Radhanath Swami on ‘Love Conquers Lust’

Radhanath Swami quote on 'love conquers lust'

Each one of us has the capacity to experience overwhelming divine love, for this love resides within each of our hearts. The soul’s very nature is to reciprocate this pure love with the supreme lover, Krishna (or God) –Radhanath Swami

But, due to forgetfulness of our true nature, we have come under the influence of lust. The Vedic texts define lust as the desire to please our own senses as opposed to the senses of our beloved Krishna. Lust controls us and often causes emotional or even physical harm to our self and others. But by spiritualizing this desire for pleasure through connection with the divine, we transcend all sufferings. By reconnecting to our true nature of pure love, we experience unbounded pleasure in the eternal loving reciprocation between our self and the reservoir of all pleasure, Krishna.

Love Conquers Lust

Everyone is longing for pleasure. But when we lustily endeavour to satisfy this longing, at first there is a feeling of satisfaction, but after a while, we become despondent. Why? Because it is our nature to reciprocate pure love. –Radhanath Swami

Until we experience this divine love, the highest pleasure, we will never be satisfied. Bhakti yoga is the science of shifting our attempts for pleasure from selfish action to loving action in the form of seva or loving service to Krishna.

It doesn’t so much matter what we do: we can cook for Krishna, paint for Krishna, run a business for Krishna, etc. What matters is that we act in a mood of humble devotion for Krishna’s pleasure. In this mood, we can experience the supreme satisfaction of Krishna’s love for us. This divine loving exchange between the soul and Krishna gives overwhelming pleasure and satisfaction. When our heart is thus fulfilled, we no longer feel the urge to derive pleasure from anywhere else. In this way, we transcend the shackles of lust and rise above all dualities like a beautiful lotus.

Radhanath Swami gives the example of St. Francis

Those who have tasted pure love are able to renounce, not only sex, but all of the pleasures of this world. One beautiful example of this is St. Francis of Assisi. His father was very wealthy and Francis was in line to inherit everything. But when he tasted a drop of this divine love, he gave it all up. Can you imagine? He was offered massive amounts of money, fame, prestige, property, and inevitably, women, but he ran away to live a life of total poverty. Despite his dishevelled appearance, he was always satisfied, because he was always tasting the infinite sweetness of divine love.

Radhanath Swami gives the example of Haridas Thakur

One example of the liberating effect of pure love is shown in the chastity of the Vedic saint, Haridas Thakur. Haridas Thakur lived in a cave. He would meditate on the name of God nearly 24 hours a day, absorbed in overwhelming, pure, love. One day, an exquisite woman came to Haridas’s cave desiring to seduce him. The Vedic texts describe her as lust personified. Yet Haridas did not feel even the slightest inclination to enjoy with her. There was no lacking in Haridas’s heart because he was constantly reciprocating divine love with Krishna. The woman relented and became his disciple. For one absorbed in divine love, the influences of lust are like gentle breezes trying to move a building. Once we have experienced a higher taste, nothing can disturb us.

Clarification of sex life

Sex life is not a bad thing. There have been countless saints in all traditions who have raised beautiful, God conscious families. Sex becomes negative when it becomes an obsession.

As soon as lust enters the heart, we no longer view the opposite sex as a people but as “things”. We view them only as objects for our enjoyment. –Radhanath Swami

And the further we are engrossed in this consciousness, the further we drift from the state of pure, selfless, unmotivated, true love. Sex, when performed in the proper consciousness, with the proper motif, is divine. But when it is performed for our own selfish enjoyment, it only degrades our consciousness more and more, to the point where we completely forget what true love actually is.


The essential need within the heart of every living being is to love and to be loved. However, we have a choice: we can direct our loving propensities towards selfish endeavours or we can direct them towards pure love.

Those who direct their loving propensities toward selfish and egoistic experiences come under the control of lust and suffer. But when our loving propensities are in connection with the Divine, we are free to experience the highest, most fulfilling pleasure and satisfaction. –Radhanath Swami

It’s easy to love God. It’s the easiest most natural thing for the soul to find happiness, ecstasy and bliss eternally in serving Krishna. But we are addicted; we are habituated to misdirecting our loving propensities in a lustful manner. But, by dovetailing our loving nature with Krishna via bhakti yoga, we soon unveil our original loving relationship with him. Being thus absorbed in pure love, we cross over this world’s sufferings as if stepping over the hoof print of a baby calf.