Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 15 Nov 2019

     

How can we control bad qualities like sex, anger, greed etc., which seem impossible to control?

[This question is part of a mahā satsaṅga or a great spiritual discussion between Swami and several devotees who had come from various places, seeking the clarification of their doubts.]

Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! You need not control or eliminate any quality since all qualities are created by God. Every quality has been created by God only for a good purpose. They become bad only when they are used for bad purposes by souls. You cannot say that some qualities are good and other qualities are bad. Every quality has both good and bad sides. The good side of any quality means using it for the purpose intended by God, while the bad side is using it for the opposite purpose, as is often done by souls. Hence, every quality is like a coin having two sides—good and bad—which are determined by the direction in which the quality is used.

Trying to eliminate any quality completely is indeed foolish! It shows the lack of complete knowledge about qualities. If you do not use any quality at all—even for the intended good purpose—the quality remains idle. In fact, you are supressing the quality. If you thus, forcibly imprison any quality, it gets furious and revolts against you. With that quality rebelling against you inside, you will lose your balance and end up using the quality hastily, in a wrong way. So, never try to suppress or eliminate any quality in you. Know that every quality was undoubtedly created by God for some good purpose. Try to use the quality for its original good purpose as intended by God. By trying to eliminate any quality, you are insulting God. It means that you feel that God was foolish or sadistic to create these so-called bad qualities which bring harm to human beings! You must realize that even so-called good quality has a bad side and the so-called bad quality has a good side. No quality is totally good or totally bad. Hence, all your efforts to eliminate any quality in you are totally meaningless and foolish! Let Me clarify this concept with some examples.

1) You think that anger is a bad quality. You do not recognize its good side. The good side of anger is getting angry with one’s children or students in order to correct them. You can also get angry with unjust people in order to control them, if possible. Rāma has been described as a person who would get angry only to punish unjust people (Sthānakrodhaḥ prahartāca). He became furious with sage Jābāli who was speaking in an unjust manner. He also punished many unjust people. Killing Vāli, Rāvaṇa and several demons are examples of the same. The bad side of anger is getting angry with good and just people and hurting them.

2) You think that lust is a bad quality, but it too has both good and bad sides. Legitimate sex is the good side and illegitimate sex is the bad side. The intense desire for sex is called lust and such lust between husband and wife is good because frequent sex is required for conceiving a baby. There are several gynaecological factors which hinder the fertilization of the ovum, making frequent sex necessary. Having children is essential for raising the future generations and perpetuating the human race. The Veda supports such legitimate sex (Prajātantuṃ mā...) and the Gita says that it is as sacred as God (Dharmāviruddhaḥ...). But illegitimate sex is sinful and it is punished by God as in the case of Rāvaṇa and others.

3) You think that greed is a bad quality, but it too has both good and bad sides. Greed and its related quality of miserliness are required to avoid doing charity to undeserving receivers. Hasty charity is bad because it is done without ensuring that the recipient of the charity is deserving. The only exception is in the case of a beggar who is starving to death. In that case, there is no need to assess the beggar’s deservingness. Feeding him and saving his life is an urgent necessity. Charity to the deserving brings merit while charity done to the undeserving is sin and it leads you to hell. The Veda says that analysis to assess the deservingness of the receiver is essential before doing charity (Saṃvidā deyam). The Gita also stresses on donating to a deserving receiver (Pātreca, tat dānaṃ sāttvikam...).

4) You think that fascination or attachment is a bad quality, but it too has both good and bad sides. In pravṛtti, one’s fascination for one’s legitimate bonds is good, whereas the fascination for illegitimate bonds is bad. In nivṛtti, one’s fascination for God is good, whereas the fascination for one’s worldly bonds, even if the bonds are legitimate, is bad.

5) You think that pride is a bad quality, but it too has both good and bad sides. Pride in the form of self-confidence is good, but pride in the form of ego is bad. If you are proud that you are a disciple of God Datta, God Datta is pleased. But if you are egotistic about your own strength and you harm good people, God Datta will punish you.

6) You think that jealousy is a bad quality, but it too has both good and bad sides. Being jealous of a fellow-student who is better than you, will motivate you to improve in your studies. But if you try to harm your classmate who is performing better than you, you will be punished by God. Jealousy directed in a positive direction is encouraged when one is in the stage of learning (Spardhayā varadhate vidyā).

7) You think that speaking the truth is a good quality, but it too has both good and bad sides. If you speak the truth and due to it, a good person is harmed, then that speaking of the truth becomes a sin. A sage went to hell for speaking the truth in such a wrong context! If you speak the untruth and due to it, if a good person is benefited, that speaking of the untruth is meritorious.

8) You think that non-violence is a good quality, but it too has both good and bad sides. The good side is not harming good people and the bad side is tolerating bad people. The Gita shows both the good and the bad sides of this so-called good quality by saying that God protects good people and destroys bad people (Paritrāṇāya...). Even Jesus, the embodiment of non-violence, said that sinners would be thrown into the liquid fire. Prophet Mohammad used violence to suppress the terrible violence caused by several religions fighting with each other over their different Gods. Kalki, the Incarnation of God who will arrive at the end of the Kali Age, will also use extreme violence to establish justice in the world. Even Rāma killed the unjust Vāli by hiding behind a tree and shooting an arrow. It appears that Rāma cheated, but the reality is that Rāma only did it to avoid the effect of the boon that Vāli had received. As per the boon Vāli would get half the strength of anyone who faced him in battle. It had made Vāli invincible and he had misused the boon to commit injustice against his brother. Since Rāma was God, He knew who was really good and who was really bad. So, He punished the sinful Vāli by killing him. But this behaviour of Rāma should not be imitated by others. This is because, it is difficult for us to impartially judge whether we or our enemy is right. Being the judge in our own personal case is not correct as said in the Veda (Ye tatra Brāhmaṇāḥ sammarśinaḥ...). We should not take the law into our own hands, otherwise, everybody will declare their enemy to be at fault and justify their revenge on their enemy as a punishment given to the enemy for their correction.

From the above examples, we should learn to develop the talent of managing the qualities appropriately while doing various activities in the world. This is yoga (Yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam...—Gita). It is only then, that you will not be disturbed by the qualities (Guṇairyo na vicālyate—Gita). The Gita says that an intellectual should discard the old classification of good and bad in which some qualities are thought to be totally good while some other qualities are thought to be totally bad. Every quality should be realized to have both good and bad sides, depending on the context in which the action is performed (Buddhiyukto jahātīha ubhe sukṛtaduṣkṛte). The Gita says that sex, anger and greed are the gates to hell only when they are used in the wrong direction (Kāmaḥ krodhaḥ...).

| Shri Dattaswami | Spardhayaa varadhate vidyaa Paritraanaaya Etatra Brahmanaah sammarishinah Yogah karmasu kaushalam Gunairyona vichaalyate Buddhiyukto jahaatiiha ubhe sukrutadushkrute Kaamah krodhah Sthaanakrodhah prahartaacha Prajaatantum Dharmaaviruddhah Samvidaa deyam Paatrecha tat daanam saattvikam