WHY should we develop our Heart Space? – Part-4

However, when happiness becomes synonymous with the pursuit of sensory pleasures alone, it follows the law of diminishing returns. With each subsequent increase in indulgence, the pleasure derived from it diminishes, eventually leading to pain and dissatisfaction. For instance, if you are served a single gulab jamun (a syrupy Indian sweet), you may relish it. The second serving may bring additional pleasure, and perhaps after the fourth serving, you may declare that you’ve had enough. But if you were forced to consume more, each additional bite would become burdensome, and you would likely stop eating the sweet immediately.

However, a few days later, the craving may resurface with even greater intensity. Any pleasurable experience we enjoy tends to come back with stronger desires. Satisfying these cravings often requires struggling to obtain the necessary resources. As we indulge more, the eventual outcome is increased pain, as our bodies and senses have limited capacity to derive enjoyment from anything. Unfortunately, our desires do not diminish with age; instead, if we haven’t learned to sublimate them, they tend to grow stronger as we get older. Consequently, our lives can become more miserable than those of animals.

What sets us apart from animals?

While animals primarily operate based on their instinctual drives and survival instincts, humans have the capacity for higher understanding and spiritual realization. When we lack an understanding of our spiritual purpose and fail to aspire for a higher state of existence, we tend to oscillate between the pursuit of momentary pleasures and problem-solving, resulting in a tumultuous and unsettled life.

One significant distinction is our ability to transcend mere material desires and seek a deeper meaning to our existence. Animals are driven by basic instincts such as eating, sleeping, sex, and self-preservation (defence). However, humans, if properly guided, can rise above these primal instincts and explore higher dimensions of life.

If we closely observe animals, we can see that they live in a constant state of fear and struggle. For instance, consider a hen pecking at her food. She remains vigilant, constantly scanning her surroundings, wary of a potential threat from a lurking cat. Similarly, in the streets, we may witness dogs engaging in fights and pursuits to mate with a female. Humans, on the other hand, exhibit different behavior in these areas. When we eat, we don’t experience fear of being attacked, and in a civilized society, we don’t have other individuals fighting or lusting after our partners. Animals fulfill their basic needs in “nasty and unpleasant conditions,” as described by Srila Prabhupada in his book, Sri Ishopanishad.

“There are swine, dogs, camels, asses, etc., whose economic necessities are just as important to them as ours are to us, but the economic problems of these animals are solved only under nasty and unpleasant conditions. The human being is given all facilities for a comfortable life by the laws of nature because the human form of life is more important and valuable than animal life. Why is man given a better life than that of the swine and other animals? Why is a highly placed government servant given better facilities than those of an ordinary clerk? The answer is that a highly placed officer has to discharge duties of a higher nature. Similarly, the duties human beings have to perform are higher than those of animals, who are always engaged in simply feeding their hungry stomachs.” (Purport to Mantra 3)

To be continued…