The negative social results of a society populated primarily by hedonistic people should be obvious to anyone. A society of self-centered, animalistic people who have no other interest than their own sense enjoyment cannot be at all peaceful or progressive-either materially or spiritually.
According to the science of yoga, you, the life particle are seated in the heart (but not inseparably—you can remove the physical heart, but you will not be removed with it). Your influence spreads throughout the body by means of this vast network of channels (nadis) that carry the life force to every cell of the body.
There is enough in the world to fulfill everyone’s needs, but not enough to fulfill everyone’s greed. In some parts of the world, people are dying from severe undernourishment, while in other parts of the world people are dying from obesity.
Work has been done regarding the life force present in plants. In one typical experiment, electrical wires are connected from an electro sensitive meter to a plant. After a stable reading is obtained on the instruments, a small twig is cut from the plant. Invariably, at that moment, a significant response is perceivable on the meter, indicating that the separation of the twig has disturbed or agitated the plant.
"Since no amount of sense gratification is ever enough to satisfy us, we always feel we need “more.” From the poorest person to the richest person, from the slum-dweller to the person who lives in a mansion, everyone wants more sense gratification and thus more material wealth. If you are poor, you feel you need a color TV to be happy; if you’re rich, you feel you need a new yacht. No amount of material wealth is ever enough."
If life is materially based, then why don't we see it springing from matter in the natural world? And why can't we create life from matter in our laboratories?
According to yoga, every action, good or bad, produces some karmic reaction. Actions that are “bad” create bad karmic reactions. A person who engages in heinous criminal actions or who lives simply like an animal, exploiting others, will have to eat the bitter fruit of such actions in the future.
In his book Small Is Beautiful, noted British economist E. F. Schumacher wrote:
Insights of wisdom … enable us to see the hollowness and fundamental unsatisfactoriness of a life devoted primarily to the pursuit of material ends, to the neglect of the spiritual. Such a life necessarily sets man against man and nation against nation, because man’s needs are infinite and infinitude can be achieved only in the spiritual realm, never in the material.*
It is a fact that no matter how much sense gratification a person gets, he will never be satisfied. Material food, material things, material sense gratification cannot satisfy the atma (spirit soul). Just as the body needs material food, so the spirit soul needs spiritual food. To try to satisfy one’s spiritual craving with material things leads to endless consumption, greed, envy, violence, and war. Western people have as much sense gratification as one could ever want, yet they are not satisfied. Why? Because they are spiritually empty.
In this world, people are always fighting over property. They want to stake their claims of ownership on both the living and the nonliving. According to the Sri Ishopanishad, these people are like thieves fighting over stolen loot. If we look at the question from the relatively short-term view, we may find it hard to accept that no one is really an owner of anything. But if we adopt the point of view of the Sri Ishopanishad—which sees the universe not in terms of decades, centuries, or even thousands of years, but in terms of many millions of years—then we can understand this point.
Sometimes a person is still addicted to cigarette smoking or meat-eating. If he follows the process of bhakti yoga, then gradually he will be able to give up such habits. It is a question of tasting a higher taste. If a person engages in the process of bhakti yoga, he will gradually begin to taste the higher spiritual happiness, and he will be able to give up all vices naturally. After he gives up such bad habits, then his progress will be very rapid.