Due to a small mistake of the immigration officials at Kabul, Richard (now Radhanath Swami) was now stranded alone at night. A friendly Dutch lady took Richard to her home and fed him dinner and provided a room. Soon however, she presented her body to Richard to fulfill her lusty desires. Richard’s mind reeled as he struggled to come out of her grips. Her six foot bodyguard threatened to kill Richard if he didn’t submit to her desires. With all his might, Richard heaved the woman off and escaped, the body guard closely chasing to kill Richard.
Somehow Richard escaped and later contemplated on the powers of passion. Radhanath Swami writes his realization, “sex could be a gift of God but when it becomes an obsession, it plunders all intelligence and people are driven to abominable acts to satisfy their lust.” Richard thought of directing the sex energy toward prayer and devotion. He vowed to remain a celibate for the remainder of his life, and prayed to God to help him keep his commitment.
Radhanath Swami explains that throughout history there have been saints in all traditions who have raised beautiful families utilizing sex as a divine offering. At the same time, throughout the same history many saints took the vow of celibacy because they realized the charm of the opposite sex to be a distraction from their exclusive dedication to God.
One of the biggest distractions in spiritual life is the ravaging lust that has the human society in its vicious grip. Quoting scriptures, Radhanath Swami compares lust to fire. The more we try to fulfill the lusty desires, more the fire burns our consciousness. Lust is an obsession to be the selfish enjoyer; this consciousness can never make us happy because our constitutional position is to serve. The more we seek to gratify our base carnal desires, the further we go from our loving service to God.
Sex was not discovered in the twentieth century. Radhanath Swami warns that Lust has been a major problem throughout the history of mankind, and nobody escapes the power and influence of lust. Even sincere spiritual seekers, although they may not idolize it, they have to reckon with its embarrassing presence in their consciousness. Lust starts at puberty, and that is when most boys begin their battle with lust. And now in our culture there is the added temptation of movies, magazines, and the computer. Radhanath Swami once said that lust is when we see the opposite sex not as a person but as a thing. Most people untrained in spiritual principles never learn what love is, but spend the rest of their lives under the dominion of lust. Little wonder that Marlyn Monroe, the heart throb of the 1960’s said, “I hate being a thing.” She was a sex symbol, and a symbol is a thing. She never really felt loved as a person but only used like a thing.
To make tangible spiritual advancement, a seeker of God has to desire to get rid of this negativity from the heart. Radhanath Swami assures we can do this through sincere prayers and by cultivating a desire to selflessly serve.