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Beware of Lust (Gita Acharan 76)

By K Siva Prasad- 22 Aug 2021
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22.08.2021: Arjun enquires, (3.36) "How can a man perform evil even against his will as if he is compelled." This is the most common question that arises when the first ray of awareness sets in.

Krishna says (3.37) kaam and krodh (anger) are born out of rajo guna and are great evils full of insatiable cravings. Beware of them to be the foulest enemies here on Earth. Krishna uses the word kaam which is an extreme form of desire like lust.

Attachment to action is the hallmark of rajo guna (quality), which happens because of desire. As in the case of a car, the movement or speeding up is a quality born out of rajo guna and the accelerator is an instrument to achieve this. Similarly, slowing down or inertia is the nature of tamas and the brake is an instrument. The driver represents satva guna which is the balancing of acceleration and braking for a smooth and safe ride. The speedometer is an instrument for awareness. If the balance is lost, an accident is inevitable.

Lust is also nothing but a loss of balance in our lives where we invest so much energy to attain pleasure; to possess something or someone, or to acquire power and fame. While giving energy to these desires, we are completely unaware of their consequences. Once it attains criticality we don't have any control. Anger is the natural consequence of unfulfilled desire or pain that has followed pleasure.

The verse says that desire is insatiable, indicating that the more we try to satisfy it the more it grows. Rich seeks more riches and power seeks absolute power. The trick is to neither suppress nor satisfy them. Krishna says beware of them which is being aware when we are gripped with lust or fear and this awareness itself will free us from their grip.

(Author K Siva Prasad is 1993 batch IAS officer, Punjab cadre)

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