Who is the really enjoying?
by Bhaskarananda Das
We are all looking for happiness without a doubt. We generally don’t meet people asking for earthquakes or tsunamis or cancerous diseases. And the happiness depends upon each person’s prospective also. The happiness for me may not be happy for you. I may like driving slowly on the country side, but you may like car racing at 100 mph. But, the main question is, who is really enjoying? What is in us that’s really enjoying? Is it the eyes or ears or the mind or the intelligence or the ego or the real ‘Me’, the soul?
Let’s put our shoes in the role of a scientist for a while and try to analyze a scenario. Let’s say you went to watch a Hollywood blockbuster and a 3D James Bond movie, ‘Skyfall’. We sit in a Marcus movie theater expecting a real good time ahead. The lights go out and the movie starts with theme music and it goes through various scenes of action sequences, thrilling rides, chasing cars, emotional elements, grand visuals etc. The eyes start enjoying because these are the scenes never seen before, seem brand new and attractive. Well, the eyes are only like camera, seeing things around. The mind is the one who is really interpreting what the eyes are seeing and feel what’s happening. So, the mind is in the superior position for enjoyment than the eyes. The neurons carry the visuals, sounds, emotions and they are stored in the brain as an experience, like a video computer file. The brain is like hardware and mind is the like a software. Once the movie is over, eyes start seeing some other scenes. And the same thing goes on and on again. The mind interprets them and stores it as a good or bad experience. Once that experience is stored, it is done with that enjoyment. We may go and see the ‘Skyfall’ movie again but then there won’t be same excitement as we saw for the first time. That’s the reason, people can’t watch same movie every day. It would be awfully frustrating if somebody does that. If we want to re-experience the enjoyment, we can go back to our memory and retrieve the data stored in the brain along with data of emotions, sounds, tastes etc. This is where the intelligence is useful as it can decide what experience to be retrieved. As we can see, the eyes, the ears, the mind, the intelligence is assisting someone who is really enjoying the movie. And the Gita tells us that the real enjoyer is the soul or the real ‘us’. Because of the presence of the soul, we are able to see, we are able to interpret, we are able to retrieve the memories and we are able to assert ourselves that ‘I have enjoyed the movie’. As we can see, the soul is the real enjoyer. And all others like eyes, the mind, the intelligence and the ego are simply assisting it. Now, the question is what the soul enjoys or can enjoy. The movie, we saw became a mere a better experience stored in the brain. The soul, being eternal in nature, wants to enjoy something beyond the sensory perceptions like movies, sports etc. To put it in other words, the soul, being eternal in nature, wants to enjoy the permanent objects. The real goal of life for us is to find out what they are and have a plan to meet it. After all, who doesn’t want to enjoy life?
So, the next time, you are at the candle light dinner, ask yourself, ‘Who is the really enjoying?’
References: Gita 2.14, 2.20, 3.42