We Fail to Achieve Real Self-interest
Neither reading nor listening, however profuse, is really useful unless translated into action. An abstract thing will not yield satisfaction unless put into actual practice. The saints have told us so much, all to no purpose because we do not ponder over their preaching. They have with one voice affirmed that this human body is transient. And yet we continue to be attached to it; isn't this truly strange? If we do not believe in the saints' words, we should at least see what our own experience teaches us. The mundane-minded believe that all pleasure pertains to the body and the senses; but what does experience show? It is common knowledge that the young and the old, the pauper and the prince, everyone is struggling constantly to obtain happiness and peace of mind. We grow from childhood to youth, acquire education, find a job, earn money, marry and have a family; in other words, we strive for and usually get almost everything which we thought would make for happy contentedness; have we succeeded in the goal? It is true that leading family and, worldly life does need a certain degree of attachment to the body; but that does not mean that the entire life should be devoted to toiling for sensuous pleasures alone. This is not true self-interest; it is only catering to what, in reality, we are not for; what good can it bring to our Real Self when the body dies?
Those who only talk glibly but never act accordingly, come to ruin. It is necessary to abstain from talking so long as we feel we must talk. We should distinguish between liberty and licence. 'Liberty' has a sanctity, while 'licence' is ugly and profane. Strictly speaking, man has liberty only in respect of spiritual progress. In all other matters and those concerning the body, he is under various obligations and constraints; for instance, he has duties as a father, a husband, a son, etc. However, his supreme duty as a human is to attain Godhead. While attending to their respective duties most diligently at home or in their spheres of work, people should devote all the rest of their time to meditating on nama. In business, it is the net profit that we look for; similarly, the net profit of human life is the degree to which our attention is turned to God.
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