Love and lust
sehruh yehv geehrkuh
There was once a princess who assumed the throne of her father after he became too old to perform his duties. This was before the Christian era. She was young and beautiful. Her father had instilled in her the values of a pious spiritual life based on the ancient spiritual traditions of Armenia, arts and culture, eloquent oratory skills, knowledge of the holy scriptures and especially modesty and humility. Her name became Queen Anushik which means sweetness in Armenian.
Although Anushik was only 20 years old, she accepted the responsibility of the kingdom with the determination to carry on the legacy of her noble father, King Arevdzak – the rising sun king. The king was a pious man who accepted initiation into the spiritual traditions of ancient pre-Christian Armenia. He was king of the ancient cradle of Armenian civilization just west of Lake Van which is named as Sasun and Mus today. This was about 400 years before the appearance of Christ. During his time there were Greek, Persian, Jewish and Indian spiritual communities along with the Armenians in the area that he ruled. All the subjects of King Arevdzak respected him because of his liberal acceptance of different religious traditions that co-existed peacefully. This liberality was also very effective for maintaining peace with his powerful neighbors who were the Greeks and Persians on both sides of his kingdom. The Armenian king did not try to impose a particular religious system on the people.
The king and his family visited the many holy shrines in his kingdom that existed in his day. He prayed to the different gods and goddesses to bless his only child Anushik so that she would one day become a mother and give him grandchildren. For Anushik’s education he appointed a pious lady named Arevloiss – sunlight – who he entrusted to teach Anushik the secret knowledge of Tukh Manuk – the little dark boy. The cult of Tukh Manuk was intimate because it revolved around serving the child-god like a mother with devotion and expressions of gentle intimacy. This was especially appealing to women who had the natural propensity for motherly love. There was also the possibility for men to worship Tukh Manuk like a father and express their paternal love for him. King Arevdzak privately practiced the cult of Tukh Manuk by cultivating an intimate paternal relationship with him.
The royal family practiced their faith in Tukh Manuk in secrecy so as not to disturb the followers of other cults. Outwardly, the king showed respect for all the faiths in his kingdom in order to give an example of tolerance and respect. In the ancient world there was a chaotic assembly of gods and goddesses who seemed to possess certain powers over the resources of nature. Believers would offer libations to the deities in return for favors such as success in their endeavors. They relied on priests to be the intermediaries who supplicated the deities with the esoteric incantations so that the reply would be favorable.
The king had been enlightened by Arevloiss and other followers of Tukh Manuk to understand the difference between religious practices meant for personal gain and those that were only for serving God with love without any trace of self-motivation. Most people worshipped God as the provider or the father. Thus, they expected God to supply their every need. Tukh Manuk was worshipped as the child God who needed to be cared for tenderly and with dedication. Rather than ask for something in return for their service and offerings, the proxy parents of the child God were only concerned for caring and giving whatever was necessary for the well being of Tukh Manuk. Instead of asking Him to serve them, they served Tukh Manuk as a parent serves and protects his child.
The history of the worship of Tukh Manuk in ancient Armenia reveals the origins of the Armenian people and their original culture. It is interesting to note that most but not all of the traces and manuscripts of the original Armenian culture were systematically eliminated by the fanaticism of the foreign (Jewish, Greek and Syrian) Christians and their Armenian converts when they were able to influence King Drtad in the 4th century to become a Christian. The subsequent Armenian Christian kings continued the suppression of the ancient, original Armenian culture. The worship of Tukh Manuk became relegated to the common folk without any temples or organized religious ceremonies for fear of being killed or exiled. It has stayed until today as a private belief
away from the mainstream of Armenian life but yet preserved in the memory of the common folk as legend.
When Anushik became queen she relied more and more on Arevloiss’ counsel and teaching to tolerate the pressures of administration of the kingdom. She was surrounded by self-motivated ministers and nobles who did not always put the interest of the people before their own vested purposes. As a consequence, her faith in people was waning and she began to be suspicious of everyone who worked with her. When she confided in Arevloiss of her losing faith in the goodness of her advisors, she was surprised by her confidant’s reply. Instead of speaking in terms of political strategy and court intrigue, Arevloiss began to explain the soul’s entanglement in material nature.
