Passion increases desire not just in intensity but also in quantity.
We may see responsible people become alcoholics and wonder: how can anyone get so bound by desire?
Gita wisdom explains that our desires grow by our own indulgence. Our actions are influenced by the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. Among these modes, the mode of passion is characterized by insatiable worldly desire (Bhagavad-gita 14.12). This mode blinds us to consequences and impels us to indulge wantonly. Such indulgence causes desire to grows gradually in intensity, quantity and frequency. Let’s understand how.
Intensity: Every time someone drinks alcohol, thereafter the desire to drink tempts them more forcefully. Over time, that force may become so intense that they may lie, cheat or steal just to get a drink.
Quantity: The more they drink, the more they want to drink. Initially, they may take just a sip of alcohol, but over time, they may feel goaded to swig a dozen glasses.
Frequency: The more they drink, the more often they feel like drinking. Initially, they may drink weekly or monthly, but over time, the craving to drink may torment them daily, hourly – constantly.
How can we prevent such alarming aggravation of desire? By its regulation and redirection.
Above the mode of passion is the mode of goodness which illumines us with knowledge of our spiritual identity. This knowledge inspires us to regulate worldly indulgence by seeking spiritual happiness.
And above the mode of goodness is transcendence, wherein we realize that we are eternal parts of the all-attractive supreme, Krishna, and are meant to relish lasting spiritual love for him. When we redirect our desires from the world to him by practicing bhakti-yoga, we access higher devotional taste that makes our lower desires more resistible and less appealing – till we become oblivious to them, being ecstatically absorbed in Krishna