August 14, 2009
Eternal Bliss Resides Only in God
Every human being is struggling for happiness; there is no exception to this. Why is it, then, that nobody achieves it? The simple reason is that the search is being conducted where happiness cannot exist. It exists only in God. One must first ardently yearn for Him, and that yearning only comes from nama-smarana. We should rivet the mind to the attainment of God, leaving the body to float on the current of destiny. As destiny directs, the body and the course of worldly affairs may meet with happiness or unhappiness; they may have a smooth course, or meet with troubled waters and appear about to sink. The mind will be unshaken in its state of happiness and peace, if it is fixed on God.
I know you people are righteous-minded, and practise nama-smarana, and I feel sorry that you do not succeed in having genuine, firm love for nama. Everyone should introspect to discover what is it that precludes such love? Can you ascribe it to circumstances?
It appears that man sets store more by material means and things that are supposed to conduce to happiness rather than by happiness itself. Material things being perishable, the pleasure they yield is also shortlived. True happiness should be independent of things and cause. So we should pray God for permanent happiness, not for material things.
A railway station was famous for excellent fruits. A passenger alighted to buy some, and started haggling about the price. No thinking man will continue to haggle beyond the halting time of the train. Similarly, we may run after material things but not let the more valuable, permanent, spiritual gains be missed. Resolve to maintain anusandhana at all costs. To do this is to go counter to the way of the common world. It is an art to do prapancha efficiently and yet maintain anusandhana. The true devotee is an adept in this art; therefore he lives immersed in God, and finds true joy in the world. Let us, too, leave the bodily pleasures and pains to destiny, and try to do nama-smarana with persistence and sincerity. This will bring a balanced mind, with the help of which one may easily wade through the mire of worldly life and still be unscathed.
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August 6, 2009
God is Unalloyed, Changeless Bliss
Everyone seeks permanent joy, that is God, for God and bliss are inseparable, identical. God is indeed, the source and home of everlasting happiness. Happiness is a sine qua non for the very survival of every being.
What we style as ‘joy’ today is really only ‘hope’ of joy, an illusion never realized in practice. If everyone lives for joy, why is it that it is never obtained? Evidently, the goal and the means are at cross purposes. The fact is that we seek joy in the ‘pleasure’ we get through the medium of the senses. Now such joy can neither last nor be free from accompanying or eventual pain, like the ‘kick’ one gets from the use of liquor or other narcotic. The joy of all sensual pleasure is severely limited in degree and duration, and invariably accompanied by immediate or eventual pain, misery, disappointment, etc. All palpable things are impermanent, nonsatisfying, and consequently, incapable of giving lasting happiness.
We expand, proliferate, and diversify our activities and interests, all for deriving happiness, but fail to achieve the objective. The bliss that is God is, like God Himself, permanent, unchangeable, independent of external cause, limitation, or interference. Consequently, to strive for acquiring mundane things as a means of happiness, is doomed to failure.
A smile or laughter is the outward expression of a joyful spirit. Joy independent of external cause shows the presence of God. Vairagya consists in abstaining from anything that would mar that pure joy, while vivek consists in doing that which will bring about, strengthen, or augment such joy. This pure joy is the mark of a mind which is happy and contented owing to deep pondering on and merging with the Universal Soul. Such pure, unruffled joy invariably stamps the life, talk, and behaviour of one whose love is universal and selfless; such a person delights in giving without even the thought of a return of one kind or another.
Truly speaking, divine bliss is innate in every heart; we have to rediscover it by removing the heavy pall of maya, or attraction of the mundane. Rest secure in the reassuring thought that you are insignificant, nobody, that Rama is all in all, and commit yourself completely to His caring, protecting hands.
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August 5, 2009
The ‘body-am-I’ Feeling is Sheer Illusion
In the practical world, it is important to know who I am and what my duty is. It is equally important, in spiritual life, to know who I really am. If I speak of something as ‘mine’, the owner ‘I’ is definitely a different entity. When I talk of ‘my’ body, evidently the speaker ‘I’ is distinct from the body. When we say ‘I have fever’, or ‘I am emaciated’, we are obviously identifying ourselves with the body, and confusing matters. To identify oneself with the body, losing sight of the true ‘I’ is an illusion, and this creates experience of ‘pleasure’ and ‘pain’. The fact that I detest ‘pain’ and welcome ‘pleasure’ clearly indicates that my original state must be one of joy, permanent joy. The water we bring in a jug from the flowing river must taste like the water from the river, because the two are identical; if it tastes different, we can confidently surmise that the jug must have been unclean. We may extend the analogy and say that, since the individual soul is part of the ever-blissful Cosmic Soul, it must be equally blissful; if it is not, if it experiences misery of any kind, this can only be ascribed to pollution in the form of the ‘body-am-I’ idea. Therefore the mind must be disabused of that notion. If we desire to stop the growth of a certain tree, it will not do merely to prune the foliage; we must stop watering the roots. The tree of our prapancha has flourished because it has been nourished by playing into the hands of ego, and it is this ego that needs to be eradicated. This can be achieved by discarding the pride of ‘doership’. This pride is entirely unjustified, because the true doer is God, not we. True worship consists in cultivating the conviction that God is the true doer, not I. Pleasure and displeasure both vanish when the conviction that God is the doer gets indelibly inscribed on the mind. Such a mind possesses an unmistakable grandeur of contentment, and this, indeed, is the mark of saintliness. It is the attainment of this peaceful, undisturbable contentment that all sadhana aims at. Nama-smarana should be practised with the conviction that all doership rests with God. * * * * *
August 3, 2009
To Become One with God is to be Ever-happy
The joy in which a real devotee lives defies description in words; indeed, the word ‘joy’ ceases to signify anything where the very idea of pain or sorrow does not exist. That joy has to be experienced to be believed. The true devotee sees God in all creation, animate and inanimate; that is, sees himself everywhere, like a person standing in a hall of mirrors. In other words, one who is one with God, that is, with all creation, never experiences anything but joy; sorrow or pain can only exist in plurality. A devotee may be an ordinary human to all appearances, but he lives continuously in a state of joy. That is how Saint Tukaram lived, outwardly as a common householder, and Saint Ramadas managed national matters politically; both of them were, at heart, completely detached from the pains and failures of life, raising their followers to their own level.