Arevloiss: My child Anushik, all beings come originally from God, our Tukh Manuk. That means we are all originally good. Just as a drop of rain while falling to earth is pure, but when it touches the earth it mixes with the soil. It may become contaminated. It is the same with the soul. We are all eternal individual souls and our origin is the Almighty God. Tukh Manuk has endowed us with limited free will. Therefore, we can either accept or refuse to follow His instructions. He never interferes with the exercise of our limited free will. If we refuse His instructions, we are placed in this material world where we can
attempt to act like a competitive god by pretending we own and control some part of material nature. As soon as the desire to own and control something for our own pleasure becomes prominent in our mind, we become contaminated by the material nature just as the rain drop touches the earth.
Anushik: Are you saying that we are all contaminated? Then there is no hope for any of us. We are all doomed to act like animals in the jungle!
Arevloiss: Not so, my child. Our Tukh Manuk does not abandon His children. He is not a God of wrath, but a merciful God who loves His children so much that when we become gentle, He accepts us and protects us so that we can intimately care for him.
The secret of life is to follow the instructions of Tukh Manuk as given in the ancient holy book called the Song of God. My Father taught the verses of the holy book to me and I shall teach you the same. This wisdom will help you cross over all the obstacles of this world and prepare you to enter the intimate circle of pure love of Tukh Manuk.
We must see this world as a temporary prison in which we are given a chance to awaken from our slumber during which lust, greed and anger possess us. We can awaken to our eternal existence as lovers of Tukh Manuk either as a loyal servant, friend, parent or intimate lover. We can choose the flavor of love that we want to share with Tukh Manuk. Such pure love liberates us from the degrading effects of living in this world of illusory pursuits.
Anushik: Please enlighten me, dear mother. I am still a child that is burdened with the responsibility of an adult. I am not sure how to guide myself in the jungle of cleaver and greedy people.
Arevloiss: My child, the first lesson is to identify the real enemy of mankind so that you can recognize its deceptive face. What begins as pure love for Tukh Manuk in the spiritual world is transformed to lust in this material world. It is the all-devouring enemy of mankind. A pious woman must have the ability to recognize the motivation of a man who approaches her and claims his love. First of all, he would not approach you directly. Out of respect for our traditional customs he would address your mother and father through his parents to inquire if they would consider him as a suitable candidate to marry you.
The difference between lust (geerk) and love (sehr) is not difficult to understand. When a person wants to satisfy his or her own senses, it is lust. If a person wants to satisfy the senses of Tukh Manuk, it is love. Try to understand this sublime difference. Becoming the humble servant of Tukh Manuk will save anyone from the degrading effects of lust. The service of Tulk Manuk is so powerful that it can transform lust to pure love. We are forced to stay in this world of misery by becoming attached to enjoying for our personal sense gratification (ahskharahyeen hahjouk). But, when we stop trying to please ourselves selfishly by directing our love and devotion to Tukh Manuk, we transfer our attachment to Him and gradually become free of lust, anger, greed, envy, foolishness and illusion. We are liberated in the present from the degrading influence of this temporary world full of illusory material desires. We are free to express our love for Tukh Manuk and share it with all others in a gentle and affectionate way.
We are all God’s servants eternally, but we have temporarily forgotten this due to lust for selfish indulgence at the expense of innocent victims. As a woman you will see this more clearly than men.
There are men who have been so corrupted by lusty desires that they exploit others abusively in their obsessive attempts for self-satisfaction. Such men are lower than animals. Our Tugh Manuk has limited the behavior of animals by the dictation of instinct. They only try to reproduce at regular intervals which for most animals is once or twice a year. Instinct is the command of God. However, God has given man limited free will by which he may obey the word of God or ignore it. Thus, by the exercise of limited free will, man can either be liberated from the cycle of birth and death by following Tugh Manuk’s teachings or stay continually in the cycle of birth and death by not following the them.
My child, the body of a woman with it curves and softness can bewilder a man so much that he may forget all bounds of decent behavior and act like a crazed animal in heat. Therefore, modesty and chastity of women is most important to safeguard the peace of society. Never flaunt your feminine beauty in public. Always remain humble by remembering that God Almighty is the real sovereign and we are merely His servants. Pride and lust will undo even the most powerful person in this world.
Anushik: Dear mother, I am truly humbled by your words. Please always advise me so that I never stray from the path of Tugh Manuk. I never want to dishonor my noble family and ancestors by inappropriate behavior.
