Scriptural study helps us differentiate our authentic needs from our artificial needs
We often feel we need many material things. But when we work to get them and even when we get them, they don’t satisfy us. To the contrary, our needs seem to multiply. And no matter how much we get, we still feel dissatisfied because so much more remains that we haven’t yet got.
To protect ourselves from such incurable dissatisfaction, we need to differentiate between our authentic needs and our artificial needs. We can’t, however, know our authentic needs without knowing our authentic self.
The Bhagavad-gita unveils that authentic self. It explains that we are souls, who are eternal parts of the all-attractive whole, Krishna. Presently, we spiritual beings are existing in material bodies; so, we have both spiritual and material needs. Unfortunately, our mind is materially infatuated, and our culture is aggressively materialistic. Due to the mind’s imaginations and the culture’s glamorization, we get inflamed with many cravings for material things that aren’t actually necessary, and we start mistaking them to be our needs. Such misperception is characteristic of nature’s mode of passion.
Regular Gita study helps us rise to the mode of goodness whereby we can perceive our inner world much more clearly. The Gita (14.11) indicates that in goodness, the senses become illumined with knowledge. This enables us to observe and evaluate which desires to let into our consciousness and which to keep out. With the calmness and clarity coming from goodness, we can differentiate between our authentic needs and our artificially-induced cravings.
Ultimately, our deepest longing is for the all-attractive reservoir of love, our eternal Lord, Krishna. Bhakti-yoga addresses this longing by connecting us with him. When we are thus connected, we don’t feel deprived on saying no to superficial cravings; instead, because bhakti practice fulfills our authentic needs, we feel increasingly enriched.
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