Bhaja Govindam 29: Uncontrolled desires leads to disease and early death (Verse 28)

Sukhataḥ kriyate rāmābhogaḥ paścāddhanta śarīre rogaḥ |

Yadyapi loke maraṇaṃ śaraṇaṃ tadapi na muñcati pāpācaraṇam || 29 ||

Meaning– He who craves for lustful desires and yields to it, will become disease prone at a later date. He will also meet an early death. Even though he is aware of this, he will not abstain from sins.

Excessive enjoyments (bhoga) always lead to diseases (roga). Excessive sleeping and overeating totally harms the body. Even after eating endlessly, the tongue stills find food very tasty and seeks to chase it. But in the process, the stomach is harmed. In this way too much sensory pleasures cause great harm to both the mind and the body. The person who is completely in the grip of sensual and lustful pleasures loses the capacity to distinguish the good from the bad. Fulfilling his desire will be his sole aim. Therefore, he goes any length to fulfill them. The story of Ajamila is a fine example of this.

Ajamila, who was a great learned Veda scholar and a righteous person, developed a great infatuation for a prostitute and in the process completely stopped the performance of all his daily stipulated disciplines and worship. He even turned his back on his home and on his parents. He disowned his wife, whom he had married with the fire as a witness, and instead married this prostitute. He fathered many children. To fulfill the desires of this new wife and to sustain this family he committed many crimes such as looting and cheating others. When the villagers threw him out of the village, he shifted his residence to a dilapidated hut in the outskirts of the village. He spent his time hunting animals and birds in the forests and looting people.

Time went by and he was old. Although his body was diseased and he was incapacitated, desires continued to torment him. Once it so happened that a group of saints visited his home. Due to his past samskaras, Ajamila approached the senior most saint, narrated his entire life story and enquired about obtaining salvation. He however stated that he could not disown his second wife under any circumstances. This is how the mind behaves.

This incident shows how a person, who entertains unrighteous desires, falls to lower level. Ajamila a Vedic scholar was reduced to a wayside robber and a cheat only due to his unrighteous desires. Desiring a woman, other than the legally wedded wife, is the worst amongst all sins. Our tradition has a regulated arrangement in the name of marriage.  A contented householder keeps himself, his family members and the society happy. On the other hand the person who indiscriminately chases his unlimited lustful needs will be left with a disease-prone body. We see this in today’s world.

Even though the person is aware that excessive and unlimited enjoyments will harm the body, he does not restrict his desires in any way. Such a person will meet an early death. Death to him will be his punishment. It will be like a result of all his sins.

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