God places some temptations before the aspirant to test his spiritual strength. He gives him also strength to conquer the temptations. The strongest temptation in this world is lust. All the saints passed through temptations. Temptations are profitable. People are instructed and strengthened. Even Buddha was tested for his mental purity. He had to face temptations of every sort. He had to face Mara. It was only then, and not till then, that he had illumination under the Bodhi tree in Gaya District in India. Satan tempted Jesus in a variety of ways.
Passion is very powerful. Many aspirants fail in the tests. One has to be very careful. The aspirant will have to develop a very high standard of mental purity. Then alone he will be able to stand the test. God places the aspirants in very unfavorable surroundings to test them. They will be tempted by young girls. Name and fame bring the householders in close contact with the aspirants. Women begin to worship them. They become their disciples. Gradually the aspirants get a nasty downfall. Instances are many. Aspirants should hide themselves and pass for quite ordinary people. They should not show their achievements.
The sex instinct is most powerful. The sex urge is formidable. It may conceal itself in underground compartments in the mind and assail you when you are not vigilant. It will attack you with redoubled force. Many aspirants are not aware of this secret urge, a treacherous enemy. They think that they are quite safe and pure. When they are put to test, they become hopeless victims. Better, you must always remain alone to meditate and slay this urge.
Money and woman shine more brightly than God for an ignorant, passionate man. It is powerful. Adam fell on account of one loose moment. Eve tempted on account of one desire. The forbidden fruit will ripen before the human eyes in no time. A post will look like the illustrious angel and make you bow in utter submission before it. A single unguarded moment is sufficient to capsize the whole casket of pearls, down into the dark abyss of passion and lust.
The moss that is momentarily displaced in a tank resumes its original position in the twinkling of an eye. Similarly, Maya envelops even the wise, if they are careless even for a minute. Therefore, sleepless vigilance is necessary in the spiritual path. The proverb goes: “There is many a slip between the cup and the lip.” Before you begin to eat the fruit of wisdom, the monkey Maya will snatch it away from your hand. Even if you swallow it, it may get stuck to your throat. Therefore you will have to be ever vigilant and careful till you attain the highest realization. You should not stop your working falsely thinking that you have reached the goal.
He who lives in seclusion is more exposed to temptations and danger. He will have to be very careful and vigilant. The mind will be tempted to do anything as there is nobody to witness its evil action. All suppressed evil thoughts will be waiting for an opportunity to attack him with redoubled force. He is just like a man who is put in a big bag with a tiger, a serpent and a bear. The enemies like anger, lust and greed will take you unawares. When you walk alone in the spiritual path, they will attack you like the thieves who attack a lonely passenger in the dense forest. Therefore, be always in the company of the wise. Do not go astray.
Stop That Lustful Look!
A gentleman who has given up smoking and drinking wants to practice celibacy, though married. His wife has no objection, but he himself finds this discipline hard; especially, the trouble seems to be in the control of the sense of sight. “The street is my chief enemy”, he said recently. This means that the eyes are attracted by well-dressed ladies. Another aspirant says, “While I practiced vigorously yoga, prayers and meditation dutifully, my mind was not polluted even if I saw half-nude young ladies. But when I left the practice, I was not able, to control my sight and I was attracted by well-dressed ladies in the streets and half-nude pictures pasted in front of picture-houses. The sea-beach and Malls are my enemies.”
Those who practice Celibacy should control the sexual gazing impulse. This kind of impulse is a great menace, as it stimulates curiosity and sexual desire. Sensual desires grow from lustful look. Looking at a woman will create a desire to talk to her. Talking to a woman will create a desire to touch her. Eventually you will have an impure mind and will fall a victim. Therefore, never look at a woman. Never talk to a woman in privacy. Do not be familiar with any one other than your spouse.
Mind the feeling behind the look!
There is no harm in looking at a beautiful object; but you will have to develop the Divine sense. You will have to feel that everything is a manifestation of God. Purify your thoughts and feelings. Thou art pure in essence. Thou art an embodiment of purity. Repeat mentally the formula, “I am purity, I am purity”, and attain that state of pristine, matchless purity.
You have no lustful look when you see your mother or sister although they are beautiful, well-dressed and decorated with ornaments and flowers. You look at them with affection and pure love. There are no lustful ideas. You will have to develop such a pure love when you look at other women also. If there is impurity behind the gaze, it amounts to adultery. Looking at a woman with a lustful heart is tantamount to sexual enjoyment. It is one form of sexuality. That is the reason why Lord Jesus says, “If you have a lustful look at a woman, you have already committed adultery in your heart.”
There is no harm in looking at a woman, but you must have a perfectly chaste look. When you look at a young lady, you can think within yourself: “Prostrations unto Thee, O Mother. Thou art an image or manifestation of you. Do not tempt. Do not allure me. I have understood now the secret of Maya and her creation. Who has created these forms? There is an omnipotent, all-pervading and all-merciful Creator behind these names and forms. This is all decaying, false beauty. The Creator or God is Beauty of beauties. He is an embodiment of un-decaying beauty.He is the fountain-head of beauty. Let me realize this Beauty of beauties through meditation.” You will have to cultivate feelings of devotion, admiration and awe when you look at an alluring form by remembering the Creator of that form. Then you will not be tempted. If you are a student of Vedanta, think and feel: “Everything is Self only. The names and forms are illusory. They have no independent existence apart from the Self.”
