Pleasure is defined in several ways, but only one, that is the state of feeling, must be felt by us to be truly happy, writes AJIT KUMAR BISHNOI
Whether we admit or not, we live mainly to get pleasures. Pleasures are classified mainly in two ways. These are in the three modes or beyond and whether gross or subtle or superior. I will begin with the classification according to the three modes. These are: goodness passion and darkness. Examples of pleasures under these modes will clarify their differences and advisability quite adequately. Beginning with the mode of goodness, these are my favourite activities? I love to appreciate others, especially my grandchildren; I look for any good excuse. Eating tasty foods and listening to good music comes next. In these days of forced isolation, I enjoy the rich green the nature has blessed us with due to reduced pollution levels. Playing sports was my favourite activity. I found the experience very satisfying.
The mode of passion allows us some pleasures. Creatively is high on my list. As I spend a lot of time alone with only God for my company, I try to manage my life with small innovations. Reading literature is next on my list. In my case, I love The Gita. Good sleep makes me feel very good. Feeding birds in my balcony by leaving biscuit pieces in an earthen pot makes me feel very good. I enjoy the company of the birds.
The pleasures, which are in the mode of darkness, should be kept away from self; I will not go anywhere near them. Illicit sex destroys families; the momentary pleasure exacts a very heavy price. Eating meats, which is very much in news because of the possibility of some meat being the origin of the Coronavirus pandemic, should be restricted in any case if we wish to save our forests. Growing grains in order to obtain one fifth its weight in meat makes zero sense to me. Gambling is a pleasure best avoided. Are we not trying to grab someone’s money? Cruelty is a behaviour not fit for human beings. And the last example is drinking, which ruins family finances and health; covers the conscience temporarily.
Now let me turn to examples of gross and subtle pleasures. Starting with gross ones, preaching to devotees pleases the Lord greatly. (The Gita 18.68-69) Doing ‘satsang’ in the company of spiritually-minded people is highly beneficial. Lots of what I have learned is in the company of my learned friend Mr. Jha. Making sacrifice like parents do all the time; don’t they put the needs of their children about theirs? Similarly, ‘paropakar’, which is doing good deeds keeps the world going. The last example is personal, that is selling our book in World Book-Fairs. I have picked out five examples of subtle pleasures. These are: the feeling of purity, pride in being dutiful/useful, control over the mind and the senses, love from others and trust of others.
Let me end the article with five examples of beyond the modes or superior pleasures. At the top of the list are responses from God, which devotees receive. It will be almost impossible to go on the ‘tapasya’ path without adequate encouragement from God. He is extremely kind to me; invariably, I get daily communication from my master. Similar is my Lord’s mercy in empowering me to write spiritual texts; I frequently get surprised by what has been written after I finish. Peacefulness must be part of the superior pleasures, because without peace there is no bliss — the ultimate ‘sukha’ (pleasures). (2.66) The last example is of making progress of the spiritual kind, which continues in future lives. (6.43-45)
I hope this covering of wide spectrum of pleasures will bring clarity about them, and the false nation that sense pleasures are the only ones can be given up. Superior pleasures are available and of many kinds. Then, why seek lower ones, many of them whom bring negative results?
Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at email@example.com