A disciple once asked Sri Ramakrishna how he was to conquer lust; for, though he was passing his days in religious contemplation, evil thoughts were arising in his mind from time to time. To him the Master said : “There was a man who had a pet dog. He used to caress it, carry it inabout his arms, play with it and kiss it. A wise man, seeing this foolish behaviour of his, warned him not to lavish such affection on a dog. For it was, after all, an irrational brute, and might bite him one day. The owner took the warning to heart and putting away the dog from his arms, resolved never again to fondle or caress it. But the animal could not at first understand the change in his master, and would run to him frequently to be taken up and caressed. Beaten several times, the dog at last ceased to trouble his master any more. Such indeed is your condition. The dog that you have been cherishing so long in your bosom will not easily leave you, though you may wish to be rid of it. However, there is no harm in it. Do not caress the dog any more, but give it a good beating whenever it approaches you to be fondled, and in course of time you will be altogether free from its importunities.’
[To the question: “How are we to free ourselves from lust?”] My child, does anyone become completely free from lust? But, then, by repeating the Lord’s name again and again, it gradually subsides. Keep yourself far away from all the things which give rise to negative feelings. Whenever such feelings come to mind, pray to Thakur with folded hands. (Rem. Shiv., VK Mar. 1992, p. 112)
Mere suppression of passions helps little. There must be a high ideal along with self-restraint. Without a high ideal, the passions will find another outlet. You must give them a new direction, then you will be automatically rid of them. ‘Take refuge in Me and control the senses.’ As for example lust. The Master explained: ‘What is lust? It is the desire to get. Then desire to get Him, and strengthen this desire greatly.’ (Apos. p. 325)
There must be a psychology behind (lust), and what is that? It is the desire to attain oneness. Lust also is an aspect of that love. But men take a wrong course. They begin with the gross, hence their failure to carry it up to that Pure Substance, God. Some, however, have attained realisation even through this, as for instance Chandidasa… You have heard also of Bilvamangala, and of Tulasidas. Tulasidas was henpecked. His wife was going to her father’s house and Tulasidas followed her. Disgusted at this, the wife remarked, ‘If you can bestow even a grain of this love on the Lord, you will soon realise Him.’ At once his power of discrimination was roused. Men of this stamp are roused up by such trifling causes. Love and lust are two things very much allied. Hence Sri Ramakrishna used to say, ‘Lust is blind, but love is pure and resplendent.’ It is lust if you have the idea of man, and love if you have the idea of God in your beloved. (Spir. Talks p. 158)
[To the question: “Kindly make my mind free from sex-impulse.”] Look to the Atman, not to the body. Practise fixing the mind always on the Atman. ‘One gets attached to objects by constantly thinking of them. From attachment comes longing, and from longing anger.’ (Spir. Talks p. 270)
Conquer lust. Assert your independence. Conquer lust even before it can conquer you. Once the lust gets control over you, you are done for. It is just like what happens in wrestling feats. In wrestling, if once you fall below, you are done for. Through discrimination and devotion to God one can be free from lust. With the gradual increase of love for God, lust, anger, etc. wane out. (Spir. Talks p. 324)
The most effective means of getting control over the senses is to look upon all women as one’s mothers. You are apt to look on them otherwise from your very childhood, and you never call on women as mothers with all sincerity, that is why the problem of sense-control becomes so difficult. Just as on seeing an image of any goddess, we have a natural inclination to salute her, to worship her, and to pray to her, so also may our devotion be aroused on seeing any woman, and may we feel a natural inclination from within to bow down to Her! (Apos. p. 348)
Keep a picture of Sri Ramakrishna with you. Whenever lustful feelings arise, you should look at the picture intently. You will find that the senses will gradually be gathered in and the mind will be freed from lust. (Adbh. p. 107)
The more your love towards God is increased, the less will your lustfulness be. Always try to walk along the proper path. (Cons. p. 18)
As long as there is a tinge of lust, as long as there is awareness of the distinction between man and woman, it is not right to say, ‘I am working under divine inspiration. I do everything He makes me do.’ Religious life has not begun until one has completely effaced the idea of sex and of all carnal desires. To carry this ideal into practice is difficult no doubt, but it is not impossible. Saints and divine incarnations have demonstrated the truth of this principle in their own lives. They are our exemplars. (Glimpses p. 138)
Why do you magnify a small matter into a big thing? You are wasting your time thinking about the origin and effect of lustful thoughts in your mind. Instead of doing that, try to cultivate a positive attitude and think day and night how far you have been able to love God and how much devotion you have toward Him. (Glimpses p. 139)
You have written that there have been lapses ten times before in the past. If there be ten times more in the future, you should not be dejected. Constantly brooding about things over which you now have no control will cause more harm than good. This will surely jeopardize your spiritual life. Dirt cannot be washed by dirt. Even charcoal looses its blackness when it comes in contact with fire. Similarly, lust cannot remain when the image of God pervades the mind. (Glimpses p. 140)
One thing you must bear in mind is that nobody has been able to conquer lust by his own effort. You can overcome lust only if the grace of God descends on you. Pray sincerely to Him for guidance. (Glimpses p. 140)
The only means by which we can overcome lust is through constant repetition of His name and not through privations and austerities. Has not the Gita said: ‘The abstinent run away from what they desire but carry their desires with them. When a man enters Reality, he leaves his desires behind him.’ (Glimpses p. 141)
Know for certain that none is completely free from the fetters of lust and greed until he has seen God. (Glimpses p. 146)
[To the question: “Frequently even at the time of meditation Kama (lust) makes its appearance vigorously.”] Never mind. It comes to all. Surrender yourself to the Lord and drive it away. But carefully abstain from such food as irritates the stomach and is not easily digested. (Spir. Talks p. 383)
Bhagavad Gita Explanation:
To experience higher taste. When you engage yourself in higher taste, lower taste vanishes.
विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिन: |
रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते || 59||
viṣhayā vinivartante nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ’pyasya paraṁ dṛiṣhṭvā nivartate
BG 2.59: Aspirants may restrain the senses from their objects of enjoyment, but the taste for the sense objects remains. However, even this taste ceases for those who realises the Supreme.
Lust is a lower form of enjoyment, according to spiritual standards. Somebody with “Modern” thought, will have a different perception. But vedic scripture considers lust as an impediment on the path of spiritual life. It provides two options
- to give up totally and become a Brahmacari followed by Sannyasa with total engagement in spiritual practices.
2. To fulfill the desire within marriage and gradually overcome lust.
Either way, the solution prescribed is more engagement in spiritual life. by doing that the affinity we have for lust will dwindle.
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