Temptations are Karmic ‘potholes’ which are detrimental to one’s Karmic evolution.
There are temptations that can influence the minds of even very highly intelligent and educated people. Such people when tempted, are led to do things that they would normally never do. It is usually because of a moment of weakness, either due to desire, or due to the illusion of doing some good to someone (which is the result of one’s ego), that a person falters and commits a blunder that becomes and also stays a big blot on their personality during their lifetime. Such an action actually stems from a person’s ignorance or mental weakness due to the distortion of reality in their mind. The reality is that everything is Maya or illusion. The world exists only until the mind exists and is conscious. People who are unconscious or asleep, despite being alive, are oblivious to everything around them and also about themselves. When the mind is not awake, nothing exists. The body, which many people mistake to be their self, is an impermanent vehicle that the Atman uses in order to travel through a Janma and the mind is nothing but an abstract tool that one can use in order to think and carry out actions which, unfortunately, have Karmic reactions.
A Janma or lifetime of a person is basically the time between the first and the last breaths they take during one sojourn of theirs as a particular person on the planet. Whatever people do, apart from trying to survive, is to be happy. But an extremely important truth to be noted is that anything that people think, say or do collects Karma which needs to be balanced some day or the other. Therefore, thinking clearly before performing any action is of crucial importance to one’s Karmic evolution.
But what exactly is it that leads people to do things that they would normally not do?
SBG 3:36 Arjuna said: “What prompts a man to perform sinful deeds O descendant of Vrshni (Krishna)? Why does he commit such acts even without desiring to do them, as if he were forced to do them?”
SBG 3:37 Shri Bhagavan said: It is lust, which is born out of the quality called Rajas Guna that leads to anger which in turn prompts a person to commit sin. It is all devouring and greatly sinful. You must know that this is the greatest enemy in the world.
Lust for someone, for wealth or for power stems from ego which stands on one’s ignorance about the Supreme Truth of Universal Oneness and tells them that they are a separate entity.
There are basically three kinds of bliss or pleasure that a person can experience:
Physical and mental pleasures might, initially, seem attractive but lamentably, they don’t last long.
It is only spiritual bliss, which is founded on divine knowledge, that lasts forever. People come under the influence of temptations and commit deeds that they believe will make them happy. However, they realise a bit late that such things don’t last long but the damage they cause in one’s life and in one’s Karmic journey, only because they yielded to such temptations, can last a whole lifetime and longer.
Why do people fall for temptations?
त्रिविधं नरकस्येदं द्वारं नाशनमात्मनः |
कामः क्रोधस्तथा लोभस्तस्मादेतत्त्रयं त्यजेत् || १६ २१ ||
kaamaha krodhas-tathaa lobhas-
tasmaa detat trayam tyajet
There are three gates to destroying oneself – they are lust, anger, and greed. These three should therefore be given up.
एतैर्विमुक्तः कौन्तेय तमोद्वारैस्त्रिभिर्नरः |
आचरत्यात्मनः श्रेयस्ततो याति परां गतिम् || १६ २२ ||
tato yaati paraam gatim
A person who is liberated from these three gates of hell lives a life that is favourable for his soul and he goes to the Supreme goal!
यः शास्त्रविधिमुत्सृज्य वर्तते कामकारतः |
न स सिद्धिमवाप्नोति न सुखं न परां गतिम् || १६ २३ ||
vartate kaama kaarataha
na sa siddhi-mavaapnoti
na sukham na paraam gatim
A person who disregards the teachings of the scriptures and acts under the influence of desire, attains neither perfection, happiness nor the Supreme goal.
तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ |
ज्ञात्वा शास्त्रविधानोक्तं कर्म कर्तुमिहार्हसि || १६ २४ ||
tasmaach-chaastram pramaanam te
Therefore, let the scriptures be the authority and guide to let you know what you should do and what you should not do. Acquire knowledge from the teachings of the scriptures; and live and work according to that knowledge in this world.
Just as death is an unavoidable part of life, are separation and pain inevitable parts of possession and attachment. Why be attached to someone or to something that is impermanent? Why not be attached to the Eternal and Supreme Bhagavan Krishna who is the personification of the Supreme Truth?
The only permanent reality is Divine Consciousness. Learn to experience the Supreme Bhagavan Krishna after which, no one or nothing can ever cause you sadness, pain, fear, anxiety or anger.
Shreyo bhooyaath sakala janaanaam
May all be blessed with peace and happiness.
Jai Shri Krishna