LESSON IN DHARMA: VYASJI
January 08, 2005
Des Plaines Mandira

In Bhagavad Gita 2/60, Lord Krishna tells Arjun, "Yatato hy api kaunteya purusasya vipascitah indriyani pramathini haranti prasabham manaha" or, "The senses are so strong and impetuous that they forcibly carry away even the mind of a man with discriminating knowledge." Thus, regardless of one's spiritual elevation, one should stay away from vishayas (objects of attraction to the senses).

In Swami Ni Vato 13/36, Gunatitanand Swami references Bhagavat 9/19/17: "Maatraa svasraa duhitraa vaa naaviviktaasano bhavet. Balavaan indriya-graamo vidvaamsam api karsati." This means "One should not allow oneself to sit on the same seat even with one's own mother, sister or daughter, for the senses are so strong that even though one is very advanced in knowledge, he may become attracted." Vyasji asked Jaimini Rushi to look over the shlokas (verses) he had composed. When Jaimini Rushi saw this verse, he thought that while this was true for a common man, it surely did not apply to a learned person. When he told Vyasji that he did not agree with the verse, Vyasji did not argue, but deferred the question to let Jaimini Rushi experience the truth for himself. Soon after, late at night, Jaimini Rushi's sister came to visit him and explained she had to spend the night there due to the heavy rains. Jaimini Rushi let her into an adjoining hut and sensing that his mind had gone astray, he cautioned her to bolt the door and not let anyone, even himself, enter. When Jaimini Rushi returned to his dwelling and commenced his meditation, he could not remove the image of his sister from his mind and went to speak to her. He knocked on the door, but heeding his earlier warning, she did not let him in. But Jaimini Rushi felt an uncontrollable attraction and climbed over the roof and went to hug her. When he opened his eyes, instead of his sister, he saw the bearded Vyasji, who simply asked, "Tell me again, what do you think, should we write that shloka?" Jaimini Rushi understood his mistake and immediately repented.

In Vachanamrut Gadhada Middle 35, Lord Swaminarayan explains, "No one should believe that men and women can stay in each other's company and still be able to maintain their dharma. This fact is true, and no one should doubt it. When can one maintain one's dharma? Only if those who are saints abide by the niyamas prescribed for them, such as brahmachaarya, will they be able to maintain their dharma...In the same way, if householder devotees abide by the niyamas prescribed for them - including not staying in an isolated place with even one's young mother, sister, or daughter; and not extensively looking at them either - then they will also be able to maintain their dharma." Lord Swaminarayan also commands this in Shikshapatri verse 136.

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