09.21 – Seek not higher material happiness; seek higher than material happiness
We want to make things better, to make our life better, to make the world better. This urge for betterment drives our various activities – economical, social, cultural, political, and even religious.
Gita wisdom informs us that this urge is natural because we are meant for a better life than what we presently have. We are souls who are entitled for everlasting happiness at the spiritual level of reality.
As long as we remain uninformed about what’s available for us spiritually, we let our urge for betterment drive us towards better things at the material level. Today, people seek material improvement primarily through technology, hoping that its gadgets and comforts will make them happier. In a more religious culture, as existed in the past, people sought material progress by aspiring to go to heaven by performing elaborate religious rituals – that was their version of material technology.
Though some people today may not believe in heaven or in the rituals that take one there, the basic belief motivating both heaven-seekers and hi-tech paradise-seekers is the same. It’s the belief that better material things will make us happy. The Bhagavad-gita (09.21) exposes the falsity of that belief – even the best material things are temporary, so they can never make us truly, permanently happy.
Instead of seeking higher material happiness, Gita wisdom urges us to seek higher than material happiness. It informs us that we are entitled for far greater joys than even the best material pleasures. We can have the everlasting joys of eternal spiritual love if we just redirect our heart’s love from matter towards Krishna. When we concentrate our drive for betterment on increasing our devotion to Krishna, he reciprocates mercifully by granting us the best happiness forever. That’s alone fulfills our longing for betterment perfectly.
09.21 – When they have thus enjoyed vast heavenly sense pleasure and the results of their pious activities are exhausted, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus those who seek sense enjoyment by adhering to the principles of the three Vedas achieve only repeated birth and death.
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