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BadhabitsCausesandCures
byChaitanyaCharandasDecember25,2011

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Thetroutisluredbythewormonthehookofthefisherman,themousebythecheeseinthemousetrap.Atragicironyofthe
struggleforexistenceisthatlivingbeingsareoftendestroyedbywhattheydesire.Butatleastthefishandthemousehave
excuses:thebaitandthecheeselooklikesustenance.Also,thefishandthemousedonotknowinadvancethattheywillbe
trapped.Humansseldomhaveeitheroftheseexcuses.Thetemptationsthatwrecktheirlivesarequiteoftenpureindulgences
knowntobedangerous.Forexample,noonehastosmokeforsurvivalandallsmokersareawarethatsmokingisdangerous.

TragicallyTrapped
ConsiderthefollowingWorldHealthOrganizationstatistics:
Tobaccokillsnearly10,000peopleworldwideeveryday.
By2020itispredictedthattobaccousewillcauseover12%ofalldeathsglobally.ThisismoredeathsworldwidethanHIV,tuberculosis,maternalmortality,
motorvehicleaccidents,suicideandhomicidecombined.
Halfofthosewhostartsmokinginadolescencewilldieinmiddleage,losingaround22yearsofnormallifeexpectancy.

Considerfurtherthefollowingfacts:
Anaveragecigarettecontains401poisonsand43cancercausingchemicals.
Therearearound1.1billionsmokersintheworld(aboutonethirdoftheglobalpopulationaged15andover).

Thus,wehavequiteasoberingpictureoftheworldaroundus.Thestatisticsaboutotherselfdestructivebehavioralpatterns
alcoholism,substanceabuseandsuicideareequally,ifnotmore,alarming.Andevenamongsocallednormalpeople,
practicallyeveryoneisvictimizedbysomeformofselfdestructivebehavioralpatternunwarrantedexpressionsofangerthat
turnouttobedisastrous,unintentionaluseofcausticwordsthatbreakheartsandsoon.
Aquestionnaturallyarises:howdoesanintelligenthumanbeingembarkonsuchadestructivecourse?Mostpeopleknow
thatwhentheystart,say,smoking,theyaretreadingintoadangerzone.Butthemedia,theirfriendscircleandthepeddlers
persuadethemtoexperimentjustonce.Seekingabreakfromthehumdrumdailylifewithitsinanepleasures,theyacquiesce.
Theimpressionofinstantpleasuregetsembeddedintheirmindandinfuturewhenevertheyfaceareversal,theytendtoseek
immediatereliefthroughsmoking.Everysuccessiveexperienceofsmokingreinforcestheearlierimpressions,strengthensthe

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tendencytoseekmomentaryreliefandweakensthevoiceofintelligenceandconscience.Smokingbecomesanirresistible
demand,acompulsiveneed,anaddiction.Smokersturnintohelplessvictims,drivenagainandagaintotheinstantrelief
offeredbythepuffs.

CurrentSolutions
Herearesomemethodsnowinuseforbreakingaddictions:
1.Knowledge:Ifpeoplewerebettereducatedaboutthedangersinvolved,wouldthatdeterthemfromaddictiveindulgences?
Maybesometimes,butnotgenerally.Infact,knowledgesometimeshastheoppositeeffect.Forexample,inmostcountries,
aftergovernmentalregulationsmadeitmandatorytodisplaythestatutorywarning,Cigarettesmokingisinjurioustohealthon
everycigaretteadandpack,cigarettesalesincreasedthewarningtendedtoevokeadaredevilspiritinsmokers.
2.EmotionalSupport:Peopleoftenturntoaddictionswhenemotionallyletdownorbetrayedbylovedones.Emotionally
neglectedadolescentsareespeciallysusceptibletoaddictions.Providingemotionalsupportthroughpersonalcounselingisa
potentialsolution.Butprofessionalcounselingoftenleadstochronicdependenceonthecounselor.Andformany,
professionalguidancecoststoomuch.Friendscanhelp,butinourfastpacedmodernlife,fewpeoplecaninvestthetimeand
energyneededtoconsistentlyprovideintensiveemotionalsupport.
3.Sublimation:Sublimationinvolvesreplacingagrossphysicaldrivewithamorerefinedsubstitute.Forexample,an
alcoholicmighttrytoseekrefugeinmusicinsteadofalcohol.Butthiscanworkonlyifhehasastronglikingformusicandif
hisaddictiontoalcoholisnotoverpowering.Duetothealcoholicsrecentmentalimpressionsofindulgenceinalcohol,that
urgegenerallyappearsfarmoreattractivethanitssubstitute.
4.Willpower:Seeingthephysicalandemotionalpainthatheisinflictinguponhimselfandhislovedones,anaddictmay
sometimesbysheerdeterminationdecidetogiveuphispervertedhabit.Unfortunatelyfewpeopleareabletomustersuch
strongwillpower.Evenifsuccessful,theyfacethegrimprospectofanentirelifetimeofconstantinnerstrugglewiththefearof
succumbingatanymoment.Andfailureoftenbringswithitintolerablefeelingsofguilt,makinglivingitselfanagony.

