02.68 – Beware of the heart attack that makes us morally unconscious
Heart attacks are among the most feared things today. They may reduce a healthy, normal person to an unconscious heap on the ground in a matter of minutes.
There’s another kind of heart attack that’s just as dreadful, though it is not widely recognized as such. This heart attack afflicts not the physical heart, but the metaphorical heart – the seat of emotions. One major source of such heart attacks is lust.
The Srimad Bhagavatam (6.1) describes how the cultured Ajamila became a victim of such a heart attack. The attack began with his eyes when he saw a society woman in action. Lust soon took over his heart and made him into its slave. To satisfy lust, he abandoned his faithful wife, his dependent parents and his respectable vocation as a priest – all the while remaining deaf to the shocked remonstrations of his loved ones.
A physical heart attack makes us physically unconscious, whereas the lust-induced heart attack makes us spiritually and morally unconscious. A physical heart attack makes us physically inactive; whereas the lust-induced heart attack often makes us hyper-active. It impels us to seek frantically the object that will gratify the lust, in the process casting aside morality as if it were a useless rag.
Our culture with its blatant sexual imagery makes us especially vulnerable to such visually triggered heart attacks. That’s why the Bhagavad-gita’s (02.68) injunction to constantly guard our senses is not a puritanical prohibition; it is a practical and essential precaution.
Gita wisdom guides us to not just prevention but also immunization. We can satisfy our eyes’ thirst for beauty and our heart’s thirst for love with all-beautiful, all-loving Krishna. When we enthrone him as the Lord of our heart, the attacks of lust can no longer penetrate there.
Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.