05.22 – The pleasure that is pregnant with suffering

by January 7, 2012

The Bhagavad-gita (5.22) explains that wise people avoid sense pleasures because such pleasures are the wombs of suffering. The Gita’s use of the graphic analogy of a womb (Sanskrit yoni) is meant to protect us from mistakenly equating invisibility with non-existence. Just as the infant within the womb is not visible in the early stages of pregnancy, the suffering within sensual indulgence is not visible in the early stages of enjoyment.

But just as the infant will be delivered with the passage of time, the suffering will be delivered in due course of time. When we see the hedonistic lifestyles glamorized on billboards and in commercials, we don’t see the distressing and disastrous consequences of such lifestyles. However, just because those consequences can’t be seen doesn’t mean that they don’t exist; we only need to look at sociological surveys to find out alarming statistics of violence, rape, murder, depression, addiction and suicide – and it will be obvious that the pregnant suffering is indeed being delivered.

Abortion may sometimes avoid the delivery in ordinary pregnancy, but there is no abortion to avoid the delivery of the suffering pregnant in sense indulgence. That’s why the next verse of the Gita (5.23) states that, if we wish to live happily, we need to stay away from the desires for sensual enjoyment.

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