One person’s diversion can be another person’s devastation

To relieve life’s monotony, we sometimes seek various diversions. While diverting ourselves, we may simply want some harmless entertainment.

But diversions can easily degenerate from the harmless to the harmful to the horrible. How? By subtly changing our conceptions of what is acceptable and what isn’t. For example, some people who start off watching sensual imagery as a harmless-seeming diversion soon find themselves craving for such imagery with greater frequency and intensity, and craving for imagery that depicts ghastly combinations of violence and sensuality in the imagery. Thus, their ethical sense gets blurred and eventually blinded, till they end up doing things that they would have earlier found unconscionable.

They may even engage in reprehensible indulgences that victimize people whose lives may end up scarred or even shattered. Even if they themselves don’t engage in such violent violations, they strip themselves of the capacity to resist titillation and manifest dedication, both of which are essential for sustaining any meaningful relationship. When their loved ones are deprived of such relationships, as happens, say, when a spouse’s adultery shatters the other spouse, ruptures the family and condemns the children to fragmented, single-parent lives, then they bring suffering upon themselves as well as their loved ones.

The Bhagavad-gita outlines the godless mentality that makes people believe that material enjoyment is life’s only enjoyment (16.08). Such people engage in unfair activities (16.12) to get the money needed for fulfilling their material desires (16.13), even going to the extent of killing those whom they see as threats. Thus, what begins as diversion ends up causing devastation.

Gita wisdom explains that material existence is itself a diversion from our real life as souls meant to delight in an eternal life of love with the supreme spiritual being, Krishna. When we practice bhakti-yoga diligently, it gives us access to higher wisdom and satisfaction, thus freeing us from the short-sightedness that impels us to potentially devastating diversions.

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