- Namita Purohit
- Life Stages
Why do spiritualists follow so many rules and regulations? Why make people feel guilty for doing ‘natural’ things? Aren’t such restrictions conservative and dogmatic? The simple fact is that restriction is not opposed to freedom. We have all experienced how exercising restraint can open up new realms of opportunity. Devotees of Krishna refrain from indulging in intoxication, meat eating, gambling, and illicit sexual activity. These are known as the four regulative principles of freedom. By resisting such temptations one can break free from the dictates of the mind and senses, and awaken deeper spiritual experiences.
The New York Stock Exchange is the biggest of its kind in the world and daily activities often reach fever-pitch. In the late 1960s, a few artful ‘yippies’ quietly climbed a vantage point overlooking the manic trading floor. They attracted everyone’s attention with a loud call and proceeded to shower fistfuls of fake dollar bills. When the individuals on the trading floor saw this astonishing sight a frantic scramble ensued. In a mad frenzy, they shrugged each other off to grab at the cash, carelessly leaving all their lucrative deals hanging. It was incredible! There was no financial benefit in their petty scramble, yet the mere sight of physical money completely captivated them. When they realized it was a trick they retreated back to their business in a desperate attempt to recoup their losses!
The comical Wall Street episode teaches us an age-old lesson: the world is full of temptations, allurements and a variety of attractive enticements that can never give us what we deeply desire.
Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment temptations are practically irresistible. We know it would be a mistake, but we don’t have the inner strength to say no. We may feel a short and immediate enjoyment but the net result of giving in to empty, insubstantial temptations is that we feel frustrated, angry, cheated, and disappointed with ourselves. Simultaneously, we neglect and damage our progressive path towards something more valuable, fulfilling and long-lasting. The necessity to forgo immediate pleasure in pursuance of something far greater holds true in every sphere of life – material or spiritual. To cultivate this discipline will COST you:
• Conviction – Be convinced of your spiritual goal and why it requires a certain discipline and self-restraint.
• Openness – Regardless of success or failure in following such principles, be open with a friend and seek their advice, support, guidance and feedback. Never lose hope.
• Safety – Consciously avoid activities, situations and people that may compromise your principles.
• Taste – Work hard to live the ‘better life’ and solidify your resolve by feeling the benefits of your restraint.