18.37 – Conviction and purification take us from the poison to the nectar
As devotees who wish to rise from the material level to the spiritual level, we often face the question, “How do I sustain myself during the phase when I have to abstain from material enjoyment but can’t yet experience spiritual fulfillment?”
The Bhagavad-gita (18.37) acknowledges that this initial phase is like poison but reassures us that we will relish nectar permanently on reaching the spiritual level. Gita wisdom informs us that we can tolerate the poison and strive for the nectar by conviction and purification.
Conviction: Intellectual conviction helps us understand that material enjoyment being temporary is undesirable, whereas spiritual fulfillment being eternal is eminently desirable. By thus facilitating us to see beyond appearances to consequences, conviction enables us to stay away from anti-devotional material indulgences. It also empowers us to stay satisfied with whatever spiritual happiness is available presently and persevere optimistically on the spiritual path, knowing that happiness far greater than what we have given up awaits us ahead. To deepen our conviction, we need to study scriptures scrutinizingly and ponder their teachings introspectively.
Purification: As souls, spiritual fulfillment is natural and material enjoyment is unnatural for us. But when we are covered by impurities like lust, anger and greed, our tastes become perverted and we start delighting in material enjoyment, although we don’t actually find it delightful. The more we become purified, the more our original taste gets restored. We start finding spiritual fulfillment to be familiar and natural, and material enjoyment to be alien and artificial. To become purified, we need to seriously cultivate remembrance of Krishna, who is supremely pure and whose contact is supremely purifying.
Thus, by conviction and purification, we can move from the initial poison to the eventual nectar.