I have a lovely Gulmohar tree close to my second-floor bedroom window and it has been in full bloom for many weeks now. In mid-summer its colorful flowers blossom forth, and even its leaves have such beauty, such awesome symmetry of design !
But I cannot nourish this tree by watering the flowers and leaves that I admire so much ; I must reach the roots and nourish them with water and manure.
Similarly, we cannot satisfy the soul by feeding the senses with pleasures, because we are not the senses ; we just have them. I do not myself get cleaned if I wash my shirt.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Christ says : Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled' (Mathew 5.6). In 'The Second Coming of Christ' , commenting on this, my Master Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, writes :
"The urge in every man to fill an inner emptiness is the soul's desire for God... Sense pleasures are of the body and lower mind ; they bring no nourishment to man's inmost being. spiritual starvation suffered by all who would subsist on sense offering, is allayed only by righteousness - the actions, attitudes and attributes that are right for the soul : virtue, spiritual behavior, bliss, immortality.
"Righteousness means acting rightly in the physical, mental and spiritual departments of life."
In verse XVIII : 38, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, "That happiness which springs from the conjunction of the senses and matter is termed rajasic ; it seems like nectar in the beginning and like poison in the end". In his 2-volume commentary on the Gita, my Master, commenting on this verse, writes :
"The alcoholic or the habitual drug user feels elation at first, but afterward is plunged into despair when the effects of the liquor or narcotic wears off... If evil had no charm , nobody would try it. People swallow the bitter pill of evil because it is sugar-coated with immediate pleasure.
"Worldly people, young and old, are those who overindulge their senses. Even after discovering the harmful aftereffects, they are still helplessly driven to such excesses by the compelling influence of bad habits. Recipients of (such) rajasic happiness find out too late that undisciplined sensual pleasures turn out to be tormentors - destroying strength, vitality, health, good looks, intelligence, memory, riches and enthusiasm."
We have another example to understand this : The camel in the desert loves to eat bramble - a toxic prickly shrub sweet in taste. The camel's tongue and gums bleed, but it does not want to stop eating it.
We read in 'Autobiography of a Yogi' : "In God's plan and play (lila), the sole function of Satan or Maya is to attempt to divert man from Spirit to matter, from Reality to unreality."
Alfred Korzubski, a Polish-American scientist, says, 'God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won't.'
Let us nourish the roots of our tree of life ; not the leaves and flowers. When the roots are healthy, the leaves and blossoms will automatically be so.
In the Gita, same chapter but preceding verse, we read "Yat tat agre vishamiv, pariname amritopamam " meaning the sattivic happiness born of clear perceptive discrimination of Self-Realization, may feel poison-like bitter in the beginning but is like nectar afterwards.
When the new devotee turns to God, and to yoga-meditation, it is not easy in the beginning. One has to turn away from the dreams of Maya, from the pleasures of the senses. Exercising, sitting upright in solitude and trying to meditate is bitter in the beginning, and one sees no results in the beginning, no light yet at the end of the proverbial tunnel. But if one persists, such indescribable bliss descends upon one's being, that it is like nectar increasingly, and one never knows where the end is. Unlike sense-pleasures that ended in satiety, and often nausea and disease, the soul-bliss is unfathomable, ever-new and all-satisfying.
But we must persist. If one has to work so hard for money and perishable sense-pleasures, why should divine bliss, the supreme joy that can ever be, be easy to get ?
Human Excellence thro' blending Science, Management & Spirituality.