We common persons have never seen the path of pure joy. If we now want to walk along that path, it is evidently profitable to follow the advice, the guidance, of one who has traversed that path, and who, in fact, basks in that joy; in other words, implicitly follow the sadguru, just as we meekly follow a reliable guide when we meet one along an unfamiliar way. That, evidently, is the easiest and safest thing to do.
A person may eat salt, mistaking it for sugar; he will, nevertheless, get the taste of salt. Similarly, we erroneously imagine that worldly things lead to lasting joy, and invariably land in trouble. We imagine that the more numerous the amenities and belongings, the greater the happiness of life; this is a delusion never realized in practice. True happiness is that which is eternal, undisturbed; it rests only with God, who is Himself eternal. We can become truly happy only if we live in God. Just as one has to eat sugar to obtain a sweet taste, one must repeat nama to realize happiness.
All through life we pursue the mirage of happiness, and it never becomes a reality. We strive for the wherewithals rather than for happiness itself, like spending everything for elaborations of the fencing rather than on the farm itself. We strive to obtain this, that and the other, all of which, in the hour of final exit from the world, we have to leave behind.
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August 2, 2009
Our Inner Being is Basically Blissful
It is incorrect to say that a thing that we very keenly desire will always fetch satisfaction. The royal road, the surest way, is to annihilate desire itself. So let us try to see how we can get rid of desire altogether. True, lasting joy and contentment can only come if we live for God. They come the moment we determine to treat God as the last, the only resort.
The more the attachment to worldly things, the deeper we sink into the mire of misery. Worldly pleasures come even without asking, only if your luck lies that way; we need neither beg nor pray for them. Once we decide on treating Rama as our sole support, we can shed all dread of worldly attractions. To live in never-failing trust in divine backing takes the sting out of worldly attractions; indeed, if we live in a constant awareness of God, we have full insurance against worldly temptations, for we will automatically be ever on guard against them.
We celebrate a festival with great e’ clat, but as a day the festive day is in no way different from other days; the circumstances, dangers and difficulties of the previous day prevail unchanged. And yet, we momentarily connive at them and make the day festive. What we do then, can we not do every day? We should treat every day as a festive day by keeping a happy attitude. What we have to do is to live in God, the fountainhead of everlasting joy. This divine joy is so powerful that once we taste it we shall find that even the highest of pleasures in the world pale into utter insipidity. Bliss, indeed, is a characteristic of God. That we at all think of pain, sorrow, misery, is a marvel, for, that God is ever present within us. It happens because we ourselves prevent Him to disclose Himself; we smother His joyful presence with our ego. To discover the true nature of this ego, we have first to quieten the hubbub, the tumult of the senses, descend into our true selves, and look for joy; whereupon we find God the fountainhead of perennial bliss. This search is the real purpose of human life, and to merge into God is its true consummation. For one whose happiness is never disturbed, every day is a festive day.
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August 1, 2009
Discovering True Bliss
Before this multifarious creation came into being, there existed a single entity, with nothing to disturb its peace and bliss. We, as part of the creation, naturally hanker to recapture that peace and bliss. But we also delight in doing something; we find inaction intolerable. Now and then, we feel beset with the travails, reverses, and disappointments of worldly life, and feel like retiring into solitude and peace, but these are only temporary fits. Blessed indeed is the person who disentangles himself from the multifarious vexations and upsets of worldly life and achieves unruffled peace of mind. The rest of us fail because we are reluctant to do what is required. We must cultivate a frame of mind which refuses to be upset at reverses; in other words, a mind devoid of desire of any kind. The thought that I do or do not desire should become foreign to our mind. So long as we entertain desire of any kind, we may be sure we are far from mental peace and bliss. Ambition one may entertain, but without staking mental peace. We should accept the outcome cheerfully, gracefully, as the verdict of God, acting without pride of self and doership; for, only that attitude can give peace to our mind. Ruminating on past deeds and happenings, whether pleasing or otherwise, and worrying about the future, both disturb peace of mind. This is evidently unnecessary if we once and for all accept everything as happening by divine will. To grieve and not to grieve both depend on the reaction of the mind; if the mind is properly trained, it can be peaceful, unmoved, even when the body is undergoing pain. In old age, in particular, a cheerful heart is beneficial even more than drugs for maintaining health. One who loves nama can be in peace and happy in any condition of the body; and one who enjoys this happiness can rest assured that Rama has taken him under His grace. There can be only one thing that we can truly bestow on the Lord, and that is our ‘self’. To chant nama incessantly and be utterly unaware of one’s ‘self’ and physical existence is true dedication to Him. The prapancha that I can truly call ‘mine’ is one that brings me true happiness. If my happiness rests on others it is only an illusion; for my agony and pain they cannot take over. Remembering nama alone stands me in good stead. * * * * *