05.24 – Materialism centers on gaining; spirituality centers on regaining

by October 10, 2012

All of us have a drive to achieve, a drive we can direct either materially or spiritually. To aid us in choosing correctly, the Bhagavad-gita contrasts material enjoyment and spiritual fulfillment in its fifth chapter and exhorts us (5.24) to direct our drive to achieve spiritually. Let’s understand why.

Materialism centers on gaining something that is external to us, something that has no intrinsic connection with our essence as souls. We do need some basic material resources for survival. However, when we seek material achievements, we pursue things that are not necessities but are desirables. Material things seem desirable not because they are innately related with us, but because they are culturally glamorized, thereby inflaming our craving for them. The hollowness of this glamorization is exposed when we achieve the glamorized objects and find that they don’t offer any lasting satisfaction. They offer just a bit of fleeting titillation that is not worth the prolonged labor needed to attain them. Moreover, because all material things are external to us, they don’t stay with us for long; what is gained externally is lost due to external upheavals.

In contrast, spirituality offers us a lasting reward because it centers not on gaining something external but on regaining something internal. Lying dormant within us is the latent potential to love Krishna and love all living beings in relationship with him. As this love is intrinsic to us, it can never be taken away from us – unless, of course, we choose to neglect and forget it, as we have presently. Fortunately, all of us have the power to recollect our relationship with Krishna and regain the treasure of love for him.

Once we regain that treasure, it will never be lost again; the ultimate fulfillment will be ours for the rest of eternity.


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