty is skin deep. Think how the person in the opposite sex is a part of Krishna and ultimately for Krishna’s enjoyment.
Krishna says, “I am lust if that is not contrary to the principles of religion.” Some amount of enjoyment is legalized in the household life. So regulated sex within marriage is allowed to some extent. Try to remember the science behind sex within marriage, to give birth to Krishna Conscious children.
But in brhamachari, vanaprastha, sanyas, there is no legal or illegal. In this day and age, it is difficult to avoid some interaction with the opposite sex. Even if you don’t want to see, it is difficult not to see out in the world. At such time, you should remind yourself that this beauty is just skin deep, and it is just a bag of bones, the body is transformation of flesh. Bring these thoughts to the mind and think again and again. At some point you will transcend. Later you will not have to think. First time it will be difficult. Next time you go out, you want to be more prepared to overcome this mind’s tendency. If you practice like this, you don’t have to think every time, immediately you will come to a conclusion.
Devotees have to spend less time and energy on these thoughts and they can quickly go to positive or Krishna’s thoughts. There are so many exemplary personalities from India’s Vedic wealth. In Ramayana, when Laxman was asked to identify Sitadevi’s ornaments, he said, “Naham janami keyure, naham janami kundale.” ( I cannot recognize the armlets or earrings). But I can recognize the nupura, the rings from her lotus feet because when I used to offer my obeisances to Sita devi, I used to see those. This is the example set by Laxman, how to be a good brahmachari.
One who desires to become a brahmachari, could pray to these personalities: Laxman, Hanuman, Bhishmadeva. They are ideal brahmacharis, very advanced souls. This is our culture. “Matravat para dareshu.” All the ladies, except your wife are like your mother. This is what they used to teach and practice. Pray to the deities to reduce lust for opposite sex.
Once Prabhupada was asked by a devotee about difficulty in controlling the senses, the sex urges. Prabhupada wrote back, pray to the deities and tolerate the urges. Krishna is the enjoyer, apply that to daily life. Identify more with the soul, I am the soul, I am the servant of Krishna. As soon as we think of body, we think of enjoyment. Powerful hearing can cut anarthas or unwanted desires like a razor. Sins can be burnt to ashes. Bhagavad Gita, verse 4.37 says, “gyanagni sarva karmani bhasmasat kurute tatha.” (As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.)
If the presentational speech is loud and clear and based on Krishna’s thoughts, then it will purify worship of the deities. This minimizes the bodily concept of life, Prabhupada said, “by deity worship, you give more time to the body of the Lord. In our temples, the brahmacharis are ready in 15 minutes including bathing, putting tilak on, and dressing. But then they spend two hours decorating the body of the Lord.” At the end they also show Him mirror, asking “Lord, are You happy?” When the Lord is looking into the mirror, they look at the Lord’s face, to see whether the Lord is happy or not. They don’t look at their own face; their mirrors are so small, they cannot fit the whole face in there. Sometimes they don’t even look into that small mirror since they don’t want to think that I am beautiful and all. So little time they spend on their own bodies but so much time they spend on decorating the body of the Lord, bathing Him etc.”
Prabhupada says, “I was doing that service one time, in 1973, I was the head pujari in Radha Rasabihari temple of Juhu, India. When we used to finally put the wig on the Lord’s head and then the crown and the peacock feather that used to be like icing on the cake. We used to wait for that final touch of decorating. It used to be a wonderful experience.” That minimizes the bodily concept. Follow strictly our daily sadhana. These are all positive strategies to overcome and to reach to the goal.
Having this ISKCON youth forum, doing seminars like this, are a part of strategy to help overcome lust from our youth. Negative effects of the lust on the life of an individual, society, country or humanity: There are negative effects on the health, in this lust business, you lose semen. By that, you lose health, brain power, memory, power of concentration. You get disturbed and agitated all the time. The world is facing problems on the health front. There is deadly disease called AIDS. Asia is sitting on the bomb called AIDS time bomb. It could explode. It is very scary situation. We don’t know what we are getting into. All this is because of lust. If everyone followed the strategy we discussed, there wouldn’t be AIDS. But billions of dollars are spent for remedy. How much money are we spending on coming out with these strategies? Hardly any. You know the solutions. Big scientists, they don’t know what you know. In due course of time, we could wipe out AIDS. Of course, those with bad karma would get AIDS. But gradually, we could get over.
The divorce rate is on a rise in India. The families are breaking, splitting in pieces because of this enemy called lust. ‘India Today’ magazine did a survey and concluded that the rate of rape in India is on rise, alarmingly rise. Is this progress? Some people think India is making progress. This is regrettingly regress. Unwanted children are taking birth. This was concern of Arjuna and he called it unplanned, varna sankar. Result of ‘just do it’ mentality. Child is produced but no one is ready to take responsibility of the child. Care, attention, love, education, no one is providing. Some of such children become terrorists. They want to take revenge because no one took care of them, so they want to do something terrible and create terror. These are some of the bad effects on society, humanity at large.
The benefits of curbing lust is long life, healthy life, producing civilized human beings who would become manav, not danav (humans, not demons). Become rakshak and not bhakshak, do poshan, not shoshan (feeding others, not sucking others’ blood or money, so that you could fulfill your lusty desires), become gentlemen, better human beings by following these strategies. Thank you. Hare Krishna.
em“Naham janami keyure, naham janami kundale.”

About the Author