16.09 – Emptiness, Loneliness, Pointlessness
The religion of fanatical materialism is sweeping across the entire world.
No doubt, materialism always had adherents throughout history. But what is alarming about modern materialism is its aggressive demand for exclusive devotion. In the past, materialism was integrated into a worldview that had respectable place for morality, relationships, tradition and God. But today’s materialism unabashedly lays down the commandment: “Thou shall worship no gods other than me.”
Obeying its order, we cast aside everything else to worship on the altar of materialism.
Morality? “Who cares? Just don’t get caught”
Relationships? “Just give quality time.”
Tradition? “Does it matter?”
God? “No time; no need.”
In fact, fanatical materialism strips away from us even our very identity as human beings. It indoctrinates us into believing that we are meant to be producers and consumers. The more we produce and consume, the more it anoints us as its advanced devotees.
What is the reward awaiting these advanced devotees?
Emptiness, loneliness, pointlessness.
Emptiness: An inner void that doesn’t get filled, no matter how much we fill our bank accounts with money and our houses with gadgets.
Loneliness: A haunting feeling of being unloved and unmoved no matter how much we use others as sources of pleasurable physical sensations.
Pointlessness: A tiresome ennui pervades us as we experience how becoming better producers and consumers is unending and unfulfilling.
The Bhagavad-gita alerts us to this fate by stating (16.09) that those who embrace such fanatical materialism lose their own souls and wreck the whole world.
Gita wisdom frees us from the shackles of materialism by explaining our identity as spiritual beings and revealing the fulfilling life that beckons us at the spiritual level in loving service to Krishna. By putting materialism in its proper place, we can reclaim our humanity and our spirituality – and thereby attain lasting fulfillment.