Vanity thought #406. Rishyasringa solution

Technically it was his father Vibhandaka’s idea, not Rishyasringa’s, but let’s say his father named the method after his son.

The background was that Vibhandaka got so much yogic power that Indra himself felth threatened and decided Vibhandaka had to be seduced, so he sent down an apsara called Urvasi who did the job admirably. As soon as the child was born she, however, left Vibhandaka and returned to Indra’s court. That infuriated the sage so much that he decided that women have no place neither in his nor his son’s lives anymore.

Thus Rishyasringa grew up in he forest in total isolation and had absolutely no idea that there are such things as genders and females and attraction between members of opposite sex. It’s hard to imagine how Vibhandaka explained to him where children come from because he must have seen baby animals in the forest and for the brahmana of his caliber he must have made some connections. Besides the point, though.

Anyway, Vibhandaka thought that the best way to avoid women’s snares is not avoid them altogether, and that is what I call Rishyasringa solution. It didn’t really work in the end, one might say, but still the years of abstinence paid off nicely when Rishyasringa officiated the ceremony in which Lord Ramachandra was begotten – not bad for a falldown, huh?

Practically it means that we have to avoid all women apart from our family members. No one knows when and where Cupid might strike his heart and make grown men behave like love smitten fools. This is something I have been contemplating for a long long time – many years ago one astrologer explained that near death experience in my early sixties would be the result of falling for a young girl. Well, this is going to be embarrassing.

I imagine that it would ruin all my good fortune and reputation, but on the upside it would force me to renounce the family life and take to spiritual practice from the low and humble position of someone whose ego is completely shattered. More of a boon, in the big scheme of things, but not a particularly pleasant experience to live through, if I even survive the accompanying heart attack which I was never assured of from reading my charts or my palm.

Anyway, I’m still quite a few years away and so should preserve my chastity. That’s why dreams of falling in love tend to freak me out – even if I know of the bad consequences, the power of Cupid is far greater than grasp of drugs or alcohol. Dependence of chemical stimulants could be cured by proper treatment or even going cold turkey but nothing can protect one’s heart from love, you can’t just stop taking it, it would enter and destroy your heart anyway.

The best solution, therefore, is never to put myself in a compromising situation. I’ve been fooled this way before, I thought that with proper attitude and regulated behavior I could avoid actually falling in love but it didn’t work then and it won’t work in the future.

The next best solution is not nip the attraction in the bud and withdraw oneself completely before it got a chance to grow into a formidable force. I’ve successfully managed it a couple of times in my life, too.

It was unimaginable in my youth when I thought that power of love was absolutely supreme but I’ve grown a bit more cynical now, and that’s even without accounting for Krishna consciousness take on male-female relationships.

When I hear people vehemently protest against arranged marriages on the grounds that you can’t force someone to love his assigned partner I quietly disagree. It’s still not safe to publicly declare that a male and a female would develop love for each other simply by being placed in close proximity for a period of time but in the safety of my own mind I know it to be true. Just give it some time. It won’t be the “puppy love” of teenage variety but it will work in the end just fine. Of course it’s easier if people have some mutual attraction right away but it’s still manageable.

I don’t know what modern day Indians think on the subject. Maybe they still see the wisdom of this tradition, maybe not. I think I could enlist another group of people to this cause – “mail order brides”. Millions of women all around the third world (and Eastern Europe, too) have little fear that they would be forced to live with someone they don’t love. Either it’s not too bad comparing to their current situation, or they think that love would grow on them. This calls for the “First world problem” meme:

First World Problem Meme

Anyway, my point is that however powerful Cupid is, he operates on bodily platform, and bodily platform has its own means of resistance. I might not stave him off forever but that is not my goal either, I just have to fight long enough for the Lord to notice my determination.

Same with naishthiki brahmacharis and sannyasis – they are all prone to falldowns but we are not trying to compromise their vows at every opportunity, we are helping and protecting them instead. Just as if a married man or a woman starts developing a crush there would be some confidantes who’d try and put their hearts and minds straight.

Help is available to those who seek it. The power of material energy is not an excuse to give up and give in, all we need is to make the Lord within our hearts to help us in our fight. Maya devi is not going to ensnare us against our will, so all we have to show is sufficient determination to stay our of her clutches, she won’t force us if we don’t want to.

That’s why Rishyasringa’s solution ultimately works – just stay away from trouble, don’t go out looking for it, and you’ll be safe, or at least well protected when it comes on its own.

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