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Article LXIX: Sensory Pleasure

This article continues with the chariot analogy in the Katha Upanishad from the previous article. The analogy suggests that one must utilize the intellect and the mind to control the senses. However, one must not necessarily abstain from all pleasures of the material world. Instead, one must realize the temporary nature of those pleasures, and one must not be controlled by those pleasures. In order to control the senses, one should not be dependent on the sensory objects of the world for happiness. By following the paths described by Vedanta, one can find joy or bliss independent from the sensory pleasures of the world. Hence, an enlightened being may perform an action that may seem to involve sensory enjoyment. However, an enlightened being experiences an eternal bliss that is fully independent from the sensory world. Sensory pleasures may not themselves be detrimental, but the attachment and dependence to that sensory enjoyment can impede one's ascent toward enlightenment.


Katha Upanishad

The context of this scripture is a dialogue between Naciketas, a spiritual aspirant, and Yama, the god of death:

III.3: Know that the soul is the master of the chariot who sits within it, and the body is the chariot. Consider the intellect as the charioteer and the mind as the rein.
III.4: The senses, they say are the horses, and their roads are the sense objects. The wise call Him the enjoyer (when He is) united with the body, the senses and the mind.
III.5: If one is always of unrestrained mind and devoid of right understanding, his senses become uncontrollable like the wicked horses of a charioteer.
III.6: But he who is always of restrained mind and has right understanding, his senses are controllable like the good horses of a charioteer.
III.7: And he who is devoid of proper understanding, thoughtless and always impure, never attains the goal, and gets into the round of births and deaths.
III.8: But he who is intelligent, ever pure and with the mind controlled, verily reached that goal whence none is born again.

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