Arevloiss: I bless you my child to never forget the legacy of our ancestors who quietly followed the teachings and wisdom of Tugh Manuk. I will come to see you as often as you may desire to answer any questions you may have. A leader is only as good as the advisors he has to help determine the expediency and correctness of the choice he or she must make.
Anushik had a daily audience to which the public was invited to present topics of concern in her kingdom. One day an old man in his late sixties came before the young Queen and implored her to marry him so that he could satisfy his lustful desires to enjoy her. Her courtiers were aghast by his shameful insistence. They were going to give him a beating and ban him from ever speaking to the Queen again. But, Anushik stopped them. She spoke to the old man in a soft and affectionate voice.
Anushik: Dear sir, I am flattered by your request for my hand in marriage and your rush to enjoy my body. I will most certainly satisfy your needs for my womanly affection. Please come tomorrow at the same time and we shall join together.
The old man understood her words to mean she would marry him tomorrow and they would consummate their union. He was so thrilled that he did not ask any questions or make any more demands. He simply walked out with the intention to return the next day for the marriage and nuptials. He spent the day purchasing expensive clothes, jewelry and other gifts for his future wife.
The next day, he came to the palace in a grand horse drawn carriage decorated for a wedding procession. He was clothed as a groom expecting to get married. He was perfumed and wore elegant clothing. He tried to cosmetically mask his old age as much as he could. His exuberance made him look ridiculous. Yet, he was oblivious of his foolish airs. He was old enough to be Anushik’s grandfather. Yet, he was shameless and blind because of his lust to exploit the Queen’s youthful beauty.
Anushik had cautioned her courtiers and soldiers to greet the old man respectfully. They were perplexed by her submissiveness. But, they faithfully followed their Queen’s commands. When the old man entered the royal assembly, everyone stood up and honored his presence. He was seated in the center of the hall next to a covered object that was quite large. Aushhik continued her daily business while her suitor waited. After one hour of listening to the deliberation of the Queen and her advisors about the affairs of the kingdom, the old man stood up and approached the Queen. He addressed her,
My dear Anushik, I cannot wait any longer. Let us proceed to the marriage and our nuptials as you promised yesterday.
Anushhik smiled and said,
I said yesterday that we would join together as you wished. I have prepared my royal bed for our union.
She ordered her courtiers to uncover the large bed in the center of the hall.
The old man looked perplexed. He said,
My dear, what is this? I am afraid you are so innocent that you do not understand the procedure. First, we must be married by a priest. Then, we retire into our private quarters for our union. Why have you placed our bed in the middle of this grand hall for everyone to witness. This is most inappropriate.
Anushik smiled. She said,
Dear sir, I am simply complying with your desire. You expressed your need to enjoy my youthful body in public yesterday in front of all these persons of my royal court. You were not embarrassed to speak in such a way. Why are you hesitating now to have union with me in the same public place? You saw nothing inappropriate yesterday to make your demand in public. Thus, I don’t see anything inappropriate in satisfying your desire in a public place to be witnessed by the same people that were here yesterday!”
The old man began to tremble after hearing the shocking words from the Queen’s mouth. How could he attempt to even touch her in public in front of all these powerful me? Everyone was looking at him with threatening disdain. He cowered and slowly walked away crestfallen and defeated by his foolish attempt to violate the Queen’s chastity.
Trapping a monkey
gahbeekuh dzoughahgohv guh puhrnehn
Trapping a monkey without injuring it is an art of deception. Hunters study the habits and disposition of monkeys in order to
find their weaknesses or foibles. Monkeys are curious and easily attached to an object of interest. A large jar with a narrow mouth is sunk in the ground. It is purposely filled with grains. When the monkey discovers the jar, it tries to get the grains by squeezing its paw in the jar and seizing the grains. Once it closes its fist on the grains, the monkey cannot withdraw its paw from the jar because of the tightness of the jar’s mouth. It believes it is caught. If he opens his hand, he can withdraw it. But, due to attachment to holding the grains, he refuses to let go.
The example of the monkey is also pertinent to mankind. Due to attachment to something material and temporary, a person can believe it to be true that is not at all true and thus become victimized by his own illusion. Illusion and ignorance are self-imposed states of mind due to becoming blinded by false attachment that can result in lust, anger and greed.
