Culture is meant to instill values, not instigate cravings

We all are shaped by the culture of our times. In today’s world, the culture is extremely sensual and materialistic. Consider, for example, the contemporary entertainment industry. Although it may feature some good music, art and acting, it centers on titillating people by instigating their sensual cravings.

In the past, entertainment usually centered on stories drawn from scriptures. Even when such stories featured romance and action, the overall theme centered on moral and spiritual values, thereby promoting those values in society. In fact, not just the entertainment but also the overall culture of the past inspired people toward value-based living. This value-centeredness was evident from the role models of the past – even half a century ago, most of people’s models were social and spiritual leaders who were noble, dedicated and sacrificing.

Nowadays however, most of the individuals that captivate people’s minds are entertainers, whose claim to fame is their ability to relieve people’s boredom. Even if they are good entertainers, that hardly qualifies them as models for shaping society’s ethical fabric. When entertainers are idolized in real life for their reel-life performances, the sensuality depicted in entertainment becomes excessively glamorized and eventually normalized. As people crave and slave to imitate that sensuality in their real life, they transgress ethical boundaries in the pursuit of pleasure and glamor.

To rein in our lower desires, the Bhagavad-gita (03.41) emphasizes regulating the contact of the senses with the sense objects. Such regulation is undoubtedly the responsibility of every individual. But the mainstream culture is meant to undergird that individual responsibility, not undermine it.

As contemporary culture undermines such regulation, it is we who need to protect ourselves and our loved ones. How? By re-establishing in our circle of influence a scripturally-based, spiritually conducive culture that instills values, not instigates cravings.

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Reality is not as rosy as our dreams, but neither is it as scary as our nightmares
Sensuality is the rust that blunts the axe of our consciousness
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  1. Today’s ‘Gita Daily’ is spot on with our current challenges dealing with all media – what our senses see and hear every day. Thank you again CCD for helping me with my devotion. Happy Janmashtami! Hare Krishna!

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