Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that lust is the biggest enemy of men and women in this world. It destroys a person’s life completely.
In Bhagavad Gita 3.36, Arjuna has a question. He asks Krishna, “Why is it that one ends up committing sins even if he is unwilling to do it?” You might have this question too. Sometimes you do not want to do something sinful but ends up doing it. Let us see what Krishna says to Arjuna.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.” Bhagavad Gita 3.37.
Lust forces a person to do things even if he does not want to do it. So, Krishna says lust is the sinful enemy of this world.
What is the origin of lust?
In the spiritual world everyone has love for Krishna. But when one wants to enjoy in this material world away from Krishna then love transforms into lust.
Srila Prabhupada explains, “When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for Kṛṣṇa is transformed into lust, in association with the mode of passion. Or, in other words, the sense of love of God becomes transformed into lust, as milk in contact with sour tamarind is transformed into yogurt.” Bhagavad Gita 3.37 purport.
Can lust be satisfied?
No matter how best we try we cannot satisfy lust. This is confirmed by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. “Thus the wise living entity’s pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.” Bhagavad Gita 3.39.
For example, Ravana had many queens and one of his queens was Mandodari who was very beautiful and chaste. But still impelled by lust, Ravana also wanted to enjoy with mother Sita. Desire to enjoy with opposite sex is very strong in material life.
As prisoners are bound by shackles in a prison. Similarly in this material world everyone including you and me are bound by the shackles of lust.
Srila Prabhupada explains, “Therefore, this lust is the symbol of ignorance by which the living entity is kept within the material world. 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.” Bhagavad Gita 3.39.
Lust is not just the desire to enjoy with the opposite sex. Any form of sense gratification is lust. “Sense gratification” means any desire to satisfy our senses rather than Krishna’s senses. As long as we are affected by lust, we will remain miserable.
Trying to satisfy lust is like pouring ghee in the fire. The more we try to satisfy lust, our lust becomes stronger. When lust is not satisfied then it gives rise to anger. Many times, it makes a person insane. So, at any cost we should give up lust.
At what stage we should control lust?
This human life is special. In this life it is possible for us to free ourselves from lust. And transform our lust into love for Krishna. Lust covers our real knowledge. We forget that we are parts and parcels of Krishna. We start thinking that we are material beings, and the purpose of our life is to enjoy our material senses.
But lust has to be controlled. And it can be controlled. Krishna explains that we should try our best to control our lust. It is always better to control the lust in the beginning. Krishna says to Arjuna, “Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bhāratas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.” Bhagavad Gita 3.41
To control lust, we should control our senses. The first step is that we should not allow our senses to engage in any form of activities which will aggravate lust. Also, it is important that we should not contemplate on the objects of the senses. For this, we should flood our mind with Krishna Conscious thoughts and activities. By doing this our mind will get busy with Krishna Conscious subject matters. And it won’t have time to think about lusty subject matters.
As of now our understanding is that we will become happy if we satisfy our material desires. But the truth is that we will become happy if we do not engage our senses in fulfilling our material desires. And we will become supremely happy if we start engaging our senses in serving Krishna.
Personal experience with lust
In my personal life also, I have observed that many activities I do not want to do but many times I end up doing it. It seems as if someone is compelling me do it. When I was not into Krishna Consciousness then I did not know what is good for me and what is bad for me. But after coming to Krishna consciousness, I understood what is harmful for my life. But in spite of knowing that sense gratification is harmful it is not always easy to give it up.
Many times, I took a vow to give up sense gratification. I succeeded for few days then I found that there is some force within me which is forcing me to indulge in those activities. For example, I find very challenging to give up internet addiction especially reading online news. Although I try to restrain myself, but I fail quite a number of times.
However, the best thing about Krishna Consciousness is that although initially it may look that giving up certain non-Krishna Conscious activities are difficult but if we pray to Krishna and try to work on it then gradually we are able to give it up. I won’t be right to say that I have been able to completely give up addiction for internet. But I can confidently say that it is reducing day by day.
And I am hopeful that if I follow Krishna’s advice and Srila Prabhupada’s teachings then I will be able to give my lust for material sense gratification one day. For me, internet addiction.
What is the best way to control lust according to Krishna in Bhagavad Gita?
To give up lust, it is important that we do not surrender to the demands of our senses and mind. But instead using our intelligence we should educate our mind about the harmful effects of lust which is sense gratification. To strengthen the intelligence, it is important that we do sincere spiritual practice. And read life transforming books like Bhagavad Gita.
Krishna gives us a formula by which we can control lust. He says, “O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence [Kṛṣṇa consciousness] and thus – by spiritual strength – conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.” Bhagavad Gita 3.43
Control lust before it controls you. Destroy lust before it destroys you.