03.37: The Black Hole of Lust
The Bhagavad-gita (3.37) states that lust is the all-devouring sinful enemy of the world. In its capacity to consume everything that comes within its reach, lust is like a black hole. Once lust catches us in its gravity pull, it can gobble everything that makes a human being human: our cherished spirituality, our social dignity, our foundational morality, our human decency and even our basic civility.
The invisible yet formidable gravity pull of lust acts primarily on the mind and through the mind. In fact, the Gita (3.40) says that lust is located in the mind of the person who is provoked by it – and not in the object that provokes it. By thus precisely pinpointing the location of lust, the Gita ensures that we don’t evade responsibility by blaming externals.
Of course, the mental pull of lust often increases with physical proximity between the provoked person and the provocative object. So the Gita (3.41) recommends, as a beginning step, regulation of the senses so as to maintain a safe distance between the provoked and the provoker. As a more sustainable and comprehensive solution, the Gita (3.43) urges us to cultivate spiritual wisdom and situate ourselves in spiritual devotion. Devotion brings us within the spiritual pull of Krishna’s supreme beauty. When we let ourselves be pulled by Krishna, the pull of lust gradually subsides and finally ceases. Then we are free.