05.21 – We can’t reach new planets without leaving the earth
The prospect of traveling to new planets can be both stimulating and unnerving: stimulating because of the excitement of reaching uncharted territory, and unnerving because of the anxiety of leaving the familiarity and security of earth. Only those courageous enough to subordinate their anxiety to their excitement can become space explorers.
The same principle applies to our spiritual journey too. It can be stimulating because of the excitement of relishing new spiritual experiences, and unnerving because of the anxiety of leaving familiar sensual pleasures. Only those courageous enough to subordinate their material anxiety to their spiritual excitement can become inner explorers.
The Bhagavad-gita urges us to become such fearless adventurers when it states (05.21) that those who detach themselves from external pleasures and concentrate on inner joys gradually relish unending happiness.
This verse also points to the key additional advantage of spiritual exploration: the results are everlasting, which contrasts dramatically with the temporary results of material exploration.
Gita wisdom further reminds us that the security of the familiar material level is an illusion – and a treacherous illusion at that. The familiar material pleasures will not only end with the passage of time, but will also be replaced by pains as the body succumbs inexorably to disease, old age and finally death. That’s why living at the material level is far riskier than taking off towards the spiritual level.
Gita wisdom further decreases the takeoff risk by providing us a sturdy and trustworthy spacecraft: the form of the time-tested process of devotional service. All we need to board this spacecraft is practice devotional service wholeheartedly. And once we take-off, spiritual happiness doesn’t remain a distant destination but becomes an ongoing experience that helps us forget what we are leaving and relish what we are getting.