15.10 – Blinded and addicted or illumined and liberated?
Suppose everyone in a country was addicted. With everyone suffering the pulls and falls of addiction, the addiction would seem normal. Because addicts frequently see others free from addiction, they remember that their addicted state is unnatural. Normal people don’t feel even the tug of the temptation that makes addicts dance like puppets. Seeing their freedom inspires addicts to break free.
Gita wisdom informs us that all of us are addicted – even if we may be free from what are normally considered addictions. We are all souls who are addicted to our material body and the sensual pleasures it promises. This material addiction is effected through the modes, as the Bhagavad-gita (15.10: gunanvitam) indicates. Due to the addiction, while living in the body, we undergo the threefold miseries: psychophysical disorders, relationship problems and environmental hazards. And at the time of death, we suffer the agony of forcible eviction from the body. This Gita verse points to these miseries (utramantam sthitam vapi), but then underscores that most of us are too deluded to recognize our sorry state (vimudha nanupashyanti).
Why are we so blinded?
Because we frequently don’t know that a state of freedom from material addiction exists and is attainable.
To illumine us, Gita wisdom introduces us to great saints free from addiction. And the living Gita tradition also provides us sterling contemporary practitioners who are either similarly free or are at least striving for freedom. By their association, we realize that the state of transcendence to material addiction is not as lofty and inaccessible as it seems initially. When our eyes become opened by knowledge (pashyanti jnana-chakshushah), we strive for freedom. By practicing devotional service diligently, we gradually relish higher spiritual fulfillment, and thereby break free from material addiction and its consequent suffering.