(Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talk to Yuva Veers of Youth Empowerment Program 6th batch)
Sukhatah kriyate raamabhogah, pashchadhanta shareere rogah
Yadyapi loke maranam sharanam, tadapi na munchati paapacharanam || 28 ||
Meaning: Verily one indulges in all types of pleasures. Alas, comes the diseases of the body. Even though he knows these pleasures will kill him slowly, still he commits such wrong actions.
Chaturdasha manjarika stotram (bouquet of fourteen flowers), each verse composed by one of the disciples of Shankara, was from verse fourteen to twenty seven. Hearing these verses, Shankara is very happy with his disciples and gives out four concluding verses (Verse twenty eight to thirty one) to wind up the whole composition.
When we desire any object, it is pleasure that we seek in the object. Be it eating a chocolate, having a drink, smoking a cigarette or watching a movie, ultimately we are aiming at the pleasure behind all of them. Most of the habits start with pleasure, turns into addiction and ends up in becoming an obsession. We have common examples of people who become chain smokers. It might have started off as an occasional attempt of relieving tension but before the person realizes, it becomes an addiction. Later, even if he doesn’t have the money or gets affected by some terrible lung disease and despite the doctors warning him that cigarette could be fatal for him, he cannot help but continue to smoke. Same is the case with drunkards. There are towns in Kerala (South India) where the BARs open at 5am everyday. And by 7am, the usual collection everyday in each BAR is 1 – 1.5 lakhs. This is an excellent example to show to what extent people can fall to addiction. Every person thinks that he is mentally strong and can control himself. He knows how this habit is going to bring an end to him. Yet, his own mind becomes his enemy when it convinces his intellect to fall for the temptation.
All of us may have some or the other habit that we know is harmful for us but cannot avoid it. How can we get out of such temptations? Dada Jashan Vaswani gives a very practical solution – ‘Avoid a situation that can create a temptation. Be on guard before the situation comes’. A smoker who wants to quit smoking can avoid the company of smokers till the time when he feels he’s strong enough to resist it. But when is beginning his struggle, he should not go and challenge himself by being in the company of smokers. We can try this technique in different areas. When parents can’t help their children stop watching T.V., the best way is to cut off the cable connection. People who are addicted to Facebook these days; they can just delete their account or disconnect internet connection. Be aware of the situation or temptation rising in us. After practicing this for some time, we can gain sufficient strength that the temptation cannot pull us down. However, one should not discount these temptations for they are the result of our own Vasanas, and Vasanas are very powerful. They can slowly sink us down even without our knowledge. That’s why we see people who have overcome a habit at one point of time but later on become addicts in the very same habit.
What begins as a Desire, results in Decay and ultimately Death.
Alertness is the price we have to pay to avoid a fall.