Is the body a playground for passion or a temple for devotion?
Our culture with its romantic movies and erotic pictures depicts the body as a playground for passion, especially sexual passion.
But are such popular depictions of the body true?
No. Here’s why.
Firstly,the body is an extremely small playground. No matter what the media depicts in its glamorized illusions, in real life the body’s capacity to enjoy passionate sexual pleasures is permanently limited.
Secondly, the body is a playground filled with ditches and marshes. Just as falling into a ditch can break one’s bones, the body being highly fragile can succumb to accidents and infections at any moment – all the more so when people use it to seek passionate pleasures indiscriminately. And just as a marsh sucks a person into it, most passionate pleasures make us helplessly, uncontrollably, irresistibly addicted to them.
Thus due to the smallness and dangerousness of the bodily playground, its popular depictions aredangerously false.
Gita wisdom offers us a more realistic vision of the body: as a temple for devotion. The Bhagavad-gita (06.18) indicates that using the body for connecting with Krishna through yoga can free us from all miseries. How? By helping usattain the spiritual level of consciousness. There, we as souls can delight eternally in our devotional connection with Krishna, the reservoir of all happiness.
To use the body as a temple, do we have to give up all material enjoyments? No, the same Gita verse indicates that we just need to regulate them. Regulation will ensure that material passions don’t drag us away from our devotional pursuits. And itwill also provide us a refined material joy that is more lasting and fulfilling than that offered by passion.
Thus, by using the body as a temple for devotion, we will benefit materially and spiritually.
“When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in transcendence – devoid of all material desires – he is said to be well established in yoga.”