Endless nibbling at the tastes of this world dulls our taste for Krishna
All of us are innately pleasure-seeking. How we seek pleasure is largely shaped by our external culture. As our present culture constantly glamorizes material pleasures, most of us by default seek happiness materially. Although the actual experience of material enjoyment never lives up to the glamor, we keep seeking it, because we don’t know of any alternative.
When Gita wisdom enters our life, it introduces us to an alternative happiness: spiritual happiness. By connecting with Krishna through devotional service, we start relishing inner happiness. We also distance ourselves from immoral, anti-devotional pleasures, knowing that they will bring severe karmic consequences.
Although we re-orient our life spiritually, we still keep nibbling at many material pleasures, especially those material pleasures that are not explicitly immoral or anti-devotional: for example, gossip, TV, movies, status symbols and fast foods.
This endless nibbling keeps our consciousness locked at the material level, always on the lookout for the next opportunity for worldly indulgence. The Bhagavad-gita (2.44) indicates that the more we are captivated by hopes for material pleasures, the less we can find – or even look for – spiritual happiness. Consequently, even while practicing spiritual life, we feel constantly dissatisfied.
If we wish to become satisfied, we need to concentrate our longings at the devotional level by spiritualizing our culture and association as much as possible. Of course, as we live in a materialistic culture, we may not be able to cut ourselves off entirely from all material pleasures. But we can and should cut ourselves off from the hope and the hype about those pleasures. If we don’t let our social obligations turn into our mental anticipations, we can preserve our devotional alertness and increasingly relish spiritual happiness.
“In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.”