Viswamitra was a great yogi. He used to live in an ashram located deep into the Himalayas. One day, he was going to the nearby river for his morning bath. As he approached the river, he saw something very strange : A girl was bathing where he usually bathed. He was surprised to see the young girl in a remote place like that and so, he should have been suspicious. But he was not surprised and he kept on looking at the bathing girl, who was none other than Menaka, the celestial beauty, sent by Indra for causing Viswamitra’s down-fal.
Needless to say, Vishwamitra got enamoured with Menaka’s beauty and married her and forgot all about his yogic practices for quite sometime.
What was Viswamitra’s mistake ? He tried to enjoy what he shouldn’t have, as bathing is a very private affair. He trusted himself and felt that he could control his senses, which he couldn’t. The wise thing would have been to take his eyes away but he compromised with the desire of the eye and the mind to enjoy what was harmful to him, as it did turn out to be.
We also routinely make fools of ourselves by flirting with harmful sense-objects, assuming that we would be abe to control ourselves. And, we find out soon enough that we are unable to do so. Why then are we unable to control ourselves ? Lord Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-Geeta from verse 36 to 43 about it.
Arjun enquires, “Why is someone impelled to act sinfully, even when not wanting to do so ?” Lord Krishna replies, “It is lust only, which, born of the mode of passion, is one’s enemy in the world.” Continuining further he states, “One’s knowledge is inevitably covered by the lust ; this lust is like a fire, which is never satisfied by adding fuel to it or pandering to it”.
The senses, the mind and even the intelligence are the dwelling places of this lust from where it deludes the embodied thereby meaning that one uses one’s intelligence to justify one’s lustful tendencies. Then Lord Krishna instructs in no uncertain terms, “Therefore, eliminate this lust, which destroys one’s power of discrimination”. Lord Krishna then goes on to caution, “Do not under estimate this lust, which is even superior to the intelligence”. And, then he concludes, “Therefore, Arjun do not try to use intelligence to curb this enemy, just kill it”.
Discrimination is the attribute of intelligence and lust is already present there. No wonder, it justifies all our lustful desires or behaviour. Don’t we know already that we have many excuses to behave lustily ? Since the future cannot be ascertained absolutely, one hopes for the best when succumbing to lustful sensual enjoyments.
For example, it is said that moderate drinking has some health benefits but how many of us can limit ourselves once we start drinking ? The really wise thing is to say a firm “no” to it. Dealing means close contact and that is when the lust overpowers. So, the best thing to do is to keep the harmful allurements at a distance and there should be no thought of dealing with them.