The mind can make us give up the wonderful for the dreadful
Suppose we are at a buffet meal in which one item is delicious and another is tasteless. If someone misinformed us and filled our plate and our mouth with the tasteless item, we would feel angry, wouldn’t we?
But when the mind does something similar internally, we often don’t even protest. The practice of bhakti-yoga is relishable, whereas the pursuit of sensual pleasures is tasteless. Yet the mind takes us away from the relishable to the tasteless by distorting our perception.
The Bhagavad-gita, while analyzing the nature of various pleasures, explains that higher spiritual happiness seems like poison initially, but turns out to be like nectar eventually (18.37). In contrast, lower sensual indulgences seem like nectar initially, but turns out to be like poison eventually (18.38). The more we practice bhakti-yoga and become purified, the more we can quickly go through the initial poison phase in seeking higher happiness and relish absorption in Krishna. And the more we relish such happiness, the more we find sensual pleasures tasteless. Even if we indulge in them, our memory, be it conscious or subconscious, of the higher happiness exposes sensual pleasures to be comparatively superficial and insubstantial.
Still, the mind, being infatuated with sensual pleasures, distorts our perception. It aggressively reminds us of the initial nectar and, by glamorizing and magnifying that nectar, it makes us give up the wonderful service of Krishna for sensual pursuits. Such pursuits are dreadful not just because of their eventual karmic consequences but also because they turn out to be anti-climaxes, thereby exposing us to be terribly gullible for having given up so much for so little.
By regularly studying scripture and by cultivating remembrance of Krishna diligently, thus reinforcing our memory of its sublime sweetness, we can protect ourselves from the mind’s misinformation campaign.
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