Intelligence shows how indulgence is harmful and how harmful indulgence is
Less than a century ago, smoking was considered harmless. It took decades of intelligent investigation to reveal that smoking harmed health, and harmed it so much.
We need similar intelligent investigation to expose another glamorized activity: indiscriminate sensual indulgence. Gita wisdom exposes the harms of sensual indulgence in two ways:
How indulgence is harmful: The Bhagavad-gita (18.38) stresses that, though sensual indulgence initially appears enjoyable, it ends up becoming miserable. The pleasure of indulgence is preceded by hankering and succeeded by lamenting. Hankering means that we want the pleasure, immediately and irresistibly. Lamenting means we resent why the pleasure ended so soon. Over time, the hankering and lamenting increase, whereas the pleasure decreases. Eventually, the pleasure becomes just a short-lived relief from the self-inflicted torment of constant hankering and lamenting.
However, the indulgence is usually physical and visible, whereas the hankering and lamenting are psychological and invisible. So, we hardly ever realize that indulgence is hurting us, unless we intelligently analyze our experiences.
How harmful indulgence is: The Gita (03.39) warns that self-destructive desire is an eternal enemy. Indulgence stains our psyche with indelible impressions that haunt us far beyond our present lifespans. Apart from such psychological torment, indulgence can also sentence us to other karmic consequences, based on the specific nature and quantity of our indulgence.
Most damagingly, indiscriminate indulgence gives rise to a material obsession that distracts us from spiritual absorption (02.44). And we stay deprived of the lasting happiness that is our right as blissful parts of the blissful whole.
When we thus understand how indulgence is harmful and how harmful indulgence is, we can wisely desist from indiscriminate indulgence (05.22). And by firmly turning our backs toward sensuality, we can determinedly practice bhakti-yoga to connect with the all-attractive whole, thereby accessing imperishable happiness (05.21).
Think it over:
- How can we understand that indiscriminate sensual indulgence is harmful?
- How can we understand how harmful such indulgence is?
- When we understand the harms of such indulgence, what can we do?
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