18.45 – Ending the perpetual u-turns in our quest for happiness
We sometimes strive for spiritual enjoyment and sometimes indulge in material enjoyment. Thus, we keep taking perpetual u-turns in our quest for happiness.
To end such u-turns, we need to shift our focus in spiritual life from enjoyment to treatment and engagement.
Treatment: From the spiritual perspective, we are presently sick. Just as jaundice makes a patient incapable of relishing sweet foods like sugarcane juice, material conditionings make us incapable of relishing the sweetness inherent in devotional service to Krishna. But just as drinking sugarcane juice cures jaundice, devotional service cures our conditionings. So, we need to bear in mind that presently devotional service is not for enjoyment but for treatment. This conviction will empower us to stick to core devotional activities like chanting that focus on the remembrance of Krishna and so are central to our recovery – even if they don’t seem relishable.
Engagement: Of course, we can’t live without happiness forever, no matter how valid the cause. Recognizing this, devotional culture offers us various engagements that give us a mix of material-spiritual satisfaction while keeping us on the treatment track. When we taste delicious prasad, delight in melodious spiritual music or, most importantly, do the services we like to do, we may enjoy them at the material level. Nonetheless, they keep us within the ambit of devotional service and give us the necessary happiness so that we can continue the main treatment. The Bhagavad-gita points to this kind of engagement when it (18.45) states that by working according to our nature, we can attain life’s supreme perfection.
Thus, by persevering with core devotional activities for the sake of treatment even if they are not relishable and practically engaging ourselves in agreeable services within the devotional ambit, we can make our spiritual journey steady.