Passion is a very strong desire. A mild desire becomes a strong passion by frequent repetition or frequent enjoyment.
In a broad sense, passion means any strong desire. There is passion for service to the country in patriots. There is passion for God-realization in first class aspirants. In some people, there is a strong passion for novel-reading. There is passion for reading religious books. But generally, in common parlance, passion means lust or a strong sexual appetite. This is a physical craving for sexual or carnal gratification. When any sexual act is repeated very often, the desire becomes very keen and strong. The sexual instinct or the reproductive instinct in man involuntarily prompts him to engage in sexual acts for the preservation of his species.
Passion is the instinctive urge for externalization through self-preservation and self-multiplication. It is the diversifying power, which is directly opposed to the force that moves towards the integration of being.
Passion is an effect or product of avidya. It is a negative vikara in the mind. The Atman is ever-pure. The Atman is vimala or nirmala or nirvikara. It is nitya-suddha. Avidya shakti has taken the form of passion for keeping up the lila of the Lord. You will find in the Chandipath or Durga Saptasati:
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Kamarupena Samsthita
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah
It means: “I bow to that Devi who has taken the form of passion/desire in all these beings.”
Even Brahma, the Creator, does not know the exact seat wherein passion lies. In the Bhagavad Gita, you will find it mentioned that the senses, the mind and the buddhi are the seats of passion. The pranamaya kosha or the vital sheath is another seat. Desire is all-pervading in the body. Every cell, every atom, every molecule, every electron is surcharged with passion. There are undercurrents, cross-currents, inter-currents and submarine currents in the mighty ocean of passion. You must completely annihilate each one of them. You must completely destroy passion in all places.
Passion is a vritti or modification that arises from the mind-lake when the rajoguna predominates. Rajasic food such as meat, fish and eggs, rajasic dress and the rajasic way of living, scents, novel-reading, cinema, talk on sensual things, bad company, liquor, intoxicants of all description, tobacco–all these excite passion.
Passion in children, the youth and the aged
Passion is in a seed state in young boys and girls. It does not give them any trouble. Just as the tree is latent in the seed, so also, passion is in a seed state in the minds of children. When young men and women reach adolescence this passion becomes troublesome. Men and women become slaves to passion. They become helpless.
There is not much difference in sex between a male and a female, a boy and a girl, when they are very young. When they attain puberty, there is a drastic change. Feelings, gestures, body, gait, talk, look, movements, voice, qualities and demeanor change altogether.
The whole mango tree–with all its branches, leaves and fruits–is contained in a subtle form in the seed. It takes time for manifestation. Even so, the vasana of lust lurks in the mind when you are a boy, manifests at eighteen, fills the whole body at twenty-five, works havoc from twenty-five to forty-five and then gradually declines. Various forms of wrong-doing and mischief are committed by human beings between twenty-five and forty-five. This is the most critical period of life.
Sexual thought in sages, spiritual aspirants and householders
In a jnani, the sexual craving is entirely eradicated. In a sadhaka, it remains well controlled. In a householder, when not controlled, it does havoc. It exists in him in its fully expanded state. He cannot resist it. He yields to it helplessly on account of his weak will and lack of firm resolution.
In a jnani or a sage, no sensual thoughts will crop up in the mind. There will not be any difference in feeling when he sees a beautiful young girl, a child or an old lady. He will see the one underlying, eternal, immortal Self in a female and a male. He will not have any difference of feeling when he touches a book, a log of wood, a piece of stone and the body of a female. There is no idea of sex in a jnani. Such must be the condition of mind of a man who is established in brahmacharya.
In an aspirant there may be occasional sexual thoughts, but they must be kept under check. In this way they cannot do any havoc in him.
A passionate householder, however, becomes a prey to sexual thoughts. A passionate man of the world wants the constant company of his wife. The idea of sex is ingrained in him. It is very powerful. He wants everything to be done for him by his wife. Then only he is pleased. This is simply due to passion. After the death of his wife, he never relishes his food, even when it is prepared by expert cooks. Such persons are thoroughly unfit for the spiritual life. When a man feels disgust for the company of a woman and cannot tolerate her company, it is a sign to show the awakening of vairagya in him.