The dog and lust
shouhnuh yehv geerkkohd tzahngoutiounuh
There was and there wasn’t a man who loved his pet dog. He would spend all his spare time with his dog. Taking the dog for a walk, picking up its droppings, going to the dog salon for baths and special treatment, spending a lot of money on special diet foods, playing with the dog, carrying it in his arms and kissing it. He would let the dog eat off his own plate and would sleep with the dog in his bed. He was obsessed with the dog. A priest noticed the man’s attachment to the dog. He tried to convince the dog lover that his affection was misplaced. After all, the dog was just an animal whose loyalty and seeming affection was only due to the man regularly feeding it. If the man stop feeding the dog, he would eventually leave and find a new master. The man stopped fondling the dog and ignored it. At first, the dog could not understand the man’s change of attitude. It tried to approach the man and receive his affectionate treatment, but he pushed it away and even struck it with a whip to make his point.
The man kept the dog in his back yard without any shelter and purposely left the fence door open. He stopped feeding it. Eventually the dog left and never came back.
The dog represents our lust for sense enjoyment that requires exploiting someone or something for our personal benefit. When we stop pandering to lusty desires and ignore them, then eventually with determination such desires for material pleasures subside. Material lust can then be transformed or redirected to spiritual love for God and His creation. At that point, we experience a much greater spiritual pleasure devoid of the attempt to dominate and exploit material things or relationships for personal gain. One becomes a giver rather than a taker because of the certainty of God’s guidance and protection.
Passion makes one blind
geerkuh guh gouiyrahtzneh – passion makes one blind
People in this world become mad after sense gratification or the frenetic attempt to please the senses. Thus they seek pleasure by seeing movies, television, internet, plays, etc. (eyes), listening to music, talk shows, telephone and internet chat, etc. (ears), tasting delicious food (tongue), smelling good perfumes (nose) and experiencing sensual pleasures (skin), and reading or listening to tantalizing descriptions and concepts (mind). These sense pleasures can be uplifting when engaged in for offering them for the pleasure of God or degrading when engaged in for selfish pleasure.
Although the body is temporary, it has five highly developed senses and the mind which is referred to as the sixth sense. The attempt to pleasure the senses and the mind can consume all of a human being’s energy and thought for an entire lifetime. One may become obsessed by such an endeavor and completely ignore the real goal of human life which is self-realization by which one can attain eternal love for God and share it with others.
The dictionary definition of passion that is appropriate for this proverb is the following:
1- any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love, hate, pleasure
2- strong sexual desire; lust.
All material activities in the world are conducted under the influence of the modes of material nature called goodness, passion and ignorance. A mode of material nature is a conditioning force sometimes likened to a rope that binds one to a certain mentality and body constitution and which limits or colors one’s range of perception, thought and decision making. Every living entity that is under the influence of the three modes has a particular type of body and psychological and biological activities. It is said in the Bhagavad-gita, “Material nature consists of three modes: goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these modes.” (Bg 14.5)
The real identity of a person is spiritual. Everyone has an eternal, individual soul that has nothing to do with the material nature. However, by illusion one falsely identifies with the material body and becomes conditioned by the three modes of material nature. Due to having a temporary material body which is the result of previous karma and desires, one is forced to act according to the influence of the modes on the body. One encounters happiness and distress due to having made decisions previously based on material conditioning and the false thinking that the purpose of life is sense gratification.
There is a proverb in India that says, “A little bit of a pure thing is much better than huge volumes of impure, adulterated things. No amount of selfish and passionate endeavor for sense gratification will lead to a good thing. It just makes a situation and relationships deteriorate. For example, if you have two friends and one is always giving and the other is always taking from you, which one would you prefer? Now, put yourself in God’s place. Would you prefer the servant who always gives or the one who always wants to take? By analyzing oneself carefully, it is possible to understand much about God because we are made in the image of God. We are not God nor can we become God by any amount of endeavor, but we have many things in common with God qualitatively.
If we develop the culture of unselfish behavior based on understanding that there is a supreme God and we are all His eternal servants, then our actions will liberate us from the influence of the modes of material nature. God is the Supreme proprietor of everything. Therefore, we should recognize His proprietorship and accept only our minimum needs and use all the rest that we may be blessed with to serve God and share with all others.
In the Bhagavad-gita, it is said, “One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water.” (Bg 5.10) Engaging everything in the service of God frees one from the reactions of work and anxiety over the result. One acts as a matter of duty knowing well the God is the proprietor of everything in existence. Such a mentality and action frees one from sinful reactions just as the lotus leaf, though remaining in water, is never wet due to having a protective covering.
