Pleasure is too fragile a purpose to sustain us through life’s troubles
We all seek pleasure. Yet life can put us in such dilemmas and traumas that pleasure can become utterly unavailable. In such situations, if we had made pleasure our life’s purpose, we may feel that living itself is pointless.
Such was the condition in which Arjuna found himself at the start of the Bhagavad-gita. He declared that the greatest success for a warrior – a flourishing kingdom in this world or the next – would not remove the grief that was drying up his senses (02.08).
Encouraging him, the Gita revealed a higher purpose for life based on a spiritual worldview. At our core, we are indestructible souls; and we are parts of a transcendental Whole, Krishna. All our talents and achievements are meant ultimately to help us connect devotionally with Krishna and contribute practically in this world for our and others’ well-being.
Krishna is always present with us, within us. And our consciousness is our defining characteristic; it too is always with us. When we strive to offer our consciousness to Krishna through outer service and inner remembrance, we become empowered with an inalienable purpose. This purpose of connection and contribution, when customized according to our particular interests, abilities and limitations, energizes our life with meaning and fulfillment. The knowledge that we have an enduring connection and are making a worthwhile contribution sustains us through life’s distresses. And the resulting absorption provides, as a byproduct, a sublime fulfillment, which is far deeper and richer than the sensuality and hedonism that are often equated with pleasure.
Thus, using our talents and interests not just to gain pleasure but to establish inner connection and enhance outer contribution, thereby making our consciousness absorbed in Krishna, is life’s most worthwhile purpose.
Think it over:
- Why is pleasure too fragile as a life-purpose?
- How can spiritual purpose sustain us through life’s troubles?
- How can adopting a spiritual purpose empower you amid your challenges?
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