The way of the body is the way of limitation and tribulation
People sometimes ask, “Why are bodily pleasures spoken of so negatively in the Bhagavad-gita?”
The Bhagavad-gita recommends restraint in bodily indulgence not to deprive us of happiness, but to help us fulfill our potential for happiness. The Gita explains that we are at our core eternal souls who have the potential to enduring happiness. When seen in the light of that potential, the pleasure delivered by the body is limited and distress-filled.
Even the best of bodily pleasures, no matter how glamorized they may be, are extremely short-lived. We may dream and toil to get those pleasures for years, yet they get over within minutes. The perpetually-hyped sexual pleasure ends so quickly that we are left craving for more but without the capacity for more because the body’s capacity is exhausted. Thus, the way of the body, that is, the way in which we make bodily pleasures our life’s primary goal, is the way of limitation. Indeed, our search for lasting happiness is constantly thwarted by the limitedness of our body’s capacity to enjoy.
Moreover, the way of the body is the way of tribulation. By the inexorable power of time, the body undergoes deterioration and destruction. The more we pursue pleasures through the body, the more our consciousness gets locked in it, thereby increasing our torment when we undergo disease, old age and death. No wonder the Bhagavad-gita (05.22) cautions that bodily pleasures are the sources of misery.
Gita wisdom reveals a way far better than this way of limitation and tribulation: the way of the soul. This spiritual way centers on connecting the soul with the whole, the all-attractive Supreme, Krishna. When we thus link with Krishna by practicing bhakti-yoga, we progress towards the supreme spiritual happiness that takes us forever beyond limitation and tribulation.
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