(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)
ye hi saṁsparśajā bhogā
duḥkha-yonaya eva te
na teṣu ramate budhaḥ
Happiness which is derived by touch senses, saṁsparśajā... Saṁsparśajāḥ means happiness, so-called happiness derived by touch senses. Ye hi saṁsparśajā bhogāḥ, enjoyment. Duḥkha-yonaya eva te. Lord Kṛṣṇa says that this is not real happiness. Anything, any happiness derived out of touch sensation, that is not real happiness. Rather, that is the gate for various miseries. The whole Vedic scripture describes that happiness derived of sense perception out of the body, that is not real happiness. If we are to enjoy real happiness, then we have to transcend these bodily pleasures. Happiness is there because I am spirit soul. Actually I am full of pleasure, but because my sense of happiness is being manifested through this matter, therefore we are being frustrated in deriving real pleasure. So those who are in the, advanced in spiritual life, they are called yogis. Yoginaḥ. Ramante yoginaḥ anante (CC Madhya 9.29). Those who are spiritualists, they also enjoy. But they enjoy in the real happiness which has no end. Any happiness which is ended at a certain point, that is not happiness. That is, rather, source of distress. Ādy-antavantaḥ kaunteya na teṣu ramate budhaḥ. Budhaḥ means who is learned. A learned person does not enjoy such flickering or transient happiness which is derived by sense touching.
śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ
sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ
Śaknoti. Śaknoti means one who is able to tolerate. Ihaiva. Ihaiva means in this body. And soḍhum. Soḍhum means to tolerate. Prāk. Prāk means before. Śarīra-vimokṣaṇāt. Before leaving this body, if one practices that... What is that practice? Kāma-krodhodbhavaṁ vegam. Vegam means urge. Just like sex urge. Everyone has got sex urge. Or so many things, we have got some urge. That Kṛṣṇa advises, that before quitting this body... The example is that suppose a man is diseased, is suffering from a type of disease. And doctor has asked him not to take solid food. Now, if he is thinking that... Because he is practiced to take solid food, he is thinking, "I must take solid food. I must take solid food..." But if he can tolerate—"No, doctor has advised not to take solid food"—if he can tolerate, then he becomes very easily cured. Similarly, sense perception, sense pleasure, is reserved for us in our spiritual life. That is actual sense pleasure. Here we are having sense pleasure artificially through this body. Before leaving this body, if we practice to stop sense pleasure as much as possible... There is training, of course. Without training, nothing can be done.
So according to Vedic civilization, this training was given, student life, complete abstinence from sex life, then vānaprastha life, complete abstinence, and sannyāsa life, complete abstinence. The whole training was to abstain, to cure. Because... The same example: In diseased condition we cannot enjoy the foodstuff which we take. When we are healthy, we can enjoy the taste of the foodstuff. So we have to cure. We have to cure. And how to cure? To be situated in the transcendental position of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the cure. So Kṛṣṇa advises here anyone who is able to tolerate the urge of sense pleasure. But we have to mold our life in such a way that we should be able to tolerate. Tolerate. That will give us our advancement in spiritual life, and when we are situated in spiritual life, that enjoyment is unending, unlimited. There is no end. Exactly similar verse is there in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Ṛṣabhadeva is advising his sons that
nāyaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke
kaṣṭān kāmān arhate viḍ-bhujāṁ ye
tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena sattvaṁ
śuddhyed yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁ tv anantam
It is very nice verse. He says, "My dear boys, this human form of life..." Na ayaṁ deha. Ayaṁ deha means "this body." Na ayaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke. Everyone has got body. The cats, dogs, hogs, and birds, beasts, man, human being demigod—everyone has got this body, material body. But he's especially advising nṛdeha. Nṛ means human form of life. He says that this human form of life is not meant for working hard for sense pleasure just like the hogs and dogs. Human life. Then what it is meant for? He says, tapo divyam (SB 5.5.1). One should undergo penance for transcendental realization. And what will be the result of such penance? He says that yataḥ śuddhyet sattvam. Your existence will be purified. And when your existence is purified, then you enjoy brahma-saukhyam, the unlimited spiritual happiness.
You are hankering after happiness. Happiness is your prerogative. You must have. That is your life. You cannot stop happiness. But happiness in the diseased condition is not happiness. That we must understand. So we have to cure this diseased condition and then enjoy happiness, then enjoy pleasure that will be unlimited. There will be no end. In the diseased condition... Suppose whatever pleasure we take, it is for fifteen seconds or few minutes or few hours or few days—it will end. But real happiness, what is real happiness, that is unending. Brahma-saukhyam anantam (SB 5.5.1). Anantam means unending. So we are meant for unending happiness. So Kṛṣṇa advises here that śaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śarīra-vimokṣaṇāt. Before quitting this material body, if one practices to tolerate the so-called urges of sense pleasure, then he becomes very happy at the long run. He recommends it. And that is the real purpose of human form of life. That we should not derive... We should not try to derive that false happiness in this diseased condition of material life. This is temporary. That is not happiness. We should understand that out of ignorance we are engaged to derive such kind of happiness, but that is not happiness. Real happiness is in spiritual life.
We have to attain that spiritual life and just a man tolerates so many things for being cured, similarly we have to practice tolerance. Then there will be urges, certainly, because we are practiced to these sense urges for so many births in so many evolutionary process. Now in this human form of life we have to consider that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul." So I have to search out the happiness of the spirit soul, and for that, I have to train myself under superior guidance, as Arjuna has put himself under the guidance of Kṛṣṇa.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, August 31, 1966)