Forgetfulness of life’s emptiness is not happiness
Many people find their lives so boring that they consider as enjoyable anything which helps them forget that emptiness. The entertainment industry serves this purpose; hence the immense popularity of what may well be called “the boredom industry.”
Wanting more stimulation in life isn’t undesirable, but seeking it in illusory entertainment is. The high sensory stimulation available in entertainment often aggravates people’s boredom in real life with its poor sensory fare, thereby making them crave for more aggressively stimulating entertainment. Their craving is pandered to by the escalating violence in movies, the rising noise in music and the increasing sensuality in entertainment in general.
Those who consider success in forgetting life’s emptiness to be the standard of enjoyment simply aggravate their ignorance.
Those who consider success in forgetting life’s emptiness to be the standard of enjoyment simply aggravate their ignorance. The Bhagavad-gita (18.39) deems such happiness that is essentially illusory from the beginning to the end as happiness in the mode of ignorance. This happiness is illusory in the sense that it is got by intentionally subjecting oneself to illusion and living in denial of reality.
The Gita offers us a better way to cure life’s emptiness – not by sinking into illusion but by rising to reality. It explains that we are at our core souls and are meant to delight in eternal spiritual love for the supreme soul, Krishna, who is the all-attractive, all-loving, all-joyous Supreme Person. When we learn to love him by practicing bhakti-yoga, we get a profound higher fulfillment that brings meaning and verve and joy to our life. Though we need some practice and purification to relish this happiness constantly, still even in devotion’s initial stages, we get enchanting glimpses of what awaits us ahead. Moreover, when we carry this purpose of devotion into our entire life, that purpose fills our heart with a richness and fullness that renders all escapist entertainment pale and stale.
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