02.62-63 – Are we sending our intelligence on a vacation?
Imagine a person who has a priceless treasure carefully protected by a competent guard. Suppose a thief persuades the owner to send the guard on a vacation and then steals the treasure. We would consider such an owner to be tragically gullible, wouldn’t we?
And yet might we ourselves be like that naïve owner?
All of us have the priceless treasure of our integrity, our commitment to live according to spiritual and moral principles. Protecting this treasure is an irreplaceable inner guard, our scripture-based intelligence. By enabling us to foresee the long-term consequences of our actions, our intelligence reminds us of the necessity of principle-centered living and thereby protects our integrity. The desire for immoral pleasures is like a cunning thief who persuades us to send our intelligence on a vacation and then plunders our integrity.
Let’s understand how this devastating deception occurs.
The Bhagavad-gita (02.62-63) indicates that when we dwell on an enjoyable-seeming object, the desire for that object enters our consciousness and allures us with the promise of enjoyment. We become so taken in by the promise that we start scheming how to get that enjoyment. When our intelligence tries to caution us, “This indulgence will violate your integrity and bring suffering in the long run; don’t do it,” the desire whispers artfully, “This intelligence is such a killjoy that he will never let you have a good time. Just get rid of him for now.” If we trust the desire more than the intelligence, we send the intelligence on a vacation. Thus we set ourselves up to be robbed of our integrity.
How can we avoid being thus swindled?
By training ourselves to trust our intelligence more than our desires and learning to evaluate our desires with our intelligence and not our intelligence with our desires.