Devotional Thoughts

How to seek real pleasure

How to seek real pleasure

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.20.28

so 'vadhāryāsya kārpaṇyaṁ viviktādhyātma-darśanaḥ
vimuñcātma-tanuṁ ghorām ity ukto vimumoca ha

The Lord, who can distinctly see the minds of others, perceived Brahmā's distress and said to him: "Cast off this impure body of yours." Thus commanded by the Lord, Brahmā cast off his body.

lord brahma

When Brahma was chased by the demons created by Him, He surrendered to the Lord.  The Lord is described here by the word viviktādhyātma-darśana. Only the Lord can perceive another’s distress.

Suppose I suffer greatly due to some distress and I approach someone to get some help to find relief from the distressful condition; it is not possible for the other person to appreciate the volume of distress suffered by me.

But since the Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, He can clearly understand our distress and give us direction on how to get out of that danger. Here, the Lord asked Brahmā to give up his present body with which he had created the demoniac principles.

Śrīdhara Svāmī, a great devotee who had written a commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam, suggests that Brahmā did not give up the actual body; but he gave up a particular mentality, the passionate mentality with which he created the demons.

This body is a yantra (machine): yantrārūḍhāni māyayā: a machine made of material energy. There is a gross body made of senses and there is subtle body made of mind, intelligence and ego. Our mind gets absorbed in sinful thoughts and when we give up such sinful thought, it may be said that we give up that body.

However, we get such sinful thoughts due to our false egos. We identify ourselves with our body, and that gives rise to so many other identities: I am a man, I am an Indian, I am the father of my children, I am a businessman and so on. All these sub identities arise when we falsely identify ourselves with our body.

We are all individuals. Individuality is different from identity. Getting rid of our false identities does not result in dissolution of our individuality. Māyāvādīs think that the individual soul merges into the impersonal Brahman on attaining liberation and thus loses its individual existence. This is not true. We do not lose our individuality. We lose our false identities. Individuality is more fundamental and of existential nature. Identities are situational. When the individual soul identifies himself with the body and accepts different roles, they create different identities.

Devotees, who practice Krishna consciousness, try to give up these false identities and establish themselves in their original constitutional position as the servant of Krishna.

jīvera 'svarūpa' haya—kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dāsa'

Identities are like tags on a bag. The bag is the substance. The tag is the identity. Individuality with free will and character is like the bag. As individuals, our original position is that of a servant – the servant of Krishna. kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dāsa' Therefore we may be attached to our individuality as servant of Krishna but should detach our self from identities.

We have to accept identities that are favourable for service of the Lord and reject identities that are unfavourable for the service of the Lord. Here the Lord is advising Brahma to discard an unfavourable identity or false ego.

False ego is the cause of all distresses in this material world. So the best solution to become free from all miserable conditions in this world is to identify the underlying false ego connected to that misery and detach from such false egos or identities.

Sometimes, even devotees develop a different type of false ego that – I am a great devotee and I am very knowledgeable about the scriptures.

We should be careful not to develop such false ego. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says:

tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

Krishna is not interested in your knowledge. He is interested in how you apply your knowledge in His service. We have to cast off these impure identities and try to enjoy the existential bliss.

The false identities entangle us and haunt us like ghosts, making us forgetful of our real identity as the servant of Krishna. Under the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance we constantly hanker for pleasure in this material world. But, the pleasure we get in this material world is illusory and momentary.

The false identities we accept force us to enjoy independently. Such enjoyment is in the mode of passion or ignorance; and we are always hungry for such pleasure.

pleasure to godBut if we do not know how to seek actual pleasure, we will be forced to seek illusory pleasure. For example, devotees eat only prasādam (food offered to Krishna) and thus they are freed from all sinful reactions; but those who are not devotees, they cook food for their own pleasure and as a result get entangled. (Bg 3.13) We cannot avoid food. For our survival, we need to eat. We can prepare varieties of foodstuffs and offer to Krishna and then honor it as prasadam. Similarly if our mind is not engaged in thinking of Krishna, it will seek other engagements.

So, we should learn how to seek real pleasure. The actual pleasure can be enjoyed only in the state of pure goodness – suddha sattva. brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā: one can be joyful only in the state of transcendence by realizing the brahman. And such a person does not hanker for anything; nor does he lament. na śocati na kāṅkṣati.

This is the state of existential bliss. We have to realize brahman and constantly meditate on Him.

The Supreme Lord informs us that sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca: I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. He is the Supersoul, or Paramātma. He is close to us. He is our real friend.  suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ.

When we constantly meditate on the fact that the Lord is with us and He is taking care of us, we can enjoy the meditative pleasure. We should try to involve Him in all our activities. We should develop a relationship with Him.

tam eva śaraṇaṁ gaccha sarva-bhāvena bhārata: In all respects, surrender unto Him, the Supreme Lord who is situated as the Supersoul in our heart. (Bg 18.62)


supersoulThe Supreme Lord will give us the required knowledge and guidance. dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te (Bg 10.10): With that shining lamp of knowledge, He who dwells in our hearts destroys our ignorance. (Bg 10.11)

teṣām evānukampārtham aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva-stho jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā

We must learn to depend on Him in all our activities and work under His protection. (Bg 18.57): cetasā sarva-karmāi mayi sannyasya mat-paraand thus if we become conscious of Him, we can pass over all the obstacles in our material existence. mac-citta sarva-durgāi mat-prasādāt tariyasi (Bg 18.58).

This is possible only when we cast away our impure identities and start associating with our real friend, the Supersoul, who is dwelling in our hearts. This is the most blissful situation; a settled situation. We feel more secure when we really understand that we are working under the protection of the Supreme Lord who is constantly guiding us in all our activities.

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