A person without divine consciousness acts with the wrong concept that he is the proprietor and that he should use his body and senses for sense gratification. Whereas, a person in divine consciousness knows that the body is the property of God and should always be engaged in the service of the Lord. In the Bible, it is said “And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.”
Malachi 3:17-18 (NIV)
Lord Krishna explains to His disciple Arjuna, “The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification.” (Bg 5.11) Engaging all one’s energies, mind, body, and everything in the service of God, one is purged of all material impurities. Such purified action does not produce any material reactions.
One acts without false ego or the wrong belief that one’s real identity is the body which he thinks is his to do anything he pleases. Being situated in his real ego, he is convinced that he belongs to God and that his body should only be used in God’s service. He is continually connected with God by directing everything he produces with his mind, body, intelligence, words, wealth, etc. in the service of God.
Lord Krishna continues, “The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled.” (Bg 5.13) Someone who has a false ego and believes his real identity is the body remains attached to the results of his activities. A person, however, who is a genuine servant of God is attached to God. Such a person is factually liberated and is not feeling anxiety over the result of his work.
The cause of anxiety for the result of one’s work is due to functioning in the conception of duality. When one lacks knowledge of God or does not believe in the existence of God, he is beset always by duality, such as honor and dishonor, success and failure, heat and cold, riches and poverty, love and hate, fame and infamy, etc. If one is always concerned with making a profit for sense gratification, it is impossible to have peace or be free of anxiety. One remains attached to the result and anxious either to achieve it or fail to achieve it.
However, if one is uniquely concerned with pleasing God by sincere service and dedication, understanding that God is the supreme proprietor, maintainer and creator of all that exists, then one is not in anxiety about the result of work. One performs his duty as best possible and offers the result to God. By serving God, one remains aloof from constant preoccupations of sensual pleasures for the body.
In material life, everyone wants to satisfy his senses, and he wants God to be the order supplier for such satisfaction. God will satisfy the senses of the living beings as much as they deserve, but not to the extent that they may desire. But, if one assumes the opposite path, by trying to satisfy the senses of God without selfishly desiring to satisfy one’s own senses, then with the help of God all such spiritual desires of the person are satisfied. One is no longer controlled by the strict laws of material nature of action and reaction, but comes under the protection of God to act unselfishly for His pleasure.
This fundamental change of world view that produces a state of peace and unselfish love for God can be summarized by the following. Pure knowledge resulting in transcendental vision begins by understanding that God is the Supreme Person. Understanding His transcendental personality is the goal of spiritual realization. We understand ourselves better through relationships with others. When we begin to relate to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than the greatest, no one is equal or greater than Him, He is not subject to the laws of material nature or its conditioning modes, He controls material nature and its modes and is the controller of time, He is the Supreme proprietor, the best friend and protector that we have and the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and offerings we give, then we begin to understand that we are eternally subordinate to Him is a loving, reciprocal relationship. Being in a loving relationship of affectionate exchanges with God eliminates any residue of false ego, envy, competition, or negativity in the relationship and we become peaceful and fulfilled because because we offer everything to Him and He reciprocates by offering His limitless love to us.
In the beginning of our relationship with the transcendent God, we try to give up attachment to materialism, but there is a tendency to consider God as impersonal. However, if we are guided properly and advance further, we understand that there are activities of devotion or unselfish service that bring us closer and closer to God in loving exchanges. The offering of service results in increasing self-knowledge and expertise in arts such as singing, dancing, cooking, speaking, dressing, writing, etc. that are necessary to express the different feelings of love one experiences. Realizing this tremendous surge of affectionate exchanges with God and the gentle sharing of such feeling with others, one becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and confidently surrenders to Him. At that time the name, personality, form, pastimes, preferences of God become understandable. One realizes that the mercy of God is everything. He is the ultimate controller of the material and spiritual worlds and that nothing is independent of Him. One sees that the material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. By dedicating everything material in this world to the service of God one can lift the veil of perverted vision and understand how in everything we perceive, there is a relationship with God. The sense of existence separate from God or seeing things without understanding its relationship to the Divine is illusion. Anything seen as existing apart or independent of God is an illusory conceptual thought or belief.