“The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.37)Download this episode (right click and save)
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam
It’s a problem that afflicts man and woman alike. It is there in children, and even in adults. It knows no prejudice. It doesn’t harm one person but spare another. It is like a disease, but actually every person invites it. The invitation came a long time ago, a point in time that we can’t remember, as the subtle body was different compared to the present state of development.
That disease is kama, which translates to “lust” in English. In the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna declares kama to be the all-devouring enemy of this world. Every negative encounter, every experience that we’d rather soon forget, is due to kama. It is due to this lust that birth in the material world takes place, and it is the reason rebirth continues.
Is there a way out? Is there a vaccine to prevent the dangers of kama from taking hold? The solution is as simple as a change in desire. Kama can also be translated to mean “a desire to enjoy separately from the Supreme Lord.” In its purified form kama is bhakti, which is love and devotion. Simply change desire and lust will soon be conquered. There is also Mahadeva to help. He is the great god, and he is known for conquering lust in many ways.
1. He lives very renounced
Mahadeva is also known as Rudra. He can get very angry. You don’t want to see him angry. What is he capable of when put into a fit of rage? He can destroy the entire world. For this reason he is also known as the destroyer. There is creation, effected by the deva known as Brahma. Vishnu handles the subsequent maintenance. Destruction will come eventually, as that is the effect of time. For any of us who are worried about what will happen to our possessions going forward, we should know that they are already gone. It is simply a matter of waiting for the appropriate time to arrive.
Mahadeva has hardly any possessions. He has no desire to exploit the material creation. He is not even attached to his duty of destroying. He lives simply, with barely any clothes. He resides in a remote mountain, always chanting the holy names of Rama. This name references the Divinity in the worshipable form of choice for Mahadeva.
2. He performs his duty with detachment
Mahadeva is known for eka-patni-vrata, which means “the vow to accept only one wife.” First he marries a girl named Sati, who is the daughter of Daksha. Daksha is one of the prajapatis, or progenitors of the human race. The name Sati also means “chaste,” which indicates that Mahadeva’s wife is ideal in every way.
One time things go wrong to the point that Sati decides to voluntarily quit her body. Mahadeva has no desire to marry again, but at the insistence of his Lord he agrees. It is actually the same wife, reincarnated as the daughter of the mountain king. Mahadeva could refuse out of fear of falling into kama, but as a matter of duty he goes through with the marriage. Thus despite taking part in two marriage ceremonies as the groom Mahadeva is more renounced than most people who never marry.
3. He literally burns Kamadeva to death
After Sati’s death, the demigods needed a way to get Mahadeva’s attention. Another of his names is Shiva, which means “auspicious.” Mahadeva was engaged in the auspicious activity of meditating on the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord Rama. The demigods asked kama personified to shoot one of his arrows of love into Mahadeva. Kamadeva is akin to Cupid.
After being struck with the arrow, Shiva turned around and instantly burned Cupid to death. This happened with a single glance. In this way Mahadeva is known to have literally conquered lust. After his meditation was broken, the demigods got the chance to put their request to him. They needed a fighter who could defeat a powerful enemy. It was told that only the offspring of Shiva could accomplish this. Through the union of Shiva and Parvati, that offspring would arrive and accomplish the work of the demigods.
4. He speaks on the glories of Rama
Mahadeva lives renounced, always meditating. Since he lives with his wife Parvati, they speak to each other as well. Mahadeva is the guru and Parvati the ideal disciple. Mahadeva speaks only about the Supreme Lord. He is known for his delivery of Hari-katha, focusing especially on Shri Rama. Indeed, this path is more effective at controlling lust than direct renunciation. Hearing about God’s glories arouses feelings of bhakti, which rest within everyone in a seed form. The spiritual master, or guru, brings that seed to life and gives instructions on how to nurture it to maturity. The full blown creeper of devotion gives shade from the scorching rays of kama, which can consume the individual like a fire going through wood.
5. He gets the favor of the Lord
Narada Muni is another person who is always devoted to the Supreme Lord. He travels the three worlds delivering Hari-katha and chanting the name of Narayana, which references God’s feature as the source of all men. One time Narada visited Mahadeva and started to mildly boast about having conquered kama. Mahadeva sensed that Narada’s pride might harm him in the future.
Sure enough, Hari Himself set up a trap to teach Narada a lesson. Similar things have happened with Shiva, but we should know that this is the work of yogamaya. This is the illusory energy which helps the devotees. It is the opposite of mahamaya, under whom kama operates.
Indeed, the only way to fully conquer lust is to have the favor of the origin of all energies. Mahadeva has this favor, and so he is never under the sway of kama. He is the best of the Vaishnavas, or devotees of Vishnu. Through his example and blessings, the same favor can come to the fallen souls, who have been suffering from the effects of kama for very long.
With proper focus holy names to chant,
Then kama sway the individual it can’t.
Mahadeva in many ways victory earned,
Living renounced, by him Kamadeva burned.
On the glories of Shri Rama always speaking,
Despite marriage, attention on bhakti keeping.
Favor of Lord Himself reason most of all,
Same when on us Shiva’s blessings to fall.