05.23 – As long as we mistake the irresistible to be essential, we deprive ourselves of the essential

by August 8, 2013

Sometimes worldly desires, especially immoral and anti-devotional sexual desires, seem irresistible. No matter how much we try to resist them, they seem to keep returning again and again till we become too exhausted to resist and give in to them.

The Bhagavad-gita (05.22) provides the intellectual impetus for continuing the resistance: worldly pleasures are sources of misery. The enjoyment is fleeting, whereas the resulting emotional entanglement is lasting.

Even when we understand this intellectually, worldly desires still seem irresistible emotionally. At such times, it’s critical that we don’t mistake the irresistible to be essential. Just because it seems as if we can’t live without something doesn’t mean that we actually can’t live without it.

Addicts serve as unfortunate but universal examples. Drug addicts feel they can’t live without their shot of cocaine. But the reality is that cocaine prevents them from living properly. Their addiction deprives them of life’s essential aspects – mental clarity, financial security, family stability, for example.

The same distraction from the essential happens, though in a less visible degree, for those of us who mistake irresistible material desires to be essential. We are souls, and our eternal necessity for real fulfillment is love for Krishna. As long as we keep pandering to our irresistible-seeming worldly desires, we leave ourselves with little time or energy to cultivate devotion to Krishna. And thus we deprive ourselves of spiritual happiness.

Thankfully, bhakti-yoga shows the way out of this trap of mistaking the irresistible to be essential. When we fix the mind on Krishna, then the resulting divine thoughts offer deep fulfillment, thereby gradually freeing us from the evil grip of our specific psychological illusions. The Bhagavad-gita (05.23) assures that those who successfully resist material desires attain lasting happiness.



Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world.

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