03.43 – Keeping our skeptical antenna on high alert
Insects usually have their antenna extended and on high alert. All the more so when they sense dangers, especially predators.
When we as spiritual souls live in the material world, we live constantly in danger zone. The predators that can devour us at any moment are worldly temptations. Among the world’s many temptations, all of us have specific predators that we need to beware. These are indulgences that we have been habituated to in the past and so are especially vulnerable to in the present. These may range from over-eating, excessive TV watching, gossiping to sensual gratifications that violate our moral and spiritual principles.
By dispassionate analysis of our past indulgences in the light of scripture, we can realize that they have never made us truly happy. To the contrary, they have wasted lots of our time and troublesomely contaminated our consciousness.
Yet, when we encounter tempting situations, the familiarity of the setting and the memory of our past indulgences stultify our intelligence. We end up gullibly believing that the very same activity that had not given us any real pleasure in our past scores of indulgences will give us pleasure this time.
The effective weapon against such naïve credulity is healthy skepticism. This is where the metaphor of a skeptical antenna comes in. When we enter into a tempting situation, we can train ourselves to activate our skeptical antenna. This means that we consciously recollect our realizations about the insubstantiality of the temptation and thereby view its present allure with skepticism.
By using a skeptical antenna, we can dovetail our doubting faculty in devotional service. Pertinently, the Srimad Bhagavatam (3.26.30) states that the doubting faculty is a prominent characteristic of the intelligence. The Bhagavad-gita (03.43) assures us that by careful use of our intelligence, we can conquer debasing temptations.