Use self-control to commit the self to the control of the supreme self

Suppose a person has a severe digestive disorder that requires not just dietary regulation but also medical treatment. The patient’s self-control in eating is beneficial and even essential, but it is meant to aid the doctor’s treatment, not replace it.

Gita wisdom explains that we as souls are in a diseased condition of material consciousness. We are infatuated with temporary material things instead of being devoted to Krishna, the all-attractive Supreme, whose parts we are eternally (15.07). Although our spiritual nature is blissful, our material consciousness causes peace and happiness to elude us, and anxiety and discontent to befall us.

The patient’s digestive problems may be mitigated temporarily by dietary regulation, but they will eventually re-surface unless properly treated. Similarly, we may appear to become peaceful by succeeding in our self-control efforts, but that peace will eventually be stolen when, with the oscillations of the unpredictable mind, sensual pleasure starts seeming irresistible. When we seek self-control alone, not service to Krishna, we may succeed temporarily. But such success doesn’t situate us at the spiritual level; it may situate us at the intellectual or the egoistic level or wherever else. For us as souls, no level other than the spiritual can grant lasting happiness. Consequently, despite our self-control, we remain vulnerable to sensual relapse.

Ultimately, the sensual urges that steal our self-control arise because we are deprived of the spiritual satisfaction coming from connection with Krishna. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (07.14) asserts that we can overcome the formidable illusory energy by surrendering to him. When we use whatever self-control we have to place ourselves under Krishna’s control, seeking to serve him, that service attitude attracts his mercy, which fills our consciousness with sublime joy.

Situated in fulfilling absorption in Krishna, we progress towards enduring spiritual health and happiness.

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