05.22 – The body is a visa to pleasure, not a passport
Many people imagine that the body is the gateway to pleasure, as is often depicted in novels and movies.
Pleasure is not our native country, not our normal condition. Miseries from the body-mind complex, the social circle and the environment attack us repeatedly, if not constantly. Just as residents of a troubled country look for a gateway to a better land, we look for a gateway to pleasure. That gateway, the media makes us believe, is the body.
However, the body is at best a visa, never a passport. Just as a visa gives us opportunity to stay in a foreign country, the body gives us opportunity to experience pleasure at the material level of reality that is foreign to us as souls. Just as a visa allows us to stay only temporarily in a foreign country, the body allows us to enjoy pleasure only temporarily – only in youth and even then for a few moments at a time. Those few moments are preceded and succeeded by hours and years of craving that are often nothing but torment unrelenting. And as the body ages, its capacity to enjoy declines and dies, leaving us vulnerable to misery due to various ever-worsening diseases. As the visa expires, we are evicted from the fantasized pleasure-land into a nightmarish misery-land.
The Bhagavad-gita (05.22) cautions us about this visa-like nature of bodily pleasures by stating that they have a beginning and an end – and that they ultimately breed misery.
Thankfully, we don’t have to be trapped forever in misery-land. The real passport to get out of it is devotion. By using the body as a tool to render devotional service to Krishna, we can raise ourselves to the spiritual level of reality where bliss eternal awaits us.
05.22 – An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.