If you keep lemon juice or tamarind juice in a golden cup, it is not spoiled or tainted. If you keep it in a brass or a copper vessel, it gets spoiled and becomes poisonous. Even so, if there are some vishaya vrittis or sensual thoughts in the pure mind of a person who practices constant meditation, they will not pollute the man and induce vikara or passionate excitement. But if there are sensual thoughts in persons with impure minds, they cause immediate excitement in them when they come across sensual objects.
In the vast majority of persons, the sexual craving is very intense. They have got extreme sexual hankering. In some, the sexual desire occasionally comes, but passes off quickly. There is mere agitation only, of a simple nature in the mind. By the proper method of spiritual sadhana, this also can be completely eradicated.
Lust in men and in women
Though a lady appears to be gentle and soft, yet she becomes rude, rough and distinctly masculine when she becomes angry. The feminine grace vanishes when she comes under the influence of wrath, indignation, fury and resentment. Have you ever seen women fighting in the streets? Women are more jealous than men. They have more moha and passion also. They are eight times more passionate than men. Women have more power of endurance. They are more emotional. Males are more rational.
Though females are more passionate, yet they have more power of restraint than males. After enticing men, they keep quiet. The real culprit is the man alone. He is aggressive. It is he who tastes the “forbidden fruit” first. He is active. He goes out of control and loses his intellect, power of understanding and judgement when he is under the grip of passion and becomes the sporting lap-dog of woman. When once man falls into the trap or net spread out by woman, there is no escape for him.
Woman is passive. She only tempts and deludes man. She inflames and excites the heart of man. She smiles and glances and then keeps quiet. She waits. But man is the aggressor. He is the real culprit.
Man is the worst culprit. He is the real seducer. He is the aggressor. He is the violator. All women would have become spiritual goddesses had it not been for this vilest nature of man. He must be corrected and moulded first. He has not got so much self-restraint as women have. Women are eight times more passionate than men, but possess eight times more strength of control over the sexual impulses or the sexual urge. This is the weakness of man, though he may be physically and intellectually more powerful than a woman.
Women flatter, coax and cajole you. They are experts in the art of blandishment. They have made you a slave by their winning expressions, actions, youthful charm, coquettish glances, gestures and smile. A considerable portion of your life has been wasted pursuing the phantoms of flesh. Women appear charming only for a short time, but turn destructive of health and happiness soon after. Beware of these temptresses who entangle you by their blandishments. Pass your remaining days japa and meditation.
The scorpion has the venom in its tail, the cobra in its fangs, the mosquito in its saliva and the scandal-monger in his tongue. Woman has poisoned arrows in her eyes. She sends the message of passion to the lustful youth and pierces their heart through the poisoned arrows that dart from her piercing glances. But, she cannot do any harm to a viveki who is always on the alert and who sees the Doshas of a woman and who knows the Sat-Chit-Ananda, pure nature of Atman.
There are tongues and telegraphic instruments in the eyes of young passionate ladies. They send their love shafts and love messages through their smiling glances to passionate young men and thereby allure and bewitch them. Those young men who have no discrimination are excited by these love messages and become a prey to lust. They become pleasure-deer or sporting lap-dogs of ladies, though they possess academic education and hold high position and title. What a shame! Reason, will, intellect vanish altogether. O aspirants! Do not be very familiar with any woman. You should not sacrifice a noble ideal of life for the sake of pleasing a bewitching woman. Think of the composition of the body. Keep the mental image of the dead body of a woman or a skeleton whenever passion troubles you. You will slowly gain strength to subdue the passion. Vairagya will slowly dawn. The cause for attraction towards women is the presence of vasanas or subtle desires in the mind. Wipe them out. There will be no attraction. Those who have renounced women and money have really renounced the world.