To overcome desires, outgrow them
When children want to spend all their time playing and their parents force them to study, the children resent their studies and sneak back to playing at the first opportunity.
Similarly, when we start practicing spiritual life, we, because of our past conditionings and attachments, still define happiness in material terms. So, when we have to apply ourselves to spiritual practice, instead of indulging in worldly pleasures, as we are by default inclined to do, we feel resentful. With our higher self – our intelligence and conscience – we may practice bhakti, but as soon as we let our guard down, we will find our thoughts sneaking back to worldly indulgences and we may even find ourselves relapsing into those indulgences.
If we try to give up our lower desires while still conceiving of pleasure in worldly terms, we will find ourselves fighting a losing battle. While we certainly need to rein in our desires, we can’t overcome them simply by fighting them. We need to outgrow them – that is, we need to grow spiritually, thereby expanding our conception of happiness and realizing that far higher happiness awaits us in our spiritual relationship with Krishna, a relationship that can be accessed and relished through the practice of bhakti-yoga. The Bhagavad-gita (05.21) indicates that those who focus inwards gain access to imperishable spiritual happiness, thereby becoming detached from outer sensual lures. We needn’t focus on fighting desires – we can focus on growing spiritually by practicing bhakti-yoga.
As children grow up, they gradually relish the joy of learning and realize the importance of studying in providing a bright future, they become more amenable to studying. A similar contemplation on the rich rewards of spirituality can inspire us to stick to the path of spiritual growth, thereby outgrowing the desires for petty worldly indulgences.
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