Sensual pleasure feels fine, but it comes with a fine
Youths often like to drive their bikes superfast, way above the speed limit. They get a thrill when they feel the wind whistling through their ears; hear their bike rumbling as it eats up the miles; and see heads turn towards them as they whiz by. Although all these sensations may feel fine to them, they will have to pay a fine when cops catch them. Even if they aren’t caught, they will still incur a fine. That fine is not financial, but is psychological: they will become attached to speeding and blinded to its hazards. And this combination of attachment and blindness will eventually get them into huge trouble.
Whenever we gratify our senses disproportionately, we often enjoy the titillation and neglect the consequent tribulation. Alerting us, the Bhagavad-gita (18.38) stresses that the same sensual pleasure which tastes like nectar initially will tastes like poison eventually. This implies that tribulation is an inbuilt feature of the titillation, not an avoidable consequence.
Nowadays, technology has increased enormously the titillation available to us. But it has also increased proportionately the magnitude of the concomitant tribulation. For example, cars and phones are both useful, but driving fast while texting on phone is a recipe for disaster.
Similarly, in the past, we may have titillated ourselves with obscene imagery by reading some magazines. But with the Internet expanding our access almost unlimitedly, our urge to seek titillation can keep us distracted and deluded for hours upon hours, day after day, month after month, year after year.
Thus, in sensual indulgence, the fine, even if invisible, is inevitable. Understanding this unsentimentally, we can determinedly restrain our senses and redirect them towards Krishna by practicing bhakti-yoga. The resulting purification and absorption will provide us satisfaction far more enduring and fulfilling than the most alluring titillation.
Think it over:
- What is the relationship between titillation and tribulation?
- How has technology affected our experience of titillation and tribulation?
- How can bhakti-yoga help us restrain the urge for titillation?
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