02.67 – Detect the storm of temptation when it is still a blip
For a boat a storm is one of the greatest dangers. No wonder trained boat drivers alertly look for signs that presage a storm. By identifying the impending storm when it is still a blip on the horizon, they can temporarily alter course and let the storm pass, thereby avoiding the danger.
The Bhagavad-gita (02.67) compares the way a storm sweeps away a boat with the way the storm of temptation carries away our intelligence. All of us know from past experience the specific temptations that are our weaknesses. The appearance of the corresponding sense objects on the horizon of our consciousness is the sign of an upcoming storm. Avoiding those sense objects entirely is the safest course of action, but that may not always be possible. And just the presence of sense objects doesn’t endanger us. What endangers us, as this Gita verse indicates (indriyanam hi caratam yan mano anuvidhiyate), is our letting the mind focus on the specific sense, say, the eye, that is perceiving the tempting object, say, a provocative form. That focus inflames our imagination; makes it hyper-active, irrational and reckless; and carries away our intelligence (tad asya harati prajnam).
When we let the mind focus on the eye, we ride into the storm. But we don’t have to; we can alter course temporarily and let the storm pass. To do that, we need to become trained spiritual drivers and be alert to identify the storm of temptation when it is still a blip. When the eye perceives an alluring form, we can consciously and promptly re-direct our focus towards Krishna, and engage in some constructive service. This dual Krishna-connection through remembrance and service will give us inner satisfaction and enable us to resist the outer temptation, thereby protecting our spiritual integrity.