Purity is the key to freedom from misery

Suppose an alcoholic has become sick because of excessive alcohol indulgence. While the disease is a danger that needs treatment, an equal, if not greater, danger is their alcoholism, because that will probably cause a medical relapse, thus undoing the benefit of the treatment.

For many alcoholics, enduring the pain of the disease is not as demanding as sustaining the resolve to avoid alcohol. If they were somehow freed from their addictive craving, that inner freedom would be the key to their freedom from much outer misery, including the danger of medical relapse.

A similar dynamic applies to our sufferings in material existence. Though such sufferings can have many specific causes, they frequently have an underlying common cause: impure desire. Gita wisdom explains that we are eternal souls meant to delight in pure immortal love for the supreme spiritual being, God, Krishna. Impurity makes us seek pleasure in temporary material things. As long as we crave for temporary things, those cravings become the cause of our suffering, either when the craved-for objects go away or when the craving makes us do karmically culpable things.

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (02.65) declares that misery is destroyed for those who attain mercy. When we practice yoga, especially bhakti-yoga, we learn to redirect our desires from temporary things to Krishna, and he reciprocates with our sincere practice by bestowing his mercy on us. A prominent manifestation of his mercy is purity, which eliminates the misery-inducing craving for temporary things. Thus, his mercy empowers us to rise from the level of consciously striving to redirect our desires towards him to the level of being spontaneously attracted to him. Consequently, our consciousness becomes increasingly raised above the material level of reality and its associated miseries.  And ultimately we become liberated from material existence into Krishna’s ecstatic world of love.

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