16.16 – When desires crowd the mind, dilemmas cloud the intelligence

by August 17, 2013

We sometimes feel overwhelmed by the number of things that we need to get done. No doubt, we do have a lot to do, but we often put unnecessary loads on ourselves by our unregulated desires.

The mind is the place where desires crowd. These desires may come from outside, entering through the doors of the senses from the external world, filled as it is with temptations. Or desires may come from inside, surfacing from our memories of our past indulgences. Whichever way they arrive, they soon make the mind a crowded mess, wherein we feel pulled in a hundred different directions. The Bhagavad-gita (16.16) points to this predicament when it states that the ungodly are bound by a network of desires and dilemmas.

Desires breed dilemmas, dilemmas about which desire to indulge in first. These dilemmas cloud our intelligence and make us unsure or unclear about what to do, leaving us vulnerable to choose the path of least resistance. Sometimes a particular desire becomes dominant and appears to resolve the dilemma for us. However, the dilemma returns soon with a bigger bite because indulgence has made the desire stronger. As our capacity for indulgence is limited, whereas our capacity for desire is unlimited, the dilemma created by the gap between the two capacities, makes life more difficult.  In trying to bridge the gap, we feel impelled to cast aside ethical boundaries and thereby pave the way to hellish consequences for ourselves. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be our fate. We just need to change our desires and choose the desire to love Krishna. That devotional desire removes the cloud from our intelligence and connects us with Krishna’s supreme intelligence, thereby providing us access to the best possible counsel for resolving our dilemmas.


Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, they become too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and fall down into hell.

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