Bodily urges, which are strong desires or impulses, have wrought havoc in the lives of countless people. Many AIDS-infected patients have admitted how they were swept by uncontrollable passion even though they had the necessary awareness and possessed the means of protection. Unwanted pregnancies have ruined a great number of lives because the people involved were swept away by momentary madness. Divorces have resulted because one could not restrain one's anger. And, it is well-known that most fights can be traced to ill-chosen words.
Bodily urges are of six main kinds. These are forces of the genitals, forces of anger, forces of the mind, forces of talk, forces of the tongue and forces of the stomach. Then, there are urges of wanting to see, hear and smell something. The latter three are not as dangerous as the earlier six. Such urges, even when they are not strong, can result in damage. Some of the ill-effects of these urges are listed below.
Those related to the force of genitals involve loss of semen. In case of illicit sex, one may contract AIDS, may be come the cause of an unwanted pregnancy and would most certainly lose one's character - a priceless possession. Then there have been many reported cases of heart-attacks during acts of illicit sex. Denial of such urges of the libido may sometimes cause uncontrollable anger. Persons under such rage commit crimes. Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-Geeta : “From lust arises anger and from anger complete delusion arises" (2.62 & 63).
Next comes the force of anger. Besides causing fights, sometimes even without sufficient cause or overtrivial matters, anger causes mind, eyes and chest to be agitated. There is rise of harmful toxins in the body. Forces of the mind, which are next, cause one to lose one's discipline ; one is unable to undergo austerities necessary to make progress in life and the mind weakens, thereby becoming one's enemy. "One who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy"(6.6).
Forces of talk cause severe embarrassment to the speaker and may even harm the speaker if something secret is let out. Forces of tongue are the major causes of loss of one's health since one eats what is palatable to the tongue overruling the needs of the body. Forces of stomach result in obesity and diseases related to overeating. lt is said, one who eats as per bodily requirement lives longer; his body is not subjected to unnecessary strain of digesting the extra or wrong foods.
Such forces bring no benefits. One who surrenders to these urges comes under the control of one's mind and senses; the mind weakens; consciousness goes down to animal levels and one loses self-respect. Such a person does not seek higher pleasures and wastes precious time of invaluable human life, whereas such higher pleasures are free of reactions, are satisfying and give lasting benefits.
Therefore, an intelligent person attempts to control such urges. There are two ways of accomplishing this. One is the positive way of developing higher taste, which is the surer way. Lord Krishna guides : “The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness" (2.59). This means one should always be engaged in superior activities. Being focused on higher goals, one progresses. The other way is to stay away from all tempting objects. One should be aware of the likely losses and harm one may come to by succumbing to such urges. Any intelligent person can realize their harmful effects and makes attempts to control such urges.
If one can control these bodily urges, one achieves great satisfaction, guaranteeing great amount of energy, purification - which ensures success of human life, self-pride - a necessary tool for good inter-personal relationships and higher consciousness. By such control, one's mind is controlled and becomes one's best friend. “For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends" (6.6).
There is a beautiful verse in the Bhagavad-Geeta, "Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and can check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world" (5.23). Everyone wants to be happy but gives in to these bodily urges in search of happiness and ends up being miserable. God is guiding so that one is not illusioned ; an intelligent person shall take such instructions and achieve happiness.