Question: I want to give up lust, but I always have lusty thoughts. How can I renounce lust?
My Answer: You ask how it might be possible to renounce lust. It is impossible. I am sorry.
Even the gods cannot get free from lust. Even Brahmā became confused by it and began to pressure the goddess Vāk for intercourse. Even the greatest yogī (Śiva) has to contend with it – he had to burn the god of lust with his third eye, thus disturbing his meditation.
Nara-nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi, however, is noteworthy, for conquering lust is effortless for him. Nara-Nārāyana is Viṣṇu with his devotee. This is the key. I will try to explain it.
Lust is a permutation of love. When love is directed mainly upon one’s own gratification, it is “lust.”
Lust is a permutation of love.
Although sex is a very powerful way to explore lust, Sex is not inherently identical to lust. Krishna, for example, is extremely sexually active – but there is not even an atomic iota of lust in any of that sexual activity. Why? Because lust is the thirst to please oneself. There is no “thirst” in Krishna’s sexual activity, no sense of “need” or “emptiness to fill.” Krishna’s playful activities are not a search for happiness, they an expression of happiness. They are not attempts to fill a void of happiness, but are endeavors to share a surplus of it. His sexual activity is not an attempt to gratify himself, it is an endeavor to share his surplus bliss with other entities and thus please them.
Lust is undefeatable, but in the face of love, it disappears. This happens because love is the natural state of existence, and lust is a permutation that occurs only when existence is projected into some unnatural condition.
Lust only exists when a person feels emptiness and dissatisfaction inside; for lust is the endeavor to fill up that emptiness and remove that dissatisfaction. If we were completely satisfied, happy and effortlessly blissful – there would be no seed of lust.
So, never concentrate on “renouncing lust” – it will be a hopeless battle. Don’t try to take this enemy head-on. You can’t fight it head on, you have to cause it to surrender. Surrender to it is another option, but it never manages to fill the emptiness inside, so surrender to it is not a wise option. Better to make it surrender to you!
You can’t fight it head on, you have to inspire it to surrender!
The true self has svānanda (inherent bliss) in abundance. And the true self has an eternal, effortless relationship with the Supreme Self. This relationship facilitates Supreme Love, which causes an exremely abundant, overflowing happiness and joy, prema-ānanda. Try to realize this. It will cause lust to surrender to you.
Lust will begin to slacken as you begin to grasp the first hints of the first hints of the first hints of prema (Supreme Love). Eventually it will simply stop fighting, because it too becomes delighted by the Supreme Love, and wants to become involved in it, as a servant of that love.
Renunciation is hopeless.
So, don’t try to renounce lust, or anything else for that matter. Renunciation is hopeless. The ātmā is so small and dependent. Trying to renounce things and be independent from them is extremely difficult, painful, and almost surely doomed to failure since it is ultimately impossible for an ātmā to be absolutely self-sufficient. Instead of breaking yourself in this impossible battle, try to gain more and more cognizance of your true self, your eternal nature as a conscious being, your relationship to the Supreme Consciousness, and the divine love that is possible in that relationship.
Then lust will go away without effort, and merely as a side-effect.
Thus we see that people with a lot of prema, a lot of divine love, are very often very, very simple, minimalist, “renounced” people – because they have no wants or desires, because the prema satisfies them so completely. But it is a mistake to take this by-product of prema as if it were the main goal.
Try for renunciation: be prepared to fall on your face forever.
Try for prema: renunciation happens as a matter of fact, without effort, and very naturally and wholesomely.
– Vraja Kishor dās