04.38 – Seek pleasure in the pursuit of meaning, not meaning in the pursuit of pleasure
Most people live caught up in the pursuit of worldly pleasures. As all such pleasures are destroyed by death, they assume that life has no ultimate meaning. “Better enjoy while you can,” they rationalize, and bury themselves in the pursuit of worldly pleasures. Till death buries them.
The problem with their rationalization is that it defines pleasure as material pleasure. Due to such a limited conception of pleasure, their search for meaning begins and ends in a meaningless chase for material pleasure.
To avoid such a tragic fate, we need to put meaning before pleasure, not pleasure before meaning. This means that we put aside our preconceived definitions of pleasure, understand open-mindedly the meaning of life and seek pleasure therein.
Gita wisdom explains that life is meant for eternal spiritual love with the all-attractive supreme person, Krishna. We don’t have to accept this meaning of life on faith alone; we can vindicate it by inference and experience.
Inference: By analyzing our hankering for immortality despite having mortal bodies, we can infer that we are actually immortal beings. By observing the delicate and intricate design that pervades nature, we can infer the existence of an intelligent and benevolent designer. By understanding how love is our innermost longing, we can infer that we will find lasting fulfillment by directing that love towards an eternal object. Inferences like these are pieces of the cosmic jigsaw puzzle. The meaning of life provided by Gita wisdom coherently integrates these pieces in a majestic weltanschauung.
Experience: The process of devotional service enables us to live according to this meaning of life and experientially vindicate it. The Bhagavad-gita (04.38) assures that when we live in the light of knowledge, we gradually relish a higher joy – indeed life’s highest joy.