-- Pujya K.C.Narayana
1. The topic of this seminar appears to be deceptively simple. It deals with the subject of happiness. We all think that we know what happiness is. We all seem to be striving towards this goal of happiness but what is it really? It is an agreed fact that all creatures want happiness and are afraid of pain and grief. The question, however, is 'what is real happiness?' The desire to be the happiest man under all certain circumstances has no meaning without understanding the real nature of happiness.
2. Generally, ordinary persons consider sensual pleasures as happiness and their attempts are also directed towards these. According to them search for happiness means search for pleasures of the senses. The question 'what is happiness' does not arise in their hearts, because in their hearts they treat a life full of sensory joys as a happy life. It is on account of this that whenever we think of happiness and welfare, it is considered desirable to lead a life of attachments, work hard, grow more food and develop industries and science. Thus we presume that the country will prosper by all these and all will be happy. Ideals are talked of and it is said that a day will come when everyone will have nutritious food to eat, clothes to put on according to seasons and modern residence with all scientific facilities and then all will be happy.
3. This is not the forum to discuss whether such conditions will prevail or not. Our question is, if after having all these comforts, will life be happy? If yes, people having all these comforts, should be happy even now. The countries touching the limitations of all these comforts must then be all happy and quiet people. We, however, find that they more than all others on this earth are more disturbed, impatient, unhappy, afraid and worried. It is, therefore necessary to consider seriously what happiness really is. We cannot make true efforts in this direction and achieve happiness without deciding what real happiness is.
4. Some thinkers consider that happiness does not lie in objects of enjoyment and that happiness or unhappiness lies in imagination or thinking. To prove their point of view they give examples like the one following: A man has a two-storey house; on the right is a five storey building and on the left a thatched hut. When he sees right, he feels unhappy and when he sees left he feels happy. As such happiness does not lie in possession of sensory objects, but in imagination they advise people to look towards those, who have fewer possessions and be happy. If you look towards people having more wealth and possessions, you will always be unhappy.
5. However we will find that it is unreasonable to hold that happiness lies in thinking like this. To say that if we want to be happy we should look towards the poor denies us the very basic human character of pity, sympathy and compassion. We know that those poor people cannot satisfy even their minimum needs. On seeing such poverty-stricken people even worldly-minded people develop pity. It is unkind to regard one happy by imagining that one is better than the poor and the unhappy. Further this attitude also satisfies the sense of pride of possessions that we inherently have. This can never be called happiness. Does happiness lie in the thatched hut, looking at which one can get happiness? Unless we really find where happiness lies, we cannot really be happy.
6. Further the means we have chosen to obtain this happiness is also not correct, because here also it has not been attempted to know what happiness is but we have chosen to consider pleasures arising out of sensual joys as happiness. If it is held that happiness lies in imagination, we should also concede that real happiness does not exist anywhere. But this would not be a rational argument. It is, therefore, clear that in fact, sensual pleasures are imaginary and real happiness is quite different from these. The original question of 'What is real happiness' still stands.
7. Some ask us to do this and do that and say that desires would be satisfied and add that we would get the desired objects and become happy. People holding these views regard happiness as satisfaction of desires and unhappiness as denial thereof. In this context we know that first of all, it is not possible to satisfy all of one's desires because there are countless desires of countless people and the material things are limited. Then new desires arise as soon as the previous ones are satisfied. Thus the eternal current of desires continues for ever. It is, therefore, definite that ever changing desires can never be satisfied. Conceptions like those of satisfaction of desires and achieving consequent happiness are mere mirage in the great desert of life. All the desires are never going to be satisfied and this creature is never going to be happy in the satisfaction of desires.
8. In reality happiness does not lie in the satisfaction of desires. It is like being happy by transferring the burden of head to the shoulder. It is also not correct to say that we will be happy proportionately with the desires satisfied, because real happiness lies in being above the plane of desires or what we may call the plane of Masters but not in their satisfaction. The fallacy in thinking that satisfaction of desires leads to happiness arises out of the reduction in logic namely that because we reduce our restlessness in partial absence of desires, it can, therefore, naturally be inferred that complete absence of desires will lead us to complete happiness. It is wrong to say that desires die out after their fulfilment and that should be regarded as happiness. Pleasures arising out of several joys are in fact unhappiness because they have the restlessness which makes one unhappy. Happiness means ease and complete lack of restlessness and pleasures of senses do not have that mental ease.
