02.61 – Blunt the desire for enjoyment with engagement
The greatest obstacle on the spiritual path for most of us is the desire to enjoy material pleasures, especially anti-devotional material pleasures. Because our pre-devotional life was usually characterized by wanton indulgences, the memories of those indulgences keep piercing us like pointed daggers. Additionally, our contemporary culture bombards us with provocative stimuli, thereby arousing and aggravating our past memories. These stimuli, figuratively speaking, not only prevent rust from forming on our dagger-like memories, but also sharpen the dagger so that its stabs hurt more. Consequently, we often succumb not because indulgence is so pleasurable, but because resistance is so unbearable.
When we succumb repeatedly, we feel helplessly trapped. Neither can we erase our past memories, nor can we evade the present stimuli. How, then, can we save ourselves from being pierced by dagger-like desires?
By constant engagement, declares Gita wisdom. The Bhagavad-gita (2.61) recommends that we blunt the dagger of desire by engagement in devotional service (yukta asita mat-parah). No desire can grow within us unless we give it time and thought. If we offer all our time and thought to Krishna, then the resulting divine absorption leaves no scope for worldly desires, which thereby become blunted.
Can aspiring devotees like us become so absorbed in Krishna? Yes, declares Gita wisdom, by purposeful planned endeavor. Purposefulness centers on contemplations like these: “I don’t have to take the stabs of these desires lying down; I can and will shield myself with remembrance of Krishna.” Planning centers on arranging for both specific substantial services constantly and ready remedial resources whenever distraction makes us vulnerable. By thus endeavoring to keep ourselves scrupulously engaged, we can steadily blunt the dagger-like desires.
With practice, the absorption that is conscientious now will become spontaneous. Then all material desires will become totally blunt – forever.