Better to be on the wrong side of history than on the wrong side of reality
Materialists sometimes accuse spiritualists, “You people are so old-fashioned, holding on to regressive ideas like sexual restraint. The whole world is giving up such ideas – you are on the wrong side of history.”
Such materialists assume that the course of history is always right. But is it really? History is often affected by temporary trends, whereas reality rests on perennial truths. Gita wisdom states that adharma prevails in some historical phases. We live in one such phase, Kali-yuga, wherein prevails fanatical materialism, which deems material pleasure as the primary, if not the only, purpose of existence. During this phase, materialists naturally deem spiritualists as being on the wrong side of history.
History is often affected by temporary trends, whereas reality rests on perennial truths.
But more important than being on the right side of history is being on the right side of reality. And the perennial reality is that we conscious beings are at our core non-material, because consciousness is essentially non-material. So we can find real fulfillment only by attaining spiritual freedom, not by attaining sexual freedom, which anyway is impossible because sexual enjoyment is forever limited by the body’s finite capacity for such indulgence. Accepting this reality is not regressive – it is progressive for it impels us to explore higher non-material forms of happiness and thereby discover the eternal freedom of ecstatic spiritual love. Actually, rejecting this reality is regressive for it destroys our chances of progressing towards that higher happiness.
Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (13.11: aratir jana samsadi) urges us to not be swayed by the masses. This is not a prescription for unthinking rigidity, for the heart’s devotion expresses itself dynamically according to the time-place-circumstances. But when the trend of history is on the wrong side of reality, it’s better to be on the wrong side of history and the right side of reality.
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