All appliances have instructions manuals. Even the best gadget can lead to disaster if not used properly. You are born with highly sophisticated equipment within. Do you know how it functions? Is it not important to have a manual that helps you use it well? The Bhagwad Gita could help as it gives you complete understanding of your personality and steers you to excellence. Without guidelines the very tools meant to take you to perfection become the cause of your destruction.

Every human consists of matter and Spirit. Spirit is the same in all; it lends life and enables you to perceive, act, feel and think. Matter consists of body, mind and intellect. Used well, it takes you to heights of perfection. Abuse or inadequate use of these equipment leads to failure, sorrow and stunted growth.

The body enables you to perceive -- see, hear, smell, taste and touch. With the body, you act. The mind feels emotions like love, hatred, anger and jealousy, and harbours likes and dislikes. And the intellect thinks, reasons, discriminates and judges. All these are instruments of enjoyment. They fulfil you. If used properly they take you to the zenith of human development.

Sense contact yields immediate enjoyment. So you want more. But the more you indulge, the less you enjoy. Eventually, you reach a stalemate where the return is zero. Yet you must continue the contact to avoid the pain of denial. The Gita prescribes regulated contact by which you retain the thrill of the first contact till the very end of your life. And it protects you from the ill effects of excessive indulgence. Let the intellect decide when, how much and how often to contact sense objects. Enjoyment goes to another level altogether if you think of that Power that enables you to enjoy. The experience then becomes spiritual.

The body is designed for action. Action gives joy. Inaction leads to depression. Selfish action results in failure and sorrow. Thought of self is the greatest barrier to success and all selfish people are unhappy. When you dedicate action to a higher cause you become creative, energetic and efficient. You are happy and you grow. All the greats in history were not necessarily hugely talented or brilliant. But they all worked for a cause greater than themselves. When the action is directed towards God, it becomes thrilling! You move towards Self-realisation.

Indifference is not an option. When you feel for others but the feeling is tainted by expectations and you make demands on others, the relationship devolves into conflict and bitterness. When you love another with flaws and shortcomings, without expectations, it leads to a wonderful relationship. When your love shifts to that Power that has bestowed you with a million blessings, it becomes Divine!

The intellect discriminates between pairs of opposites. A dull, undeveloped intellect leads to confusion, loss and sorrow. A sharp, clear intellect guarantees prosperity and success. An intellect focussed on world welfare gives happiness. When the intellect distinguishes between the eternal and ephemeral you get anchored in the permanent and reach enlightenment.

The intellect is most important; it needs to be developed and strengthened with independent, original thinking. Thus the mortal, gross body, mind and intellect can transport you to the immortal, subtle Spirit. Only then are you truly fulfilled.

(This article is reproduced from Speaking Tree | by Jaya Row)