To seek shortcuts is to be shortsighted

Shortcuts promise to take us to our destination quickly. But in our search for pleasure, sensual indulgences are shortcuts that actually take us away from pleasure.

Gita wisdom explains that we are not material bodies but are spiritual beings, so we can find lasting happiness only in pure spiritual love for Krishna. Developing such love requires purifying ourselves, which seems to be a long and laborious process.

In contrast, sense gratification appears to be a shortcut to pleasure. Why? Because sense objects are ultra-visible and seem readily available – if we just bring them in contact with our senses, we will get immense pleasure. Or so today’s materialistic culture would have us believe.

But the Bhagavad-gita (18.38) warns us that such sensual pleasure is only initial – it lasts for a few moments and is followed by a long tail of misery. This misery materializes when we become attached to the sources of those pleasures and become entangled in all the complexities inherent in struggling in vain to hold on to those sources. For the eternal soul to seek happiness in temporary things is the road to misery.

But unfortunately due to our many attachments to worldly things, we are already shortsighted. And our culture specializes in making us even more shortsighted by aggressively glamorizing the initial pleasure and craftily concealing the eventual misery. Consequently, our very search for pleasure ends up becoming our cause of misery, as is most graphically demonstrated in the various addictions that plague millions all over the world.

To avoid becoming allured by sensual shortcuts, we need to cure our shortsightedness. How? By studying scripture seriously and learning to see the world through the eyes of scriptural wisdom. Then we can cultivate the farsightedness necessary for persevering in devotional service and gradually relish lasting, fulfilling spiritual happiness.

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