The recent incident where the modesty of a Delhi girl was brutally outraged has drawn lot of public attention not only in the nation but also globally. Many are crying hoarse that the judicial system metes out severe punishment to the rapists. It has become yet another issue which ‘somebody out there’ is responsible for and ‘some others’ will fight to resolve while we will sit in the cozy comforts of our house and become spectators of the ongoing volley of words and at best exchange sympathetic comments.
Do we want to be mere spectators or is there some learning that we can draw from this shocking incident and apply in our own lives and thereby change the world a little bit, for the better? We can probably use this opportunity to introspect and clean our own houses!
When a woman who had committed adultery was being stoned, Jesus Christ said ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast the first stone at her’ and one by one everyone dropped their stones. Likewise, the very fact that we live in this material world shows that all of us are sinners to some degree or the other. Such lustful propensities lie deep within us. The Bhagavad Gita claims that this ‘Lust’ is the greatest enemy of the living entity and it covers the living entity by different degrees. It is said that this lust is never satisfied and the more you feed it, the more it burns like fire.
Vedic scriptures call this material world as maithunya-āgāra or the shackles of sex life. While one enjoys sense gratification, it may be that there is some feeling of happiness, but actually that so-called feeling of happiness is the ultimate enemy of the sense enjoyer as it keeps him tied down to this miserable material existence birth after birth.
Radhanath Swami answers the question as to what the truth is? He reiterates that our true identity is that we’re eternal souls. We’re stranded like strangers in a foreign land. For the eternal souls to try to be happy with the cheap thrills with the temporary pleasures of this material existence is really an embarrassment, he says. But sometimes when a person is so intoxicated and consumed, he puts himself to do things that are so humiliating and embarrassing that he does not even know that he’s doing it. That’s the deluding potency of the material energy or maya. So, how do we get out of the shackles of this material energy? Radhanath Swami gives a simple answer. He says, all we have to do to get out of it is to choose to ‘get out of it.’
When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for the Lord is transformed into lust. Service attitude is transformed into the propensity for sense enjoyment. Designations and attachments are due to our lust and desire, our wanting to lord it over the material nature. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells us that the senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him. Cure is also given by Lord Krishna in the Gita, He says, ‘In the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.’
To bring about clarity of understanding, Radhanath Swami narrates a parallel from our scriptures how the Supreme Lord showed how this all devouring sinful enemy can be conquered through the example of lust personified Ravana.
Goddess of Fortune, Sita devi is the wife of Lord Rama and she is eternally in loving service of Lord Rama but Ravana wanted to take Sita for himself. This is called kama or lust. In Caitanya Caritamrita, a holy scripture of the Lord in which the author Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes love as the natural inclination of the soul wanting to give pleasure to God. But when that natural affection for God is misplaced, we are trying to enjoy the property of God for our own selfish desire, then that love is transformed into lust. Prema or love is when our energies are placed towards God. When it is placed anywhere else, it is called Kama or lust.
So, Ravana disguised himself and stole Sita. He was so powerful that no one could defeat him, demigods were living in utter fear of Ravana and he was unconquerable. Lord Rama shows us how powerful lust really is. Everytime He cut off the heads of Ravana, another one grew. Doesn’t that sound like our own material desires? Everytime you perform some yajna or sacrifice to give up one material sinful desire, immediately another one shoots up. Those on the spiritual path know that as soon as you cut down one lusty desire, 10 more grow. It is seemingly an endless battle. Finally, Lord Rama shot His arrow into Ravana’s heart. When the arrow pierced the heart, Ravana fell to the ground.
The Lord is the only one who has this arrow. The arrow cannot be obtained by any mortal, living entity. It is the exclusive power of the Lord. That is why Lord Krishna says in the Gita, that this material energy of mine is very very difficult to overcome. But one who surrenders unto Me, I fight their battles with My own hands, I will conquer lust. I will conquer Ravana within your heart. So, when we surrender our sinful desires and
propensities to the Lord, the merciful Lord appears within our heart. Through the process of Bhakti i,e by remembering the Lord, by worshipping Him and chanting His holy names, by offering loving service unto Him, we make place for the Lord to appear within our heart and with His mighty arrows, he can shoot right into the heart of Ravana and make our sinful desires disappear forever from our hearts. That is the recommended process in the vedic scriptures.
So, let us all take this opportunity to introspect and bring out the Ravana hidden deep within each of us. Let us make a prayerful attempt to the Lord to help us by conquering this greatest enemy of all!