If one should not look at a woman, how did the teachers of yore impart education to ladies? Why did they keep them in their constant company for service? The dictum, “Do not look even at the picture of a woman”, is for passionate people who have no self-control. Even in a liberated sage, the eyes will move towards the objects through the force of habit. But, he can withdraw them completely and make them mere empty sockets if he wills. When he sees a woman, he does not see her outside himself. He sees the whole world within himself. He feels that the woman is his own Self. He has no sex idea. There are no evil thoughts in his mind. He feels no sexual attraction towards her whereas, a worldly man sees the woman outside himself. He entertains lustful thoughts. He has no idea of self. He is attracted towards her.
This is the difference between the vision of an enlightened one and that of a worldly man. There is no harm in looking at women, but you must not entertain evil thoughts.
There is no harm in looking at a beautiful woman. You can admire the beauty of a girl just as you admire the beauty of a rose, the beauty of the sea, the stars or any other natural scenery. Think that the beauty of your wife belongs to Nature and Nature’s Lord, God. Whenever you see a lady, put this question to your mind: “Who is the creator of this beautiful form?” At once, a sense of wonder, a sense of admiration and a sense of devotion will arise in your mind. It is only when you dart a lustful, unchaste look at a woman that you commit sin. You commit adultery at heart. Only when you entertain lustful thoughts, bondage and misery come.The beauty that you perceive in the faces of the ladies is the beauty of the Lord. You can have admiration in this manner. There is no harm in so doing.
Woman is a symbol of beauty. She is a symbol of power. She talks to you in the language of silence: “I am a representative of God. See Him in me. Realize God in and through me. Worship God as an embodiment of beauty. Adore Him as an embodiment of power. Recognize His omnipotence.” Again and again think that the beauty of the face is the beauty of the Lord. Godly feeling will arise in you when you look at a woman.
How to counter impure thoughts
Impure thoughts that arise at the sight of a woman will gradually vanish when you grow in purity through regular prayers and meditation. It takes some time to destroy the old vicious thoughts and overhaul the mental factory. Again and again raise pure counter-thoughts in the mind. Bring up the image of the Lord. Again and again try to feel representation of God in women by forgetting the sex idea and create disgust in your mind by an analysis of the parts of which the body is composed.
Whenever the mind runs towards attractive women with lustful thoughts, have a definite clear-cut photo in the mind of the flesh, bone, urine, faecal matter and perspiration of which women are composed. This will induce disgust and spirituality in the mind. You will never again commit the sin of unchaste look at a woman. It takes some time, no doubt. Ladies also can practice the foregoing method and keep a mental picture of men in just the same way.
You should develop not only disgust in your mind, but also fear in order to get rid of the sex idea. Are you not extremely frightened when a cobra comes in front of you? This must be the state of your mind when lustful thoughts enter your mind. Then only the sex attraction will gradually die.Inflict self-punishment if the mind runs towards women with lustful ideas. Give up night meals.
Do not look at a woman with an evil eye. If she is old, treat her as your mother; if she is young, as your sister; and if very young, as your child. You may fail to develop the sense that all women are your mothers and sisters a hundred and one times. It does not matter. Stick to your practice tenaciously. You are bound to succeed eventually.
When you walk on the road, do not look hither and thither like a monkey. Look at the tip of your right big toe and walk gently with a serious attitude. Or look at the ground and walk. This is a great help in maintaining Celibacy. You can look at the tip of the nose also. You have already walked for a long time with lustful eyes. Apply the collyrium of discrimination and the pigment of pure thoughts. You will have a new magnanimous vision. The whole world will appear to you as a mass of crystallized bliss. You will find no evil, no ugliness.
Sometime, you may say outwardly: “I regard a woman as my mother. I consider her as my sister.” Though you may not do anything outwardly on account of religious fear or social boycott, mentally you are not what you should be. The mind will run in wrong directions. It will be doing havoc silently. Various kinds of evil thoughts and desires will arise in your mind. Desire or thought is more than the act. When you are put to test silently, you will fail hopelessly. You will not be able to have physical control even.
There is nothing, however, that a man of strong determination cannot achieve if he sets his mind to it. The greater the difficulty, the greater the glory of success. Try, try, and try again. Train yourself not to look at a woman for some time. If you are unable to do this and find your looks straying up to a woman with lustful purpose, raise in your mind the image of a corpse or a skeleton or wrinkled, diseased old woman and keep it till you are filled with disgust. This will enable you to succeed finally in subduing passion. Look upon every woman as representative of God Himself and do mental prostration to her at sight.
By vigilant and constant efforts like the above, you can gradually eradicate the powerful enemy. Be Happy – You can counter impure thoughts for the pleasures of your life.