Conviction and purification take us from the poison to the nectar
As devotees who wish to rise from the material level to the spiritual level, we often face the question, “How do I sustain myself during the phase when I have to abstain from material enjoyment but can’t yet experience spiritual fulfillment?”
The Bhagavad-gita (18.37) acknowledges that this initial phase is like poison but reassures us that we will relish nectarpermanently on reaching the spiritual level. Gita wisdom informs us that we can tolerate the poison and strive for the nectar by conviction and purification. Let’s see how.
Conviction: Intellectual conviction helps us understand that material enjoyment being temporary is undesirable, whereas spiritual fulfillment being eternal is eminently desirable. By thus facilitating us to see beyond appearances to consequences, conviction enables us to stay away from anti-devotional material indulgences. Being convinced that spiritual happiness far greater than the material enjoyment we have given up awaits us ahead, we persevere optimistically on the spiritual path. To deepen our conviction, we need to study scriptures scrutinizingly and ponder their teachings introspectively.
Purification: As souls, spiritual fulfillment is natural and material enjoymentis unnatural for us. But when we are covered by impurities like lust, anger and greed, our tastes become perverted and we seek happiness in sensual indulgences, although they don’t give us any actual happiness. The more we become purified, the more our original taste gets restored. We start finding spiritual fulfillment to be familiar and natural, and material enjoyment to be alien and artificial. To become purified, we need to seriously cultivate remembrance of Krishna, who is supremely pure and supremely purifying.
Thus, by conviction and purification, we can move from the initial poison to the eventual nectar.
“That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.”