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A Man Who Is A Slave To Sense Enjoyments Identifies Himself Only With His Mind And Body – Hindu Religion Teaching

In Hindu philosophy, the idea that a man who is a slave to sense enjoyments identifies himself only with his mind and body is deeply rooted in the concepts of Maya (illusion) and Avidya (ignorance). Here’s an explanation of this teaching:

Context and Meaning

Attachment to Sense Enjoyments:

Sense Enjoyments: These refer to pleasures derived from the five senses – sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.

Slavery to Senses: When an individual becomes overly attached to these sensory pleasures, they become enslaved by them, meaning their actions and thoughts are driven predominantly by the desire to fulfill these sensory cravings.

Identification with Mind and Body:

In Hinduism, the true self, or Atman, is considered to be distinct from the mind and body. The Atman is the eternal, unchanging soul, whereas the mind and body are transient and subject to change and decay.

When a person identifies only with the mind and body, they are essentially identifying with their temporary, physical existence and not with their true, eternal self.

Philosophical Underpinnings

Maya (Illusion):

Maya is the cosmic illusion that causes individuals to see the physical world as the ultimate reality. This illusion makes the temporary, material aspects of life seem more real and significant than the eternal, spiritual essence.

Being a slave to sense enjoyments is a result of Maya, where the illusory nature of the world keeps one bound to physical and mental pleasures, distracting them from the realization of their true self.

Avidya (Ignorance):

Avidya refers to ignorance of the true nature of the self. It is the lack of understanding that one's true essence is the Atman, which is beyond the physical and mental realms.

When one is ignorant, they are trapped in the cycle of birth and death (Samsara) and remain attached to sensory experiences, believing them to be the ultimate source of happiness.

Scriptural References

Bhagavad Gita:

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna teaches about the difference between the eternal soul (Atman) and the temporary body. He emphasizes that attachment to sensory pleasures binds one to the cycle of Samsara and prevents spiritual progress.

Example: “The pleasures that arise from contact with the senses are wombs of pain, for they have a beginning and an end, O Arjuna. The wise do not rejoice in them” (Bhagavad Gita 5.22).


The Upanishads, particularly the Katha Upanishad, explore the distinction between the higher self (Atman) and the lower self (mind and body). They teach that liberation (Moksha) is achieved through self-realization, which involves transcending sensory desires.

Example: “The self-existent Lord pierced the senses to be outward-turned; therefore man looks outward, not within himself. A certain wise man, desiring immortality, with inverted senses, beheld the self within” (Katha Upanishad 2.1.1).

The teaching that a man who is a slave to sense enjoyments identifies himself only with his mind and body reflects a fundamental aspect of Hindu philosophy. It underscores the importance of transcending sensory desires and realizing one's true nature as the Atman. By overcoming attachment to the physical and mental aspects of existence, an individual can achieve spiritual liberation and eternal peace.