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5.Substitution:Addictsoftentrytoswitchtheiraddictiontoalessharmfulsubstitutesmokerstrypatchornicotinegum
(whichgivesmalldosesofthedrug),heroinaddictstrymethadoneandsoon.Whilethismaymaketheaddictionless
debilitating,theaddictisstillnotfreedfromhisemotionalcravingandmentaldependenceonexternalsubstances.Alsothe
substitutedrugcontinuestotakeitstollonthehealthandthewealthoftheaddict.Thussubstitutionleadsatbesttolessening
oftheevilandatworsttoitsperpetuation,nevertoitselimination.
6.Religion:Statisticalsurveyshaveshownthatthereligiouslycommittedarelesslikelytosuccumbtoseekingperverted
pleasures.Adoptingreligiousprinciplesrigorouslyalsosometimeshelpsaddictstofreethemselves.DrPatrickGlynnwritesin
hisbookGod:TheEvidence,Itisdifficulttofindamoreconsistentcorrelativeofmentalhealth,orabetterinsuranceagainst
selfdestructivebehaviors,thanastrongreligiousfaith.
Whileeachofthesemethodshashadsomesmallsuccess,therealsolutiontoselfdestructivebehaviorliesinunderstanding
itsroots.
LetsconsidertheproblemfromtheVedicperspective.

TheVedicParadigm
IntheBhagavadgita(3.36),ArjunaasksLordKrishna,Bywhatisoneimpelledtosinfulacts,evenunwillingly,asifengaged
byforce?LordKrishnareplies,Itislustonly,Arjuna,whichisbornofcontactwiththemodeofpassionandlatertransformed
intowrath,andwhichisthealldevouringsinfulenemyofthisworld.
ThebackgroundtothisdialogueisthefundamentalteachingoftheBhagavadgita.Thesourceoflifeinthematerialbody,the
actualself,isanonmaterialparticleofspirit,knownastheatmanorthesoul.Theessentialneedofthesoulistoloveandbe
lovedandtoexperienceunboundedhappinessthroughlovingexchange.Beingspiritualbyconstitution,thesoulbelongstoa
higherdimensionalmilieu,thespiritualworld.Therethelovingpropensityofthesoulfindscompletefulfillmentinthe
supremelylovableallattractiveperson,whopersonallyreciprocateswithhislove.Infact,theVedictextsstate:ekobahusyam.
TheSupremehasexpandedintoinfinitesubordinatesforthepurposeoflovingreciprocation.TheVedantaSutraexplains:
rasovaisah.TheSupremeisthereservoirofalldivinelovingemotions.TheSrimadBhagavatamconfirmsthatthisSupreme

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PersonisallattractiveandisthereforebestknownbythenameKrishna,whichmeansallattractiveinSanskrit.Inthespiritual
world,Krishnaisthepivotofallrelationshipsandthesoulcontinuallyrelisheseverintensifyingandeverexpandingecstasies
ofloveinrelationshipwithHimthere.
Lovenecessitatesfreedomonlywhentheobjectoflovefreelychoosestoreciprocateoneslovedoestheexperienceoflove
becomestrulysatisfyingandfulfilling.Thesoulisthereforeendowedwithaminutefreewilltoenablehimtoexperiencethejoy
oflovingKrishna.ButwhenthesoulmisuseshisfreewillandbecomescauselesslyunwillingtoloveKrishna,hehastofinda
substituteinwhomhecanreposehislovingpropensity.Ofcourse,bydefinition,therecanbenosubstitutefortheSupreme.
And,byhisveryconstitution,thesoulcannotfindhappinessinlovinganyoneotherthantheSupreme.Butforthosesoulswho
insistonmakingthatattempt,theworldofmatter(whereallofuscurrentlyreside)providesthenecessaryarrangementfor
experimentationandrectification.

