Our Contaminated Desires
Posted November 7, 2004
This is in response to October 28, 2004, Chakra posting titled, "Karma for Adultery," The author asks, "Many people around us commit adultery. What are the karmic consequences for adultery? Does one go to a hellish planet or what exactly happens? Furthermore, if one is in a relationship but not yet married, would cheating on that person be considered adultery?"
Let us first address the desire to commit the adultery. Lord Jesus Christ states, "But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5.28) His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada has stated in various places that if one desires unregulated sexual activity, the Lord, by His causeless mercy, empowers the spirit soul with the appropriate body to fulfill the wish. One could, therefore, take a birth as a hog to cherish the no-holds-barred sexual activities with several partners including incestuous relationships within the immediate family. "It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father." (Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 14.4)
Let us now address the actual, physical adultery. His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada has repeatedly emphasized the entangling potency of sexual activity. When such desire is actually carried out in this very life, the reactionary karmic particles bind to the spirit soul requiring one to face the consequences. The fructification of karma may happen in this life or after life or future lives. Based on the severity of transgressions, one may serve time in hellish planets or animal bodies or other life forms. Heartfelt repentance, penance, and surrender to the Father could counteract the sinful activities. Prabhupada used to quote the following verse quite frequently, "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." (Bhagavad-gita As It Is 18.66)
Scriptures allow sexual activity between a man and a woman who are married to each other. This license is limited to begetting God conscious children. Many religions, therefore, disallow birth control measures. Abortion is uniformly condemned by nearly all religions.
Undoubtedly, sexual relationship outside of marriage is adultery and the severity of sin increases when one cheats on the person to whom one is committed but not married. E.g., in this material world, the punishment differs for driving above the posted speed limit compared to driving while intoxicated.
So what should we do with our contaminated desires that are held by our subtle bodies? (Subtle body is made up of our mind, intelligence and false ego.) "This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." (Bhagavad-Gita As It Is 7.14) Chanting Krsna's holy names, therefore, returns one to the original constitutional position of the Lord's eternal servitor. Lord Caitanya says, "One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw on the street, being more tolerant than a tree and always ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." (Siksastaka 3).
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada,
Mr. Suk Shah
Woodbury, Minnesota (USA)