What are temptations?

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    Ciprian Begu

    In many religions, temptations are seen as external enticements from beings who don’t have our best interest at heart. These temptations are meant to lure us away from the “right path”, “out true calling”, “spiritual progress” and God. Now, after reading Vedic philosophy, I realized that these temptations are in fact both our own productions (coming to us because of guna and karma) and are delivered by God’s subordinates under His implicit sanction. So how can we understand that temptations and strong desires luring us away from “the light” are in fact what we actually want, deep down? Can someone be tempted who is not in fact meant to be tempted? Also, since temptations are delivered under God’s sanction, why are they for our ultimate good?

    Ashish Dalela

    Temptations are produced from the unconscious, which has many parts beginning with chitta. They manifest as sudden ideas, which are then liked or disliked, which then become our decisions based on moral notions. However, many times these likes overwhelm morality, which is when we call them ‘temptations’. Sigmund Freud identified an ongoing tussle between the Id which is the repository of desires and the Super-Ego which tempers these desires. the Ego is supposed to mediate between these three things by finding a path in which the desire can be fulfilled without violating the moral injunctions. A temptation wins when the Id dominates over the Super-Ego, the Ego tries its level best to find a path to satisfy the desire without being immoral, but the Ego may lose out to the Id and commit some immoral actions. It’s a three-way dynamic in which one of the trees can dominate and the other two become subordinate.

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