Happiness through a perpetual tickling machine?
When children are tickled, they start laughing. Does their laughter indicate that they are happy? Not really. If happiness could be had just by tickling, then all of us could get a perpetual tickling machine for ourselves and become happy for the rest of our lives.
We dismiss the idea of a perpetual tickling machine as absurd because we know that the laughter produced by tickling is merely an automatic bodily reaction to a physical stimulus; it is superficial and peripheral to real happiness.
Gita wisdom urges us to recognize that all bodily pleasures are similarly superficial. When the fragrance of a delicacy enters our nose, the tongue starts salivating. Isn't this just a bodily response to a physical stimulus? And doesn’t the same apply to the overhyped pleasure of sex?When the sight of a sexually appealing form enters our eyes, our body starts secreting certain chemicals that trigger a titillating sensation. Does such a sensation deserve to be the stuff of our fantasies? Is an adult’s getting turned on due to a sexual stimulation any different from a child’s laughter due to tickling?
Such serious unsentimental contemplation can make us indifferent to all superficial bodily sensations, as the Bhagavad-gita (5.21) indicates. This outer indifference enables us to focus on cultivating authentic inner happiness. Real happiness comes from the love that touches and transforms our innermost essence: love for Krishna. When we cultivate devotional remembrance of Krishna and render affectionate service to him, then we feast on a happiness that goes far beyond bodily sensations. The more we experience this happiness, the more we can truly love everyone – not for the bodily sensations that they provide us, but for who they actually are: beloved parts of Krishna eternally related to us in his spiritual family.
“Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.”