by B P Wadia 

© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö 

There is no satisfying lusts even by a shower of gold pieces. 
He who knows that lusts have a short taste and bring suffering in their train is wise.

So says the Master Gautama, He who followed in the footprints of His Illustrious Predecessors. This Verse 186 of  the Dhammapada contains a principle of conduct that modern Psychology ignores. Lust carries within itself the force of greed. Lust is ever avaricious. It craves fulfillment repeatedly, for its pleasure is short-lived.

The Gita describes the ordinary kind of lust as rajasic (chapter 18). It is mobile, seeking satisfaction of a craving. As soon as it is satisfied, it asks for more. Its pleasure arises "from the connection of the senses with their objects which in the beginning is sweet as the waters of life but at the end like poison." Furthermore, repeated indulgence tends to draw it downward to a grosser materiality. It becomes increasingly dull and dark and tends "both in the beginning and the end to stupefy the soul."

Of whatever school, the modern psychotherapist does not knowing what lust is, whence it arises, or how it can be controlled. Sometimes he tends to the dangerous belief that indulgence will cure by producing satiety. Modern Psychology knows that man is dual: human and animal. It traces the origins of the human and animal qualities to the wrong source, the mind. Once again, that mind has remained terra incognita because psychology does not adequately understand its nature and its powers.

Above all, psychology does not comprehend the part played by the emotions. There is the relation of the emotions with the senses and the organs, There is the relation of the emotions with the mind, the sixth sense and therefore material. Then there is the relation between the functions of this combination and the higher mind, Man, the real Thinker. Unless these relations are recognized, one will not discover the true prescription for the control of lust.
The Mahayana tradition presents a profound teaching in simple words:-

"Do not believe that one can ever kill out lust by gratifying or satiating it. This is an abomination inspired by Mara. It is by feeding vice that it expands and waxes strong, like to the worm that fattens on the blossom's heart."

How, then, is man to control the force of lust, which, satisfied, develops greed and grosser types of concupiscence, and, when opposed, becomes irritated and wrathful? From passion proceed anger and avarice and thus in this world men and women are ever face to face with the three gates of hell. (Bhagavad-Gita, XVI. 21).

The person desirous of controlling his animal tendencies has to clear his consciousness and fix in his understanding the truth that it is not by gratification or by satiety that he will be able to rise above those tendencies. He must also gain the conviction, born of knowledge, that he need not and should not remain a prey to his animalism -- whatever its name and form.

Next, he must gain the conviction that the Controller is within him, nay, is himself. Conducting one or two experiments in perceiving that he himself is other than and superior to his animal tendencies, he brings himself real confidence. Once a man gains the faith, rooted in knowledge, that he is the master and controller of his animalism, the rest will be easy. Of course, he must exert himself to control the enemy seen and to gain final victory. But well begun is half done, and the initial perception of his own superior nature as the controller is the preliminary step.

There is one more thing that he who is afflicted with animalism must learn, if he wants to conquer it. Western Psychology classifies the mental states that join with emotional ones. The Psychology of the Gita and the ancient Sages also classify moral states, treating mental states as effects produced by moral conditions. The old-world Psychology lays bare unsuspected bases of error.It discloses subtle self-delusion. It marks out the true course so painstakingly that the dullest mind cannot fail to gain a clear perception of the way to gain the victory over animalism. The Will to fight and to succeed will open the ways to knowledge. With this Will as bow and arrow, a person can successfully take aim and hit the mark. What if one were to do otherwise? What happens to the mentally lazy and morally blind? Says the Dhammapada of the Master Gautama Buddha (Verse 240):-

"As rust springing from iron eats into its own source, so do their own deeds bring transgressors to an evil end."

From "Thus have I heard", pages 254-56. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.


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