9. We have to find what happiness is and unless we find it, it is not possible to have it at all. Here lies, the great teaching our Master who grants us a first experience what happiness is and we imperience what bliss is. Happiness is a state of consciousness. Consciousness is the essential characteristic and attribute of the soul. Primal Consciousness or Pranasya Pranah is found every where in the Universe and in greater degree in sentient beings. The entire Jagat is Ananda or happiness and the Lord willed it so. Nature keeps everything in balance and harmony which factors constitute the nature of real happiness. When we tune ourselves to the order (RTA) and moral law (Dharma) integrally there is happiness all around. However as aspirants for achieving such a harmony with Nature we feel we have limitations of the body and mind in being so. This is because we do not inherently like to go beyond our boundaries and are keen to keep our boundary safe from any intrusion, physical, vital and moral. This is the essential characteristic of the Jiva. Thus knowing only how to think and move and not how to grow out of our boundary we just move hither and thither wandering blindly. This restlessness is the cause of unhappiness. Since we know primarily, only the language of the body and the body has its wants it lives in the world of wants and satisfactions and that is the root cause of unhappiness. Thus the direction of the search for happiness itself is wrong. When the direction is wrong, the present state will also be full of unhappiness.
10. Until we are blessed by the divine we do not come to understand our real nature is just not thinking and moving but growing too. For getting real happiness, we then start looking into our hearts and deep with in we tend to feel the real nature of our being which is the repository of absolute happiness or bliss or peace. Therefore, those, in pursuit of happiness should turn their efforts towards their inner being. Those looking for happiness outside in things or circumstances or situations never get it. Real happiness is a matter of experience, not of speech, not of demonstration. It can be had only by being introvert, cutting ourselves from all the non-self entities and being one with our true nature. This is what Master means by saying “Detachment in attachment is really needed.”
11. If we consider the problem further we realise that happiness is not to be had from somewhere else, for the core of our being is itself made of this happiness and its true natures is nothing but happiness alone. That which is total bliss and happiness, the Ground which has manifested as different forms naturally cannot find happiness else where than in itself. While rings of splendour around the core of our being grants us some type of possessiveness the Core itself which is of the nature of Blessing Splendour is beyond expression: it is something to be imperienced.
12. Thus it is obvious that it is not necessary to torment ourselves working like grind mill 24*365 days for getting happiness. There is absolutely no difficulty or trouble in getting happiness: it is what we are in reality. Restless activities to achieve happiness are counter productive and if any thing they create an illusion of happiness that has within it the seeds of tormentation. The goal of life namely happiness or being happy under all circumstances is not something to be achieved; it is what we are in our true nature. Since the core of our being is full of happiness, experience of this core or the centre is the experience of happiness. A person established in such a condition will always be happy. He will not seek anything beyond meagre necessities of life as Master says. Such a person is the happiest man.
13. As such there should be no desire for happiness, for desires by their very nature make us unhappy. Absence of desires is real happiness. In the prayer of the path, this factor is most stressed where we concede the point that we are but slaves of wishes and that Master who is beyond all these wishes alone can bring us upto his stage. In his message Love- Universal our beloved Master Babuji Maharaj starts with the problem of changing and changeless states we live in. He states we attach ourselves with the changeable and get into various bondages. He states while explaining the nature of Anandam that mind generally has two trends, the one directed towards the world or diversity and the other directed towards the Ultimate or Unity. He pleads that there must be due adjustment in them and that excessive attention to either is a draw back. He asserts that “That is where an ordinary worldling differs from a true saint who can at will turn the down ward tendencies of the mind upwards.”
14. It is obvious that the cause of unhappiness is the downward tendency of our mind which always works on the basis of pleasure principle. Satisfaction of all desires in an unlimited manner is its demand and since it is not governed by the wisdom of the higher centres it propels itself always to achieve this mirage! Thus if we want to be happy it is necessary that we should rise above this impulsive tendencies of the lower mind and live a peaceful life. The whole message is dedicated to explain the need to live like the coot and ducks in the water which carries no effect of water on their bodies when out of water. While loving parents and every one in the family is stressed he wants every one to remove the brokenness of the continuity of love due to the sharp boundaries of relationships and make ourselves such as to love all. He asserts that when this is done we will start feeling the love flowing equally to one and all and it becomes Universal. The importance of the methods of meditation directed towards this end has been the subject matter of many of our discussions earlier and I do not intend to have a recap of that.
