06.44: Haunted by happiness
As aspiring devotees our devotional determination may waver when confronted with temptations of material pleasures.
Often these pleasures haunt us like ghosts; they keep popping up again and again, possessing our mind and pushing us to act in distressing or even disgusting ways.
If due to this repeated pushing we give up our devotional principles, we will find those material pleasures strangely insipid. Even if we seek those pleasures in grosser forms and with greater frenzy, still the same tastelessness will dog us relentlessly.
Gita wisdom helps us understand that this tastelessness indicates that we are haunted by another ghost: the ghost of devotional happiness. Unlike the ghost of material happiness that torments us at the conscious level, the ghost of devotional happiness usually acts at a subconscious level, revealing the emptiness and hollowness of the most enjoyable material pleasures by contrasting them subliminally with devotional joys.
Some of us may feel a bit uncomfortable to hear devotional happiness compared to a ghost. But this usage is metaphorical. And the metaphor does convey poignantly the key point: when we are in the transit phase from material pleasure to devotional happiness, we will be inevitably dissatisfied – either by the conscious craving for material pleasure or the subconscious longing for devotional happiness. Giving in to the material craving will never make us happy because we have already tasted the far greater devotional happiness. The Bhagavad-gita (6.44) states that this superior taste will drag us back to devotional practices – sooner if we cooperate, later if we resist.
Therefore, knowing that the pursuit of material pleasures is now a lost cause, let us gird ourselves to fight the material craving, and thereby ensure that we get the higher happiness sooner rather than later.