Human beings, blessed with superior intelligence and developed consciousness, have always sought to achieve the highest in any field of activity . Anyone who wants to scale the highest mountain knows where it is located. The same should be true in the matter of seeking pleasures. But, do most people really know what this highest pleasure is ?
Unfortunately, the answer is in the negative. lt is often assumed that sexual gratification in its various forms – physical, mental, visual, verbal, etc. - provide the ultimate pleasures. Most human beings are conditioned to think this way. Such a person feels cheated if he does not obtain some kind of sexual pleasure. Human beings are conditioned to think they are the ultimate enjoyers of all the bounties of the world. In such conditioning, it is hard for most people to imagine that higher pleasures are indeed possible.
Similarly, one is also conditioned to the resultant suffering : that is, the price one has to pay to obtain sexual pleasures. If one marries only for such pleasure, then one soon realize that marriage is a responsibility and children are troublesome to bring up. Lust is not a friend of human beings. Lord Krishna warns : "lt is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transforms into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world" (3.37). We are actually befriending an enemy, who is never satisfied. From Bhagavad-Geeta we learn : "Thus, the wise living entity's pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and burns like fire" (3.39). “There are three gates leading to hell - lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to degradation of the soul" (16.21).
One can learn from the scriptures that a pure soul has no need for sex pleasure; it is only a demand of the body. They also tell that there are higher pleasures, such as those derived from singing bhajans, dancing ecstatically, association of devotees of God, hearing about God's pastimes, remembering many favours God is always doing for us, etc. One may challenge such an assertion in absence of personally experiencing these pleasures, since such pleasures are only available to the souls which have purified themselves. The scriptures have information about the processes for purification as they do even about the bodily pleasures, including sexual pleasures. Like one can easily experience bodily pleasures, one can also enjoy the higher pleasures of the soul by sincerely practicing the instructions of the scriptures. Rejecting them as make-believe is not wise since the same scriptures cannot be right in one case and false in another.
One can understand these different pleasures in another way. Bodily pleasures are gross and the pleasures of the soul are subtle. Bodily pleasures are pro-active while the higher pleasures are internal. "One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices within, and whose aim is inward is the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately attains the Supreme" (5.24). One can decide for oneself about his superiority over the other by experiencing both types of pleasures. Lord Krishna claims : “The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense enjoyment remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness" (2.59).
The scriptures don't reject anything material. They only advise using them as per bodily requirements. The Lord’s devotees, therefore, have no hesitation in using modern facilities, such as the internet, planes, etc, but strictly for bodily requirements. Everything that has been created is God's energy, and should only be used in relation to Him. In the end, bodily sense gratification is a pleasure alright but not the ultimate pleasure. Therefore, an intelligent person should not settle for less, especially since such pleasures have a heavy price tag attached to them. Bodily pleasures are temporary while spiritual pleasures are eternal. Spiritual pleasures give higher benefits. It is an easy choice to make if one knows the overall picture. Let us have faith in God's words and experience bliss.