One person’s diversion can be another person’s devastation

To relieve life’s monotony, we sometimes seek various diversions. While diverting ourselves, we may simply want some harmless entertainment.

But diversions can easily degenerate from the harmless to the harmful to the horrible. How? By subtly changing our conceptions of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Thus, for example, some people who start off watching sensual imagery for some harmless diversion soon find themselves craving for such imagery with greater frequency and intensity. And they also seek imagery that is more and more graphic, even seeking ghastly combinations of violence and sensuality in the imagery that they visually consume. Thus, their ethical sense gets blurred and eventually blinded, till they end up doing things that they would have earlier found unconscionable. And their reprehensible indulgences victimize people whose lives may end up scarred or even devastated. Even if they themselves don’t engage in such violent violations, they strip themselves of the capacity to resist titillation and manifest dedication, both of which are essential for sustaining any meaningful relationship. When their loved ones are deprived of such relationships, as happens, say, when a spouse’s adultery shatters the other spouse, ruptures the family and condemns the children to fragmented, single-parent lives – that too is another form of devastation.

The Bhagavad-gita outlines the godless mentality that makes people believe that material enjoyment is life’s only enjoyment (16.08). They engage in atrocious actions (16.12) to get the money needed for fulfilling those desires (16.13), even murdering their rivals.

Gita wisdom explains that material existence is itself a diversion from our real life as souls meant to delight in an eternal life of love with the supreme spiritual being Krishna. When we practice bhakti-yoga diligently, it gives us access to higher wisdom and satisfaction, thus freeing us from the short-sightedness that impels us to potentially devastating diversions.

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