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The Danger of being Attached to the Body

Once upon a time Indra, the lord of the celestials, was cursed to be born as a pig on earth. Being born thus, he was spending all his time living a family life in dirty, muddy water. The sage Narada, while passing by and seeing this pig and its family, recognized Indra reduced to that lowly form. Narada, who loved Indra dearly, took great pity on him. Narada spoke to the pig, "Indra, look at what a state you have degenerated into. How did this happen? How could you, a great deity with unlimited power, the lord of all the heavenly regions, have come to this? But never mind, don't worry, I will get you out. I will use all my accumulated powers of penance to help you." He spoke to him very sympathetically, lamenting that one who should be enjoying all the luxuries of heaven had been put into such a miserable state. How very unfortunate Indra's life had become, Narada thought.

But, Indra, in the form of the pig, replied, "Narada, why are you coming in the way of my happiness? The joy that I am getting in this dirty water I will not be able to get anywhere else. The wonderful life that I am enjoying here with my wife and children in this mud hole I cannot even get in heaven. Why have you come here to meddle with my life and get in the way of my joy? Please go your way and leave me be." Indra, who was under the spell of the illusion of attachment, did not realize his pitiful condition. Narada had to summon Indra's own weapon, the celestial thunderbolt, to render that pig body asunder and free a much-relieved Indra from his prison of attachment and body-consciousness.

When you are under the spell of attachment; you will be completely deluded. This delusion is due to the irresistible power of maya, which veils your truth and keeps it hidden from you. If you want to destroy this power of illusion, you must develop your knowledge of the true self. Therefore, Krishna took it upon himself to start out his teachings by instructing Arjuna in self-knowledge. It is only after you have the direct experience of your eternal self, that you can truly do your work and discharge your duties properly. Without this knowledge you will not understand even the mundane daily activities relating to the world.

Listening to spiritual teachings can help you only to a small extent. When you are listening to the Gita you feel so happy and so full of joy. It all seems so simple. But this elation you experience is just a temporary phenomenon. When you undertake to put the teachings into practice many real problems and difficulties arise. But you must persist in your efforts. The teachings will do you little good unless you put them into practice. Whatever you have heard and whatever you have read you must enter into and completely make your own. Then you will gain something truly worthwhile.