Why should we focus more on satisfying the soul than on satisfying the body?
Transcriber: Sharan Shetty
Question: Why should we focus more on satisfying the soul than the body?
Answer: Satisfying the body is something we will naturally do – we will eat, wear good clothes etc. We are driven towards satisfying the body by our very need for survival, but our soul is something that we tend to neglect. When body is dissatisfied, we feel the dissatisfaction, but we also know the solution. For example, when hungry we may feel the pangs of hunger, but we also know that eating food will mitigate the hunger.
On the other hand, when we are spiritually unnourished, we feel dissatisfied, but unfortunately, we misdiagnose the cause of dissatisfaction. Rather than recognising that the soul is dissatisfied we try to change things externally – eat more, enjoy more, watch more movies, go out etc. Since we misdiagnose the cause of our dissatisfaction, our efforts in gaining satisfaction go in vain.
What does it mean to satisfy the soul? The soul is a part of God and the soul longs for love. If the finger tries to enjoy a sweet independently by its function of touching the sweet, squeezing the sweet, will there be any pleasure? However, if the finger decides to co-operate with the body and carry out its function of bringing the sweet to the mouth, then doing so finger will get required nourishment for which it longs. Similarly, we have our longing to love which comes from our spiritual essence, the soul. When we try to satisfy it independently by doing various things in the world, it is like the finger trying to enjoy the sweet independently. When we direct our longing for love towards God, towards Krishna, and use our abilities and talents in his service then by such act, we connect with Krishna and experience spiritual, non-material happiness. Metaphorically speaking, the finger offers the sweet to the stomach and by this the nourishment comes back to it.
It is a verifiable fact of devotional mysticism that when we strive to love and serve Krishna, we get non-material enrichment. When we are spiritually satisfied, we paradoxically learn to take better care of our body. One may think, “I will enjoy by eating a lot”, but by doing so they may eventually spoil their health due to over-eating. If one eats with a restless and agitated mind, then even while eating good delicacies he may not enjoy the pleasure. However, if we are spiritually satisfied by our connection with God, then we will not only eat the right amount but will eat the delicacy peacefully and relish it.
Rather than thinking of spiritual and bodily satisfactions as contradictory we can see them as complimentary, provided we give spiritual satisfaction due priority. Once we are spiritually satisfied and harmonised, then we will be able to satisfy ourselves bodily also.
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