Vedantic Wednesday: Sense and Sensibility

Last week we had seen that irrespective of our form, our human body will go essentially through six stage from conception to decay.  But we get so attached to it through all the stages. It is ignorance leads the individual to think that he / she is the body. This attachment to the gross body makes the individual to indulge in sensory enjoyments.

Sankaracarya makes a strong reference to man’s indulgence in sensory pleasures in his work titled ‘Vivekacudamani’.Here in one of the verses he states that the deer, the elephant, the moth, the fish, and the honey bee; all fall to death because of their strong attachment to the pleasures of one or more of their sense organs. In the case of the deer it is the sweet music that it loves to hear, in the case of the elephant, it is their rubbing of their bodies during the mating season, in the case of the moth, it is the attraction to the fire, in the case of the fish it is the gluttony and in case of the honey-bee it is the sweet honey present in the flower that it hoards, to be eventually stolen away. Sankaracarya asks a very strong question, saying that if this is the fate of the above animals when they are attached to one or more sense organs – what is the state of man, who is attached to all five sense organs?

This question when contemplated upon sounds scary on one hand and on the other hand it also highlights how we are wasting a great blessing of human life without pursuing the higher. Constant reflection on the futility of the sensual indulgence will provide enough reasons for dissuading us from getting caught in these pleasures, thereby making the path to spiritual evolution easier.


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