Desires for sense gratification drive us crazy

Desires for sense gratification drive us crazy

Our heart is always filled with the desires for sense gratification and mind keeps on constantly planning how to actualize the desire.

We assume that our senses are subservient to us and it is our duty to provide them what it wants. So, we are always putting in our best efforts to satisfy our gross senses – eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin – and three subtle senses – mind, intelligence and false ego. 

Eyes want to see beautiful forms, ears want to hear different melody, nose wants to smell something nice, tongue is crazy for palatable food and skin long for sensual touch.

Similarly, our subtle senses are mad for gratification. 

And we think that as masters we should give best joy to our senses, and we hope that by doing so we will experience happiness. 

But the reality is that we are not the masters of our senses, but in fact we are under its control. And so, if we refuse to obey our senses then our senses make us go crazy.

Analyse your life and you will find that 24 hours in a day you are busy acting as per the dictate of your senses.

A person lives in vain, if he lives only to satisfy his senses

We think that by gratifying our senses we can be happy in this world. But this is never going to happen. And this is confirmed by none other than Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

He says to Arjuna that those who live only to gratify their senses lead a sinful and unhappy life.  “My dear Arjuna, one who does not follow in human life the cycle of sacrifice thus established by the Vedas certainly leads a life full of sin. Living only for the satisfaction of the senses, such a person lives in vain.” Bhagavad Gita 3.16

To lead a peaceful and blissful life, it is imperative that we take charge of our senses.  But it is important to understand that our senses cannot be inert and our heart cannot be without desires.

Currently our heart is impregnated with worldly desires and our senses are busy in fulfilling those desires. And because of this our heart is infested with vices and so, we suffer externally and most importantly internally.

So, to attain freedom from these unwanted sufferings, we need to have proper desires and the senses need good engagement.

Pain producing material desires

Just as a jasmine flower cannot give up its fragrance, similarly we the living entities cannot give up desires. So, we need to carefully analyse the desires which gives pleasure, and which produces pain. Engaging the senses to satisfy material desires rarely give any pleasure. 

And the dollops of happiness, we experience in this world by material means is always accompanied with the anxiety of losing it at any moment.

So, the wise men of the yore always advised against being bogged by pain producing material desires. Instead, they advised us to blossom our heart with spiritual desires which produces pleasures which are uncontaminated and unlimited and not ephemeral.

Krishna appeared to teach us the futility of material desires

Krishna personally appeared as Lord Chaitanya to teach us the necessity of giving up material desires and to pursue spiritual desires with determination.  He educated us by his own example. Lord Chaitanya was earlier known as Nimai and was recognized as a great scholar.

He had a very dedicated and beautiful wife and an extremely loving mother, but he gave up these worldly pleasures voluntarily. Instead, he donned a sanyasi robe at a young age to teach the world how to perfect once human life by sincerely engaging in Krishna Consciousness.   

His two foremost disciples, Rupa Goswami and Santana Goswami, too gave up wealth, power and position and engaged 24hrs in a day in Krishna Consciousness.

Similarly, Srila Prabhupada dedicated his life in fulfilling the desire of his spiritual master.  His spiritual master wanted him to broadcast the teachings of Lord Chaitanya all over the world. And Srila Prabhupada accomplished it with flying colours. His journey wasn’t smooth, but he bravely fought all the obstacles with grit and with faith in Krishna’s protection.

As of now we think that how can we be happy if we give up our material desires because we do not have experience of being happy by being spiritual. But at least we have the experience that worldly desires never satiate our heart.

Blossoming the heart with higher spiritual desires

And we see that pure devotees always remain blissful by just carrying the desire to always serve the desire of Krishna in their heart.

Replacing lower material desires become ultra simple if we replace it with bliss producing higher spiritual desires. Even Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that lower taste can be given up only by higher taste and once taste for spiritual life fructifies in our heart, we will lose all our attraction for worldly desires.  

In this world one of the greatest desires is the desire to enjoy with the opposite sex. But even this can be given up easily if our heart gets attached to the lotus feet of Krishna.

There is a story of Dhanurdasa who was very attracted to the eyes of a lady. He would continuously look into her eyes thinking that this is the most beautiful creation in this world.  

Once Sri Ramanujacharya felt pity on him and showed him the eyes of Lord Ranganatha.

