We can’t nourish our souls amidst people who are out to sell theirs
The word “soul” sometimes refers non-literally to the things that matter the most to us. Such a non-literal usage features in the phrase “to sell one’s soul.” People who are out to sell their souls crave external things so much that nothing remains sacred for them – they are ready to cast aside their values for getting worldly gains.
When we study the Bhagavad-gita, we recognize the importance of nourishing our souls, of doing the things that help us to realize our essence and to live in harmony with our spirituality. However, we can’t nourish our souls by intellectual comprehension alone – we also need compatible association. If people around us are bent on selling their souls by living materialistically, then their association will chip away at our spiritual intentions, and we will gradually relapse to materialism.
The Bhagavad-gita (02.69) points to the radically differing values among materialists and spiritualists – the same spiritual growth that is luminous like day for spiritualists is dark like night for materialists. Just as day and night rarely meet, the values of materialists and spiritualists rarely meet.
By contemplating this Gita verse, we understand unsentimentally that to be spiritual, we need to stand apart from most people. If we seek their approval disproportionately, we will end up selling our souls.
What do we do when we need to associate with materialists? We associate courteously but cautiously. Courteously so that we keep the door to spirituality open for them whenever they wish to enter. Cautiously so that we protect our sacred values.
If we keep a distance from materialists, then how can we address our natural need for human connections? By seeking and treasuring the association of spiritualists who share our values. Such association strengthens our spiritual convictions and aspirations, thereby energizing our march towards lasting satisfaction.
Think it over: