If the truth makes us flee, it can’t make us free
Suppose we are diabetic, eat too many sweets and face a major health crisis. To be cured, we need to understand and accept the unpalatable truth that we can’t eat sweets. If we flee from this truth, we sentence ourselves to repeated and aggravated suffering. But if we accept this truth and take the treatment diligently, we can free ourselves from unnecessary distress.
In the Bhagavad-gita, when Arjuna asks what impels us to act self-destructively (03.36), Krishna identifies our own desires for sensual indulgence as the culprits (03.37). If we are to liberate ourselves from self-destructive behavior, we have to begin by acknowledging our vulnerability and gullibility. We are vulnerable to being deceived by our lower desires because they promise pleasure through sensual indulgence but deliver only disappointment and distress (05.22). And we are gullible because despite having repeatedly experienced the emptiness of their promises, we tend to readily believe them when they make the same promises next time. Normally, we like to think of ourselves as strong and smart; so, acknowledging that we are the opposite is unbearably unpalatable. But if we flee from this truth about ourselves, we stay bound.
Thankfully, the Gita also provides us the process to become determined and discerning, that is, strong and smart. That process is bhakti-yoga, which helps us connect lovingly with our eternal Lord, Krishna, who is the reservoir of unlimited happiness. Of course, to connect with him we need to accept the truth that we are weak. Though this truth seems initially like poison, it eventually turns out to be like nectar.
If we practice bhakti-yoga steadily (07.27), the resulting absorption in Krishna provides us the ultimate joy. When we thereby relish real happiness and determinedly pursue it further, we break free from deceptive desires and relish joy eternal.
Think it over:
- How can fleeing from truth keep us bound?
- What unpalatable truth do we need to acknowledge about ourselves and our search for pleasure?
- How does bhakti-yoga practice make us strong and smart?
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