Some limits restrict; some protect – knowing which limit does what is intelligence

When we are limited in any way, we often see that limitation as a restriction to our freedom. And yes, many limits do restrict. But not all. Some protect.

If a person has been unfairly jailed, then the jail walls restrict their freedom of movement. Suppose a person is living inside a fort that is being attacked by rioters who are out to kill that person. Though those walls too limit that person’s movement, they are actually offering protection, not imposing restriction. If that person foolishly leaves the safe haven of the fort in the name of freedom, they will be slaughtered.

For physical threats, we can easily discern that some walls protect. But we need intelligence to similarly discern when it comes to subtler threats, threats to our consciousness by temptations.

Whenever we are told to not do some activities that we consider pleasurable, we tend to rebel, “Why are you depriving me of happiness?” However, such rebelliousness is blind to the reality that what we consider pleasurable often leaves us miserable. Many of the world’s pleasures are baits that entice and entrap our consciousness in sensuality, immorality and perversity, whereby we end up hurting, even destroying ourselves. That’s how people end up addicted, tormented, defeated.

The Bhagavad-gita (02.64) states that when we keep our search for happiness within scriptural limits, that limitation protects us from such self-destruction and takes us towards spiritual realization and lasting happiness thereof. Thus, returning to the fort metaphor, living the scriptural way not only keep us safe from degrading temptations, but also paves a way to escape to a safe zone of spiritual absorption in the all-attractive Supreme.

To live within scriptural limits is the ultimate sign of intelligence, for it protects us from degradation and guides us towards liberation.

Think it over:

  • Explain with examples how some limits protect.
  • How are the world’s pleasures baits?
  • Why is living within scriptural limits intelligent?


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