05.23 – Pass the test, get the taste
We all long for happiness.
And millions of things in this world promise us happiness. But none of them can provide lasting happiness because none of them are themselves lasting.
Gita wisdom informs us that lasting happiness can be found only in relationship with a lasting object and offers us the best among all lasting objects, Krishna. When we understand this intellectually, we try to direct our love towards Krishna. Still, worldly objects keep pulling us. The pleasures that they have provided us seem so real, whereas the joys that we will get in spiritual life seem so remote.
At such times, we need to see this inner tug-of-war as a test. The Bhagavad-gita (05.23) assures that those who can tolerate the urges of lust and anger gain happiness. Students who pass a test get promoted to a higher standard in the school. Similarly, when we turn away from worldly pleasures and thereby pass the test, we get promoted to a higher standard of devotion, wherein we relish the higher taste – greater, deeper, richer spiritual happiness.
Enterprising students see the test not as a burden but as an opportunity. Similarly, we can see the tests created by tempting situations not as a burden but as an opportunity. Instead of resenting that we have to struggle for saying no to temptations, we can rejoice how they provide us a tangible way of saying yes to Krishna.
Of course, we don’t have to deliberately expose ourselves to temptation because there’s no guarantee that we will pass the test. More importantly, a far better opportunity to say yes to Krishna is provided by direct devotional activities. By wholeheartedly engaging in such activities and seeing as tests whatever temptations confront us during our devotional engagements, we can march safely and swiftly towards the supreme taste.
Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world.