Focus not on God’s rules – focus on his purpose

Suppose a patient with an upset stomach is told by a doctor to restrict diet. If the patient focuses on all the foods that are on the forbidden list, what will result is self-torture, defiance of rules, aggravation of disease caused by consumption of forbidden food – and overall increased suffering. Actually, what is depriving the patient of happiness is not the doctor’s restriction, but the stomach’s indisposition. Once the patient understands this and realizes that the doctor’s purpose is to cure that indisposition, then cooperation with that purpose will ensue more easily and so will the cure followed by the ability to enjoy a healthy, happy life.

Similarly, what is depriving us of happiness is not God’s rules but the misdirection of our consciousness away from the eternal to the temporary. Even if we were able to indulge unrestrictedly in the temporary, the very nature of the temporary would soon leave us empty-handed in our quest for happiness.

The purpose of God’s rules is to redirect our consciousness from the temporary to the eternal, from the world to the One who is the source of the world and indeed the source of all happiness. The Bhagavad-gita (05.29) informs us that God is our greatest well-wisher – his purpose is benevolent. He doesn’t want to deprive us of happiness. After all, he has made us and he has provided us with a longing for happiness. Why would he want to deprive us? What he wants is to protect us from the things that deprive us of happiness.

Once we understand this benevolent purpose of Krishna, then we can cooperate wholeheartedly with him. And, as we learn to connect with him by taking the treatment of bhakti-yoga diligently, we can increasingly relish the higher spiritual happiness that comes by devotional remembrance of Krishna.

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