Regulation is the road to realization

Some people ask, “Isn’t regulation deprivation? If we enjoy something, why should we check ourselves in doing it?”

The purpose of regulation is not deprivation, but facilitation of higher, spiritual enjoyment. When we don’t know that purpose and know only lower, material enjoyment, regulation seems like deprivation.

Gita wisdom helps remove our knowledge deficit. It explains that we are souls presently encased in material bodies. Because our body is ephemeral and peripheral to our core, material enjoyment is fleeting and unfulfilling. In contrast, spiritual happiness – happiness coming from the soul’s spiritual nature to love and serve the whole, Krishna, of which it is an eternal part – is eternal and eternally fulfilling. That’s why it’s intelligent to pursue spiritual happiness. Still, we can’t give up all materially enjoyable activities entirely – some of them such as eating are essential for survival. But these activities do need to be regulated so that we can have the mental space to pursue spiritual happiness.

If we are unregulated, we become obsessed with material pleasures, constantly fantasizing about getting newer, professedly better versions of those pleasures.

If we are unregulated, we become obsessed with material pleasures, constantly fantasizing about getting newer, professedly better versions of those pleasures. As this obsession consumes our mental space, we can’t even perceive spiritual happiness, leave alone pursue it. Consequently, we stay stuck in chasing material pleasures that despite their sheen of newness are essentially the same old stuff that has never granted us fulfillment.

Instead, if we choose to regulate ourselves, as the Bhagavad-gita (06.17) recommends, we pave the road along which yoga practice can take our consciousness towards Krishna. That is, by being regulated, we can undistractedly practice yoga, experience for ourselves sublime spiritual fulfillment, contrast it with unfulfilling material enjoyment and thus realize the true natures of the two pleasures. Empowered by this realization, we can practice yoga with greater determination and march swiftly towards attaining the ecstasy of pure love for Krishna.

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