05.26 – The greatest danger is the danger of forgetting the danger
During a war, a wily enemy often induces in a well-equipped opponent a false sense of victory – and then fells the unprepared opponent with a fast and furious blow. That’s why, in a war forgetting the danger can be the greatest danger.
When we practice spiritual life, we declare war against the immoral and anti-devotional desires that have held us hostage for many lifetimes. These desires have kept us deprived of the everlasting devotional joy that is our spiritual birthright as the beloved parts of the all-blissful Supreme Being, Krishna. Only by combating and conquering such hostile desires can we reclaim our right to real happiness.
In this inner war, the process of devotional service to Krishna provides us the firepower necessary for victory – it bestows a higher happiness that makes lower pleasures unappealing.
To counter our devotional advantage, the wily forces of illusion often deceive us into believing that we have already conquered our lower desires – and so we don’t need to remember Krishna carefully. And when we are off guard, those forces allure and ensnare us.
To protect us from this deception, the Bhagavad-gita (05.24) urges us to tolerate the urges of desire and anger till the moment we become liberated from the body (prak sharira vimokshanat), that is, lifelong for as many lifetimes as need to attain liberation. Lest this seem too demanding and discouraging a prospect, the Gita assures two verses later (05.26) that conscientious practitioners (vidita-atmanam) will attain final liberation in the very near future (abhito brahma-nirvanam).
The best way to be vigilant is not by focusing on the desires to be avoided but on the devotion to be cultivated. As devotional remembrance of Krishna brings the ultimate fulfillment, the mandate for vigilance makes us not paranoid, but satisfied – supremely satisfied.
05.24 – Those who are free from anger and all material desires, who are self-realized, self-disciplined and constantly endeavoring for perfection, are assured of liberation in the Supreme in the very near future.