Whenever one thinks of pleasures - physical pleasures of various kinds - seeing, talking, touching, etc, readily come to the mind. No wonder people have aspired for such pleasures since time immemorial, even the achievers and successful people seek it.
Generally speaking, physical pleasures are considered the highest pleasures available to us in this material creation; one may feel almost entitled to them, having achieved success in some field. And, physical pleasures in this article means with other people, not with one’s life partner, which is not considered as exciting or pleasurable, not after sometime in any case.
Is this premise true? Are the sensual pleasures the best that are available? To get the answers, let us first understand what pleasure is. This word is defined as a state of being happy or satisfied - a thing that gives happiness or satisfaction.
Pleasures are of three levels: Those related to the senses, like eating a tasty meal; mind-related pleasures, like being elated; and those related to the soul, like peace, bliss and security. Obviously, the ones related to the soul are the highest.
Then how come physical pleasures, which relate to the senses, are so much more aspired for? There are two main reasons for it. Sensual pleasures are gross and can be experienced readily. Higher pleasures are subtle and require both greater application and sensitivity.
Shouldn’t one stop and consider as to how we can term something as the best, which brings reactions, as illicit behaviour does? Surely, we are not using the intelligence given to the human beings, if we do not care to look beyond physical pleasures.
How about considering these pleasures: Getting someone’s gratitude by helping; being appreciated for being good; getting recognition for doing something wonderful; having peaceful mind; feeling secure, which is possible after one has triumphed over fear; love and loyalty of others which are someone’s best attributes; or even sleeping soundly and getting up quite refreshed?
Let us consider the price one has to pay for extra-marital pleasures. The example of a former US President comes readily to the mind. One makes big progress and then sullies it by indulging in such things. Pleasures related to someone else’s body lowers and lower our morality and degrade us completely.
Would we like to be gawked at, spoken lustily or touched without us wanting to? Our bodies are very personal and not for public consumption. One can imagine what is being stated if we apply the same yardstick to others as we do to our own children.
Such sensuous pleasures can only bring reactions. Then, how can we term such pleasures as superior? And, how are we superior to animals, minus self-control? We need to restrict ourselves to our share in physical matters as stated in the Bhagavad-Gita: “I am passion in living entities according to the religious principles”. Such a person qualifies for god’s help, that is, one is likely to be rewarded by answers to one’s problems. One needs to distinguish between inanimate and animate objects. With animate, one needs to confine oneself to one’s own share.
Finally, one needs to remember that pleasures conveyed through feelings are superior; bodily pleasures generally spoil it. After all, what is higher: Loving or abusing?