Dhanurdasa was wonderstruck. He got so mesmerized seeing the lotus like eyes of the beautiful Lord that he lost all attraction for the mundane eyes of the mortal lady.

Yamunacharya says candidly, “Since I have been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa, realizing ever-new pleasure in Him, whenever I think of sex pleasure, I spit at the thought, and my lips curl with distaste.

Tolerating material desires

So, for our own good, we should focus on cultivating spiritual desires. But while doing so, we will be troubled by material desires. Unless we become completely purified, such lower desires will keep on knocking at our heart again and again. But we should not succumb to it.

Krishna advises in Bhagavad Gita 2.70 that just like ocean remains undisturbed by the incessant flow of rivers similarly we should not get agitated by the worldly desires which arise in our heart. We should neglect it and not act upon it. If we do so we will be peaceful.

Srimad Bhagavatam 7.15.22 says that if we make plans with determination then we will be able to ultimately give up lusty desires for sense gratification. And simultaneously, we should make plan to flood our heart with Krishna Conscious desires. In fact, just the desire to serve Krishna will fill our heart with joy.

Krishna says, “A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship and is devoid of false ego – he alone can attain real peace.Bhagavad Gita 2.71

Purifying the senses by giving it blissful engagement

Now it is not just important to have the right desires, but we should also engage our senses in fulfilling those desires. If we study the life of pure devotees, we will see that their desire to serve the Lord did not remain dormant in their heart. But they worked tirelessly to serve the desire of the Lord.

For e.g. Hanuman was always busy in serving the wishes of Lord Rama to the best of his ability. And we know that Hanuman has humongous ability.  So, he did so many wonderful things for Lord Rama.

Rupa Goswami & Sanatana Goswami’s exemplary devotional service

Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami were so busy in their devotional service that they hardly slept or ate.

They would be thoroughly occupied in writing transcendental books to glorify Krishna and the great fortune of the devotees who take shelter of Krishna. They revealed those glorious places in Vrindavan where Krishna performed his memorable pastimes. 

The two brothers also constructed gorgeous temples and installed beautiful deities for the people to come and relish the nectar of devotional life.  And the two brothers who were personally instructed by Lord Chaitanya spent every moment of the day in inspiring people to practice devotion to Krishna.  

Srila Prabhupada – the global spiritual warrior

Following the footsteps of Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami, Srila Prabhupada too dedicated his life in widely distributing the transcendental message of Krishna and Chaitanya all over the world. He too built magnificent temples in different cities of the world, introduced the famous Rath Yatra festival outside India and wrote scores of transcendental literatures.

Like these liberated souls, we the conditioned souls should also not be idle but engage each of our senses in worshipping and serving the Lord. If we do so, we will be able to give up all desires for sense gratification and will always be engaged in the service of the Lord.

When toxic desires leave our heart, we feel great joy

And while doing so our heart will get cleansed of impurities like lust, anger and greed which is described as gateway to hell by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita.  Just like when toxins get removed from our body, we feel light and healthy.

Similarly, as the toxic desires will get flushed out from the heart and the senses will stop craving for those, we will start feeling light, healthy, peaceful and happy.  Once we free our heart of the desires for sense gratification, we will continuously experience great joy.

In that purified state, our eyes will enjoy seeing beautiful form of the Lord, ear in hearing the glories of the Lord, mouth in chanting the names of Lord, hands and legs in actively working for the Lord.

Experiencing the nectar of pure love of Krishna

Rupa Goswami shares his joy which he experiences while engaging his senses in chanting the names of Krishna in these beautiful words.

I do not know how much nectar the two syllables ‘Kṛṣ-ṇa’ have produced. When the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert.” Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 1.99

If we engage our senses in Krishna Consciousness, we will slowly begin realizing that if senses are pursuing material desires, we become miserable, but if senses are busy in the service of Krishna, then we feel contented and happy.

And a day will come when by the grace of Krishna, we will be able to give up all desires for sense gratification and attain freedom from all miseries.  Heart will no longer carry the burden of material desires and even if any worldly desire knocks at our heart, we will just ignore it.

By engaging the senses in always serving the lotus feet of the Lord, which is compared to wish fulfilling tree, we will taste the nectar of love of Krishna and will remain eternally happy.

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