Gita Daily Readings

9th December
Chapter
XVIII: 37-39
That which is like poison at first but in the end like nectar - that pleasure is declared to be sattvika, born of the purity of one's own mind due to self-realization.

That pleasure which arises from the contact of the sense organs with the objects, which is at first like nectar, and in the end like poison - that is declared to be rajasa.

That pleasure which at first and in the sequel is delusive of the self, arising from sleep, indolence and heedlessness - that pleasure is declared to be tamasa.

Commentary

There is a declaration in the Upanishads that all the pleasures of this universe are a drop in the ocean of bliss that is God.

Yet, tamasa pleasure is "delusive of the self," i.e. it prevents us from arriving at our destination - that bliss which is the essential nature of the self. Like smoke which compels us to close our eyes and thus prevents us from utilizing the light and heat also generated by fire, tamasa pleasure blinds our vision to the light of truth and to the energy within us which could be put to good use.

Rajasa pleasure is all that falls under the heading of "happiness" in the civilized man's dictionary - wife, children, property, position in society, good food and drink, amusements and pastimes. These are all better than tamasa pleasure, because they give us temporary pleasure. The saving feature here is the impermanence of this pleasure, which might awaken an intelligent man to look for its sattvika counterpart. The unintelligent man, however, might switch from one type of rajasa-pleasure to another and discover the truth about them too late.

It is difficult for embodied beings to be completely free from the taint of rajasa pleasure.  Even in the seeker, the taste for pleasure remains long after he has begun to restrain the senses.  The recognition of true sattvika pleasure (bliss of self-absorption) is the fruit or reward of self-realization.  That alone is sattvika pleasure which is born of, leads to and enables us to remain established in the self.

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