The subject matter of a recent talk by our Master Sage TGN was The Anatomy of Pleasure & Pain. The full text of the original Talk in Tamil is available on MP3 CD released by the Foundation. We give below a summary of the Talk.
When we drive a car or a two-wheeler the energy for our onward propulsion is derived from petrol in the tank which happens to be the fuel in this case. Another example: We go to a supermarket to make purchases. There we fill a basket with the commodities but can you simply walk away with the collection, Sirs? No, you have to stop at the counter, pay the bill for what you are taking and then only you will be allowed to leave the premises. Likewise, for any pleasure-enjoyment by us some fuel has to be expended, some price paid. The fuel in this case is your life-energy held in store in the physical system. The stock is always in a state of flux for we are drawing from it constantly for our day-to-day activities. The main sources of supply are the food we consume and the Universal energy around us. Depending on our age and health our physical system can only hold a specific quantity of the life-energy at any given moment. If the rate of expenditure exceeds that of supply there will be a drop in the stock which would be an experience of Pain.
Fulfilling a need is also experienced as a Pleasure by the mind. When you are hungry, food is required to balance the need. The taste buds in the tongue experience pleasure when you swallow the food. AdiSankara says hunger itself is a pain, the medicine for which is food. For a headache, which comes to you once in three months or so, don’t you swallow an analgesic tablet? Hunger is a pain that arises every three hours and food is only a medicine. AdiSankara says that should all be your connection with the food you consume. Who asked you to develop attachment for it?
Pleasure would remain pleasure if you are conscious of this principle. J.Krishnamurti said, “A life was given to you, the most precious thing possible. And what have you done with it, you have divided it; you have distorted it.”
This wisdom is also contained in the works of the Sages of TamilNadu. According to Avvaiyar, the Sage-Poetess, if you squander the capital, you come into grief is a certainty. Tiruvalluvar says that a sensible person would not risk his capital for the sake of anticipated gain.
Preachers who sermonise ‘Avoid pleasure-seeking’ are not being practicable nor are they speaking from direct experience. What you should do is to be in a state of Awareness while enjoying any pleasure. Subramania Bharati says that Sahadevan of the Pandavas adopted this principle in life and hence he was self-sufficient and confident all through.
- Excerpt from Sage TGN’s Talk on ‘Pleasure & Pain’