TheEnemyWithin
Assoonasthesoulcomestothematerialworld,hisloveforKrishnabecomespervertedintolust.Lustisaformidableillusory
forcethatoffersthesoulvarioussurrogateobjectsoflovetoexperimentwith.Lustcreatesandperpetuatesthe
misidentificationofthesoulwiththematerialbodythatheisgiven.Lustcauseswithinalllivingbeingstheoverpoweringdrive
forgrosssexualenjoymentinspecific,andallformsofmaterialenjoymentingeneral.
Moderncivilizationwithitsmedia,socialenvironment,cultureandoverallvaluesaggravateslustdisproportionately.Especially
thecelluloidpromisesofunendingsexualblissprovokewilderoticfantasies.Buttheactualexperienceofsexualenjoymentis
heartbreakinglybriefdreamscherishedforyearsvanishwithinmoments.Thoughwhatpeopleexperienceissopathetically
littleascomparedtothehype,themediablitzgoadsthemon.Sexualenjoyment,especiallyillicit,isacomplicatedaffairit
involvesmoney,time,intenseemotions,interpersonalrelationshipdynamics,riskforprestigeandsoon.Andtheattemptfor
suchenjoyment,evenifsomehowsuccessful,leavesonefeelingdisappointedandcheatedandcravingformore.Andif
unsuccessfulitcreatesgreatanger.Eitherwaythevictimsaresoonsoenslavedbylustthatthemoretheytry,themorethey
getfrustrated,andyetthemoretheybecomeimpelledtokeeptrying.Eventually,theaccumulatedenormousfrustration
makesinstantreliefadesperatenecessity.Suchpeopleeasilyfallpreytothelureofquickpleasuresofferedbyaddictions.

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Lustisthustheinternalenemy,whichcausesallselfdestructivebehavioralpatterns.TheGita(18.39)describesvividlythe
natureofallpervertedpleasures:theyappeartobelikenectaratfirstbutpoisonattheend.SrilaPrabhupadacomments,
Whileoneenjoyssensegratification,itmaybethatthereissomefeelingofhappiness,butactuallythatsocalledfeelingof
happinessistheultimateenemyofthesenseenjoyer.Why?Becauseitreinforcestheillusionthattruehappinesscanbe
foundinthisworld.
Lustispresentineveryoneinvaryingdegrees.Thatiswhyeveryone,nomatterhowmateriallysuccessfulhemaybe,has
sometendenciestowardsselfdestructivebehavior.Peoplegenerallybecomeconcernedaboutsuchtendenciesonlywhenit
exceedssociallyacceptablelimits.Butactuallylustthrottlestheabilityofeveryonetomakemeaningfulcontributionstoward
societyandeventowardstheirownfuturethedifferenceisonlyindegree.Fromthespiritualpointofview,lustisinherently
selfdestructiveitstripsthesouloftheunlimitedspiritualhappinessthatishisbirthrightandforceshimtolaborforpaltry
materialsensationsofpleasurethatcanneversatisfyhisimmortallonging.

TheOnlyWaytoConquerLust
Lustbeingaperversionofouroriginal,essentialnature,cannotpossiblybeannihilated,suppressed,repressedoreven
sublimated.ButitcanberevertedtoitsoriginalnaturebyredirectingourlovingpropensitybacktoKrishnathroughthe
scientificprocessofdevotionalservice.ActiononthespiritualplatformiswhatLordKrishnarecommendstoArjunaasthekey
toovercominglust,Thereforeknowingoneselftobetranscendentaltothematerialsenses,mindandintelligence,Omighty
armedArjuna,oneshouldsteadythemindbydeliberatespiritualintelligence(Krishnaconsciousness)andthusbyspiritual
strengthconquerthisinsatiableenemyknownaslust.(Bhagavadgita3.43)
ThechannelingofconsciousnessfrommatterbacktoKrishnaismosteasilyandeffectivelyexecutedthroughthemediumof
divinesound.TheSupremePersonKrishnabeingomnipotentisfullypresentinHisHolyNames.ChantingoftheHolyNames
thereforeconnectsoneimmediatelywithKrishna,whoisthesupremepleasureprinciple.RegularmeditationontheHoly
Namesenablesonetoexperiencehappinessstreamingdownfromthespiritualdimension.Thisspiritualpleasureisso
satisfyingthatitsoonfreesonefromthecravingforpervertedmundanepleasureslikedrugs,alcoholetc.

