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Pleasure Without Pain Is Impossible - Swami Yuktatmananda

Life in the world is beset with dualities: pleasure and pain, praise and blame, heat and cold, and so on. Pleasure unmixed with pain is impossible in the world. We seek pleasure, and pain comes in uninvited. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, "Happiness presents itself before man, wearing the crown of sorrow on its head. He who welcomes it must also welcome sorrow."

A life of unbridled sense enjoyment is bound to end up in misery and frustration. The Chandogya Upanishad (7.23.1) teaches the important truth that infinite bliss is not possible from finite things: "The Infinite is bliss. There is no bliss in anything finite. Only the Infinite is bliss. One must desire to understand the Infinite."

The Upanishads teach that we are not just body and mind, but are essentially divine. Divinity is the very basis of our existence and is the source of infinite Knowledge and Bliss.

We are unaware of our divine nature because of ignorance (avidya). Ignorant of the fact that infinite Bliss is within us, we desire (kama) happiness from others and our possessions. We also desire wealth, progeny and, above all, name and fame.

Desires goad us on to action (karma) for their fulfillment. Every desire-prompted action increases our ignorance. In his commentaries on the Upanishads Sri Shankara often refers to this continually revolving cycle of avidya, kama, and karma.

In the Bhagavad Gita (3.36-37), Arjuna asks Sri Krishna an important question: "Under what compulsion does man commit sin, in spite of himself and dragged, as it were, by force?" Replies the Lord, "It is desire, it is anger; both spring from rajas. These are our enemies, all-devouring and the cause of all sin."

A poignant verse describes how Duryodhana became helpless when he was overpowered by desire for his cousins' land and kingdom: "I know what is righteousness, but I cannot practice it; I know what is unrighteousness, but I cannot refrain from it." (Pandava Gita, 58)

Desire and anger are like twin brothers. And in the words of the Gita (16.21), when greed joins them they form a triple gateway to hell.

Swami Yuktatmananda of Sri Ramakrishna Mission….the above excerpts were taken from here.