Based on Bhagavad Gita Chapter 03, Text 41
“I thought I had become free from that attachment. Why has it come back?” Questions like these often describe our inner trajectory as devotee-seekers. When we start practicing devotional service diligently, we are often pleasantly surprised to see how it frees us from attachments. But, over time, we find the old attachments returning.
What went wrong?
We mistook hibernation to be termination.
Our past attachments are like tigers; just as tigers devour our body, attachments devour our consciousness. Deep-rooted attachments like those involving lust and greed get uprooted only after many years of consistent purification; they are tigers that don’t die quickly. Nonetheless, diligent practice of sadhana-bhakti sedates them quite rapidly.
Those tigersremain dormant as long as we don’t pinch them awake. Unfortunately, pinching sleeping tigers is what we metaphorically do when we carelessly or complacently expose ourselves to provocative stimuli. Sometimes the initial pinches may not wake the tiger, thereby making us over-confident about our self-mastery. But the next pinch may be one pinch too much.