ये हि संस्पर्शजा भोगा दु:खयोनय एव ते |
आद्यन्तवन्त: कौन्तेय न तेषु रमते बुध: || 22||
ye hi sansparśha-jā bhogā duḥkha-yonaya eva te
ādyantavantaḥ kaunteya na teṣhu ramate budhaḥ
ye—which; hi—verily; sansparśha-jāḥ—born of contact with the sense objects; bhogāḥ—pleasures; duḥkha—misery; yonayaḥ—source of; eva—verily; te—they are; ādya-antavantaḥ—having beginning and end; kaunteya—Arjun, the son of Kunti; na—never; teṣhu—in those; ramate—takes delight; budhaḥ—the wise
Those enjoyments born of external contacts are themselves indeed the source of pain only; they have a beginning and end; the wise do not rejoice in them.
The pleasure derived from sense objects are not real and enduring. They appear to give pleasure superficially, but they contain in themselves the seeds and germs of pain and sorrow. Therefore the Lord describes them as ‘dukhayonayah’, (the source of pain and sorrow). The elders say that the pleasure derived from outside is only a drop and from it arises suffering as huge as a mountain. Since these pleasures are short-lived and worthless, the wise have no relish for them.
The source of pain and sorrow: Sense – pleasures contain in their womb the seeds of sorrow and suffering. He who indulges in them should also suffer pain and sorrow arising from them. Man’s life is a bundle of pleasures and pains coming and going in an endless chain. These same pleasures have been many times in the previous births, and they will recur many times in the future also. When X rays are focussed over the body they penetrate the outer covering and photograph the inner contents of the body. So also, the purified intellect of the spiritual seeker is able to discover the unseen germs of pain and suffering in the womb of sense-pleasures. So he shuns them like poison. They do not rejoice in them (na teshu remate budhah). The ignorant man is attracted by the glitter and glamour of sense-pleasures, and fall into the pit of suffering. He is caught like the foolish fish that bites the flesh without seeing the hook behind.
From this verse, we understand two evils arising from material pleasures 1. They contain in immense the seeds of sorrow and suffering, 2. They are short-lived, unlike that joy which is found in Atma by the man of Knowledge. The Atmic joy has not the least taint of sorrow or pain in it. It is eternal. If sense-pleasure is like a lamp, the joy of Atma is like the sun. The lamp is blown out at any time but the Sun shines forever. If sense-pleasures are like a pool, the joy of Atma is like the ocean. The pool is dried up, but not the ocean. Knowing this, the wise do not go in for material pleasures. Such one is the knowing man (budhah.)
It is within the experience of every thoughtful man that the sense-pleasures corrupt the body and mind and lead to suffering and misery. The pleasures of drink, the ecstasies of lust, the adventures of gambling, the greed of accumulated wealth, the fear and glamour of position-have been the cause of ill-health, loss of vitality, bankruptcy, suicidal jealousies and hatred and all the restless passions of worldly people. Materialism, the clinging to the body as the be-all and end-all of life has destroyed mankind and deprived it of its legitimate claim to pure joy-Ananda, which is man’s birth-right. The denial of spiritual values on all sides and the consequent strife in the heart of man have rendered life for millions of people a prolonged fitful fever.
Question: What is the nature of sense-pleasures?
Answer: They are the source of sorrow and suffering. They are short-lived.
Question: So what will the wise man do?
Answer: He rejects the sense-pleasures and seeks the joy of the spirit.