The illumination of devotion is the best protection from illusion
Illusion constantly tempts and torments us spiritual seekers, by making us imagine that pleasure is found – and found in abundance – in worldly things.
How do we protect ourselves from such illusion?
Initially, Gita wisdom recommends the shield of philosophical discrimination. This intellectual resource enables us to differentiate between the material and the spiritual, the temporary and the eternal, and the disappointing and the fulfilling.
As a more complete weapon in the war against illusion, the Gita urges us to go beyond intellectual discrimination to transcendental illumination – illumination that comes by divine grace in reciprocation to our genuine devotion.
The Bhagavad-gita (10.11) mentions that Krishna personally illumines the hearts of those who devote themselves to him. The torchlight of knowledge (jnana-dipa) he lights dissipates the darkness caused by the impurities present in our heart. It is these impurities that erode our discrimination and distort our perception, making what are sources of misery seem sources of pleasure. To the extent these impurities get cleansed, to that extent our perception matches with reality – we see worldly things as nothing more than matter that, no matter how good-looking it seems, can’t offer us any lasting or fulfilling pleasure. Such de-glamorization of temptation is a potent protection from illusion.
Significantly, Krishna’s torchlight of knowledge lights not only the world of matter but also the world of spirit. It reveals him in truth, making his inestimable glory and irresistible beauty evident to us. Thanks to this munificent revelation, we start feasting on the uncontaminated and undiluted nectar of his sweet remembrance. The more we relish this rich spiritual happiness, the more our residual attachment to worldly pleasures gets uprooted – irrevocably.
By thus exposing the superficiality of worldly pleasures and revealing the supreme substantiality of spiritual joys, the illumination of devotion offers the best protection from illusion.
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