By Jaya Row
Spirituality is commonly associated with sense denial, withdrawal from the world and austerity, giving up the good things of life, moving away from family and worldly possessions and retiring to the forest. Altogether, an unattractive proposition. This puts off the younger generation who want pleasure here and now. They are not willing to wait for future reward, leave alone post-mortem happiness!
The truth is, spiritual life restores the Enjoyment you have already lost. The trend today is to indulge indiscriminately in sense contact. But the more you indulge, the less you enjoy. Every successive contact with an object reduces the joy content, till you reach a stage of no enjoyment. When you have the object, there is zero pleasure; when you are denied it, there is displeasure. In the past, affordability was a natural barrier that protected people from excessive indulgence. Today, even that is taken care of by creative financial options.
The way out is regulated contact. Vedanta says, let the intellect decide when you should contact a sense object, and to what extent. Then, you retain 100% enjoyment till the last day of your life. Your honeymoon with life never ends! Vedanta is not against sense enjoyment. In fact, Krishna tells Arjuna in the Gita to enjoy the vast kingdom. There is no limit to enjoyment. You can have as much as you want, as often as you want. Vedanta only cautions against losing mastery over the experience.
People act in the world only for profit, reward, pay cheques. Selfish action leads to failure, stress and limited gains. Vedanta introduces the concept of unselfish action. The attitude shifts from that of entitlement to obligation, from profiteering to offering your talent towards a larger cause. When you give, you gain. Grab, and you lose. All takers are unhappy. Givers are happy. And givers grow into outstanding personalities.
People believe they have to give up their families to be spiritual. Vedanta does advocate ‘detachment’ but the term is totally distorted and misunderstood. The conflict, misery and break-up in relationships occur because of excessive attachment. Attachment is Love polluted by selfishness. The relationship gets tainted with unreasonable expectations and demands you make on family and friends. When the demands are not met, there is bitterness and quarrel.
Continue to love. Drop selfishness. Detachment is not physical separation but mental independence. When you are weak and incapable of being by yourself you need the support of others. You depend on them. You then love only yourself, for you claim to love others because they cater to you in some way. This is attachment.
Once you become self-sufficient, you have the strength to live by yourself. But you have the luxury of establishing wonderful relationships. You love people for what they are, not for what they can provide you. This is true loving detachment.
Knowledge is often mistaken for information. True knowledge confers clarity of thinking and a sharp intellect by which you achieve success effortlessly. You see things as they are, not coloured by your prejudices and biases. You are able to negotiate through life’s challenges without getting overwhelmed by them. You understand that all that the world offers is temporary and transient. You engage with the world, enjoy it fully with the knowledge that it will go. Then, when it goes, you are not left shattered and despondent.
Finally, Vedanta encourages us to grow beyond material and sensual entertainment to higher and subtler joys. It takes us through emotional joys and intellectual thrills to the ultimate state of Enlightenment. Then you understand the futility of trivial joys of the world and escalate to infinite Bliss!
Follow Jaya Row at speakingtree.in
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.
via TOI Blog
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