Q: I am an initiated devotee and stay away from my shiksha guru as well as diksha guru. I attend local chapter of the ISKCON temple thrice a week and participate in the activities of the temple. My (including my wife) daily routine of activities are as per ISKCON guidance. We get up at 3.30am, mangala arti at 4.30am, chant 16 rounds by 8am and listen bhagavatam lectures, take prasadam etc in the house for 4 days, 3 days in the temple. I chant 32 rounds of japa daily and my wife 20 rounds.
The Problem is: even after practising this for many years, i am tempted to see famous movies and mythological serials. Can you please explain why this happens and suggest remedial measures for avoiding these attractions.
Persistent sense gratification tendencies are due to residual impurities of heart, intermittent contact with the mode of passion, and one’s prior tendencies/bad habits resurfacing. There are certain remedial measures you can take to avoid these attractions:
What to do ~
BG 10.11 directly address this question. “The darkness born of ignorance” is precisely this: residual tendencies to indulge the senses in sense objects, in the mood of trying to enjoy. Krishna alone can lift one from this tendency.
The same understanding is found in Kapiladeva’s teachings: the power of bhakti is so great that it has the power to dissolve false ego, the very covering that keeps us within the sphere of fruitive activities and sense gratification.
Here are some practical steps to consider.
1. When the urge or the push for watching movies and serials come, engage yourself in some devotional activity such as reading, chanting, hearing lectures, etc. One should tolerate the urge to turn on the TV/computer to watch movies. Every time and as soon as you catch yourself caught in this temptation, just shift your consciousness to a mood of service towards Krishna. Then re-instate your devotional practices with ENTHUSIASM, DETERMINATION AND PATIENCE. You have to do this as many times as it is required, with courage and patience towards yourself and with a mood of loving service towards guru and Krishna. There is no short-cut to this.
Understand that this unsteady tendency is a given in the early stages of bhakti and the only way to get past this is by continuing to try, try and try again. When we endeavor sincerely like that, we attract Krishna’s mercy, who then kindly pulls us out of this anartha.
2. Seek out the help of an advanced devotee during such times. It can be a simple phone call to such a devotee and sharing your feelings.
3. Strive ceaselessly for attentiveness while chanting. Conversely, make sure your chanting is not becoming mechanical. Srila Prabhupada mentions that one should engage one’s mind in hearing one’s chanting.
4. Also one can pray to Krishna sincerely to help remove this unwanted desire from one’s heart.
5. Seek the association of advanced devotees and serve them sincerely. By doing so, by their blessings, the anarthas/unwanted desires from one’s heart gradually vanish.