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MillionsofpeopleallovertheworldhaveexperiencedthepurifyingpotencyoftheHolyNamesofGod.Duringtheperiodof
thecountercultureintheUSin1960sand1970s,SrilaPrabhupadapropagatedthecongregationalchantingoftheHoly
Namesandsavedthousandsofyoungpeoplefromacondemnedlifeofdrugaddiction.AllovertheglobeISKCONdevotees
whopracticemantrameditationchantingofthemahamantraHareKrishnaHareKrishnaKrishnaKrishnaHareHareHare
RamaHareRamaRamaRamaHareHareeverydayfortwohoursareeasilyabletoeschewintoxication(ofallforms),
gambling,meateatingandillicitsex,whicharetheprimaryselfdestructiveactivitiesimpelledbylust.Becausethesefour
activitiesgreatlyobscuretheoriginalconsciousnessofthesoul,abstainingfromthemhelpstoacceleratethepurificationof
thechanting.Howeverchantingissopowerfulthat,evenifoneisinitiallyunabletogiveuptheseactivities,ifonejust
continueschanting,soononewillexperiencespiritualpleasureandgettheinnerstrengthtogetridofthem.Whenmany
peopleinthemoderntimesaresocaptivatedandenslavedbylustthattheyconsiderlifewithouttheseactivitiesan
impossibility,devoteesleadlivesthatarenatural,peaceful,satisfying,meaningfulandconstructive,protectedastheyareby
theirmantrameditation.
Butthebenefitsofchantingdonotstopatfreedomfromaddiction,norischantingmeantonlyforthosevictimizedbyself
destructivebehavioralpatterns.ChantingtheHolyNamesofGodisauniversal,timetested,nonsectarianmethodofbringing
abouttheblossomingofconsciousnesstoitshighestbloomofpureloveforGodandalllivingbeings.Chantingfreesonefrom
allselfishdesires,whichthrottletheflowofthefullnessoflife.Itenablesonetoexperiencewithinoneselfcontinuous
happiness,whichisabsolutelyindependentofthestateofthebodyandtheexternalworld.Chantingthusheraldstheadvent
ofalifeofselflessspiritualservicetoGodandallHischildren.Thisselflessnesswithinindividualsalonecanformthebasisof
lastingworldpeaceandharmony.
TheworldfamousBeatle,lateGeorgeHarrison,adiligentpractitionerofmantrameditation,sings:
Ifyouopenupyourheart,
YouwillknowwhatImean
Wevebeenpollutedsolong
Butheresawayforyoutogetclean
BychantingthenameoftheLordand
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Youllbefree
TheLordisawaitingonyoualltoawaken
Andsee.
AwaitingOnYouAll
FromthealbumAllThingsMustPass

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3Comments
Leavearesponse

supriyagore
March18,2012at9:11am(http://www.thespiritualscientist.com/2011/12/badhabitscausesandcures/#comment3171)
Nicearticle!

(http://www.thespiritualscientist.com/2011/12/badhabitscausesandcures/?replytocom=3171#respond)

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Shriji
March29,2014at11:16am(http://www.thespiritualscientist.com/2011/12/badhabitscausesandcures/#comment3172)
Agoodarticlewithinsightsonhumantendenciesthatleadstoactionsthatareunsustainable.ThewisdomoftheBhagvatGitaforthesolutioniscaptured
well.Ifwearetowanttohaveasustainablefuturethecoreareatoaddressishumanindulgences,becauseinherentlywearepositive,theindulgences
makeusnegativeandunsustainableliving,whichweotherwisefeelareluxuriesandwellbeingstatusoflife.

(http://www.thespiritualscientist.com/2011/12/badhabitscausesandcures/?replytocom=3172#respond)

Nk
March2,2015at8:32am(http://www.thespiritualscientist.com/2011/12/badhabitscausesandcures/#comment3173)
WonderfulArticle,Theanswerihavebeensearchingfor.ThanksforPosting

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