A desire filled Tulsidas was desperate to meet his newlywed wife. He crossed a river at night mistaking a corpse to be a wooden log; used a snake as a rope to climb up the wall to meet his wife, only to be rebuked by her that he would be better off with an equal passion for Lord Rama. He was transformed that very moment and he went on to author the revered ‘Ram Charit Manas’.

Tulsi’s story helps us better comprehend Krishna’s advice (3.41) to destroy desire by disciplining the senses.

Desire has two aspects. The first is the energy of courage, determination and passion that is generated in us and the second is its direction. Outwardly directed, it is dissipated in seeking sensual pleasures and possessions. When Krishna asks us to destroy desires, he doesn't want us to destroy this energy, but only wants us to direct it inwards like Tulsidas. This energy is essential for the demanding spiritual journey, like a satellite needing energy from its rockets in the beginning to reach orbit. Once one reaches the eternal state, both energy and direction become meaningless.

Krishna asks us to discipline our senses to help direct our energies inwards. He describes (3.42) a hierarchy to help us. As the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, the mind which is the sum of all the senses is superior to the senses themselves. Even the mind is limited to fight or flight reactions, sufficient for animalistic survival. The intellect, however, goes far beyond and differentiates us from animals and hence is superior to the mind. Krishna further says (3.43) that the self (soul) is superior to intellect and advises us to use it to annihilate the foe of desire which is hard to conquer with the mind or the intellect.

Source - Daily World

< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >