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Speaker: What is sense gratification?
There are these senses; Eyes, Ears and all. Sense gratification is to provide the senses with what pleases them. The eyes like to look at pleasing figures, forms. The ears want to hear what they are programmed to be pleased with. The tongue wants to taste something that it likes. That is sense gratification. Right?
The question is philosophers, scriptures they all seem to be against sense gratification. And in general, it is related that sense gratification and indulgence in sex, in all kinds of pleasing and gratifying activities, they all go together. So in general it is assumed that sense gratification is a thing to be condemned. But the questioner is saying that I want sense gratification.
Sense gratification is not an issue, not at all. It is not an issue at all because senses are anyways looking at the beautiful. You want sense gratification only when you assume that they are not being gratified. Go into this.
To want something is a sure proof that you do not feel that you already have that thing, right? When do you want something? It is when you believe that you do not have it already,that there is something missing! When you feel that something is missing, you want it, right?
This wanting is at the core of all suffering.Wanting in itself is not bad at all. Please understand this. Wanting is just a system. The real disease is the assumption is that I don’t have it. We have been told by wise men, by holy books that there is something wrong with desire, with wants. But desires and wants are products of something else. What is that something else? That something else is the assumption, is the belief that I lack in something. Do you understand this?
Whatever you want to become, whatever you want to achieve, the very energy for that, the very force for that, the very inclination for that arises from the assumption, ‘I am Incomplete’. That there is something missing in me. That I am inadequate. Are you getting this? My life is not good right now. When I will become that then I will be alright. When I will have X amount of money, then I will feel good, complete. When I will have a nice spouse or a good house…..well they rhyme together (smiles). A nice spouse and a good house! Good.
So when I will have a nice spouse and a good house, then I will feel alright about me. Right now, I don’t have a right to feel good. This assumption that there is something missing in me, this makes life hell. You are all the time burdened under this thought and most of us feel that way. Anybody who wants to achieve, who hopes to become, is the deeply holding that assumption. What assumption?
A student: That I do not have this.
Speaker: That I do not have this. That I am lacking something. And the more you feel inadequate, the more ambitious you are. Yes! The bigger is the size of the hole here, the fiercer is the fire. And you call them driven people. You say these are the really motivated ones. They are not the motivated ones, they are the ones who are really complexed; who are all the time feeling that I am not good enough. And billions of rupees can not fill that hole. Whatever you acquire, whatever you achieve can not fill the hole. Same is sense gratification.
The ears are always listening, the eyes are always receiving and when I say ears, I mean ears plus mind because the mind in itself is a sense. When I say eyes, I mean eyes plus mind. When I say touch, I mean touch and what is happening in the mind. It is because I do not see the beautiful in the ordinary, in the common place. That I am always aiming for something that is more pleasing to the senses. I will never visit the park near my home but I will say that I want to go to the hills because there are lot of trees there. And there are enough number of trees in the park near my home as well. You do not visit that. You never see the beauty of the ordinary tree in your own backyard. But what do you say? You say that tree over there is special. Alright, that might be a bigger tree, that might be a different species.
Have you seen how people keep pets? There are so many dogs on the roads. Hmmm…small puppies that often get killed under the tyre of vehicles and now that the winter is approaching, they will also die because of low temperature. What will you do? You will go and you will bring some exotic specie just because it looks more beautiful. And then you will say that I am an animal lover. And you will display all kind of affection to that exotic puppy. While at that very moment tens of puppies would be shivering in the cold, right outside your door. And you are an animal lover! And you have so much concern for the puppy! And you are giving it milk, bread and what not! And you are giving it a nice little sweater! And you are taking pictures and putting them on Facebook and everybody who comes to your house, you are so fondly showing, see the puppy. And you move out and there is that street dog there. Equally small puppy and you kick it away. Shhh….dirty…do not touch me!
This is sense gratification; just because it is looking pleasing to the eye, the sense. Now you tell me that if you can not see the beauty in an ordinary puppy, can you really see the beauty in an exotic puppy? Can you? You can not see the beauty of an ordinary tree in your backyard, in the park near your home; can you really enjoy the beauty of the forest and the hills? This is sense gratification. It has nothing to do with the real. It has the thing to do with beauty. It has only to do with quantity. It has only to do with images. You have been told that such images are beautiful and you are running after them. And it goes to such an extent that all our love is actually just sense gratification. What do you think that you really love somebody? Look at all these couples going around. They look very loving! Holding hands; embracing each other; saying nice things to each other; eating from the same plate; sleeping in the same bed. I do not know what all they share! Probably toothpaste, toothbrush!
Something happens to the face of the girl or the boy. Will the relation remain the same? If the face gets totally distorted, boy will run away. And the night he opens his eyes and looks at her, he will scream out of the bed.
Call the police may be. Aliens have attacked my home, my bedroom.
This love is nothing but sense gratification. Her face looks good, her body looks good. The day the face is gone, everything is gone. But you tell this strongly that this real love. Real love, really?
Even mothers have known to do that. There would be two kids and one looks more beautiful, one is more shapely, more lively. This one takes more of the mother’s affection and the other one feels deprived. Fathers have known to be more fond of daughters. Is that not so? All this is just sense gratification. It sounds crude but yes, its the male ‘I’ that is always more fond of a female face, even if the face is of the daughter. Our love, our relationship what do we want except sense gratification. Big; more pleasing! and we also label that with very nice words. Reality, Truth, Beauty, Love etc.
Look at all this what you call as massive hotels, five stars and seven stars. Do they really serve you food which is actually very different from the food that you are served in an ordinary joint? There are all these small eateries by the highway, close by. Is the food served in a seven star really very different from the food served here? But you are prepared to pay 200 times the amount. Because things look beautiful there. And that is not real beauty, mind you. Beauty is not what attracts eye. But there you will have very clean floors, things will be nice and there would be nice chandeliers, lights, walls and decorations, all kind of ornamentation. And you are prepared to pay anything for that. For what? For something that pleases the eyes. Eye candy! And that is also the status of our arts.
Do you know what happens in a cinema hall? Your senses are totally failed up. This screen is so large. The eye can see nothing but the screen. That is the difference between the TV screen and the cinema screen. There the eyes can see nothing except the screen, so large. The sense is being completely dominated. And the sound. Such a booming sound that you can hear nothing else. Not even the sound of your own heart beating. Your senses are totally occupied. And you feel, wow! Without realizing that what is being done to you. Just the eyes and ears are being pleased. I am pretty sure tomorrow; they will have means by which they will be able to please other senses as well in the cinema hall. So the heroine will walk in and there will be some outlet in the cinema hall which will exude a particular aroma, some scent. So she comes in and your nose starts feeling, nice.
And you like the movie all the more.
Do you see how you flog after 3D movies? What is so special about a 3D movie? It pleases the eyes all the more. And you feel as if the whole thing is right there. That is what all the technology is for. To please the senses. Tomorrow they will also include the sense of touch. So you won’t only see a movie but you will be able to touch the movie. Its happening, you are able to touch. And then you won’t need anything real. All you will need is a movie, as it is pleasing all the senses. Ask yourself, whatever I say about anything, how much of that has to do with its reality and how much of that has to do with its appearance. Whatever has to do with appearance is sense gratification.
Haven’t you seen how absolutely ridiculous lyrics of songs are passed of along with over powering music? Some of these songs that you really like, if you remove the music part and just listen to the lyrics or just read the lyrics you will say, ‘what nonsense’. But you dance to the tunes of that very song purely because of the music. And the music is over powering. The music takes you away from the lyrics. You can’t even pay attention to what is being said and what is being said is absolutely stupid. Not only stupid, its poisonous.
But you will dance to the tunes of that song because it is pleasing to the ear. And you do not even know what is pleasing to the ear, why it is pleasing to the ear. It is pleasing to the ear because the ear has been trained in that way, the eyes have been trained in that way. A particular taste has been given to them. The eyes have become accustomed to something, just as the tongue acquires a taste for something, right? And then you get something else to eat and you don’t like it.
There are certain people who are very fond of spicy meals. You give them something bland, they do not enjoy it. Now there is nothing special about something spicy but its just that they are being conditioned to eat lot of spicy stuff, right? Similarly our eyes have been conditioned to look at a particular kind of face and say it is beautiful. Our ears they have been so corrupted that they can not enjoy the music of silence. All they can enjoy is loudness, harshness. There basic nature has been taken away from them. You do not need to need to gratify the senses. You started with that, right? Sense gratification is condemned because the senses are anyways all the time gratified provided you do not corrupt them. We said wanting something is proof that I do not…
A student: Have it.
Speaker:Senses are anyway all the time gratified. As you sit in front of me, you are beautiful. Why should I want somebody else to sit in front of me? The same truth that shines through anybody else shines through you also. Why should I want that a different face or a different body must be here? This wanting is the root problem.
Senses are anyway all the time gratified. You hear a sound and when you hear a sound you must know that all the sounds emanate from the same source and the source is silence. And the sense is gratified, already gratified. When I say sense, remember that sense plus mind. You do not need to go to special places. You do not need to look at fine pictures. You do not need to look at so called pretty faces. Every face is beautiful. The same beauty shines through every face.
The Indian mind has been conditioned to think of the white skin as especially beautiful; which is an absolutely stupid thing, a very racist thing. But that is what we have come to. So many companies manufacture toiletries and whitening creams. They dare to come on TV and say you know, use this and your skin will become fair. They will not be able to say that in many other countries. Because the population is aware and educated and will say, ‘What are you telling us? Are you saying that being dark is some sort of crime?’ But in India, they get away with saying absolutely ridiculous things. Use this and your skin will become fair and they use the use such creams and everything and such treatments and cosmetics are increasing by the day.
Because our mind has been conditioned to think that only one color is alright, fair. And that to if you investigate you will come to know where that is coming from. This was not a land that worshiped any particular color. Even your gods and incarnations, they have been dark colored. Krishna ,for example! But because of being colonized by white people for very long, the thought that there is something special about the white skin, the thought has dominated our minds now. So much so that if European people come in front you, you will develop a fondness towards them. If there is a European girl, some of you might say that I have fallen in love with her.
And if African girls come more here, chances are howsoever nice she may be, you will not fall in love. That same girl might be considered very nice in her own country. But you will not have fall in love with her. Do you see the depth of our conditioning? And do you see the absolute ridiculousness of our love?
When you say I have fallen in love its just like a computer program saying I have fallen in love. You are programmed to fall in love with only this person. How can anybody take your love seriously? How can you take your love seriously? How can she take your love seriously? Tomorrow something changes in her complexion and you will love her no more.
But going beyond the senses is to go into reality. Only the one who can appreciate, who can understand that there is something beyond what the eyes can see and beyond the ears can hear, only he will say that I do not need sense gratification. The senses are already gratified. There is no desire to further gratify them. Only he can say that.
Nobody else! And that requires a very sharp, a very intelligent mind. A very, very intelligent mind. A mind that is not easily fooled. A mind that has not been numbed down by lots of load of influences. It requires that kind of a mind.
Next time you go to purchase something and a particular dress appeals to you, ask yourself why exactly this dress is appealing to me? And you will see the entire play of sense gratification. The more you en quire, the more you will laugh. Next time a particular color, a particular face, a particular smells appeals to you, ask yourself what is happening. Do not get drawn towards it and you will only discover that you are conditioned.
And when you discover that all this is just the conditioning of the mind then there is great freedom. You are no more a slave of colors, of sounds, of touch, of smell of people. You are no more a slave. You are very-very free. You know that all these attractions are just programming. There is nothing to them. They are just slavery of mind. Why do I like a particular brand? Because I am programmed! Why do I like a particular food? Because I am programmed! Why do I like a particular flower? Because I am programmed! And that does not mean that you will not like anything.
Then everything will be beautiful. Then you won’t have to run to the hills. Then you won’t have to hunt for a specific person. Then life in its totality is beautiful. Then you do not have to go to worship a specific god in a specific temple. Then you can worship your neighbor. Then you can touch the feet of your own friend. Life in its completeness opens up. You are no more selective, you no more choosy. You won’t say this is nice and this is ugly; I like to hear this and I do not like to hear this; I like to touch this and I do not like to touch this.
Everything is nice and divine and full. And there is no need to go and achieve the beautiful. The beautiful is right there in front of you. This moment is beautiful. You are beautiful. Your neighbor is beautiful. Your parents are beautiful. Every single blade of grass is beautiful. The brick is beautiful, the dog is beautiful. Take away sense gratification and there is nothing except beauty. Beauty alone exists. And you are in heaven! Without dying! Everything is beautiful.
Are you getting it?
All students: Yes sir.
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: Sense gratification is lack of gratitude for the one beyond the senses || Acharya Prashant (2013)
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