15. Master asserts that it is the dictum of Nature that every soul must live a happy and restful life. It is therefore an axiom that all that IS, is meant to be happy. It is obvious that our actions when they disturb the balance spoil the harmony in life. Master wants us as family people to be moderate in all our dealings. While the importance of the money is well understood for having a decent living, obsession with the acquisition is improper morality. Master wants us to keep the necessities of life at a meager level and wants us to develop detachment in attachment. Then he asserts that the happiest man is he who is happy under all circumstances. This attitude of being happy is possible to be developed only when we keep our love for Master above all other love and desires. He asserts that he is the Master for the entire universe and wants us all to love him who is the Ultimate.
16. Miseries and afflictions many times keep the aspirants away from the path. In his message “Ways and means” Master states that “The mystery of the problem will be clear if we look into the origin of miseries. Soul possesses consciousness as a result of God's will to effect creation. The soul likewise began to form its own tiny creation and gathered round it things of its own creation. Now a stir, a motion (i.e., unrest or disturbance) was the main factor in bringing about the creation. Similarly for the tiny creation of the soul too, unrest or disturbance is indispensable. We also possess the force of will which we apply to impart power to the factors necessary for setting up this creation. They appear before us in the form of joy or sorrow, comfort or misery. The mind, too, being constantly active creates within us liking for the one and dislike for the other, introducing the two extremities of a thing. Thus miseries come into existence.
17. He states that “This is all the creation of the human mind which results from our ignorance of the right relationship of things. Our passions, emotions and impulses too contribute a good deal in aggravating the troubles and at times cause fierce tempest strong enough to threaten a complete wreck. We generally attribute its causes to circumstances. But it is a wrong notion. Mind is the centre of this outer expansion of man in the form of human body and everything which is exhibited through the medium of the body proceeds from the centre, the mind. If our mind comes to a harmonious state, circum-stances and environments will have no effect on it and there will be no disturbance within. Peace and tranquility shall reign all through under all circumstances. Passions, excitements and desires will lose their intensity and sorrow, joy or misery will disappear from the view. Our desires are the main cause of miseries. So the only solution of miseries is the curtailment of desires. Fewer the desires, lesser shall be our miseries. But to become desireless is another problem. Desires form a network which we are entangled in. The more we try to get rid of it, tighter become the fibres of the net. The only way to free ourselves from the entanglements is to divert our attention from them and fix our eyes on the very Real thing. If we cultivate a habit of remaining unmindful of them, they will soon begin to disappear from our view and consequently our miseries will be minimised. Reality alone will remain constantly before our eyes and everything else will lose its charm or significance.”
18. Another shortcoming of desire is that it leads to so much that is undesirable. I have had occasions when the pressure of work and unethical public life with which I was also associated as a public servant when I used to feel depressed and gloomy. This arousal of feeling of gloominess is not necessarily when the matter involved is public service. While I was dealing with many disciples of our Master I have had the misfortune of observing many undesirable practices in spiritual life. When I was attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helped me so much as study of the books of the Master. They quickly kept me absorbed and banished the clouds from my mind. When I tried to forget those situations during my meditations and cleaning I was not finding much relief and I noted that nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. Refuge in the Master was the only way out and when I was tired of reading I used to resort to prayer without any seeking trying remain in the thought of the Master. Happiness arising out of such a practice is something that I would ask every one to Imperience.
19. Many aspirants do write to me that they are agitated due to these situations encountered in either their office or home. It should be clear to the serious practicants that until they keep their mind busy with some definite subject that will bridle and control these ideas, the problems they are faced with throw themselves in disorder hither and yonder in the vague field of imagination. It would be an amusing fancy to think that they do not bring forth agitation. But that is what many aspirants write to me. It is wiser to accept the situation and yield to the Master dwelling in his thought which should be paramount.
20. Unhappiness consequent on miseries is a state of mind that should be resolved by resorting to the conviction that Master is always Just and we are undergoing what is due. We need to bounce back to a state of equanimity and consequent happiness. Resilience is an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. It is a matter of simple observation in educational psychology that students who struggle in school can become successful adults, as long as they remain resilient. Increasingly we are learning that the potential to become resilient is an innate quality of every child, indeed, every person. Therefore all sadhakas should nurture their capacity for resilience and it is probably the most important thing they can do to achieve success and satisfaction in sadhana.
21. As a sadhaka and a trainer for quite some long time, I understand that fostering resiliency is connected to:
i) Faith in the Master.
ii) Faith in the trainer.
iii) Persevering with sadhana under all circumstances.
iv) Understanding that mistakes and limitations and weakness are parts of life that every one experiences AND are opportunities for growth and not stumbling blocks.
v) Optimism and positive outlook about the future.
vi) The attitude of “not being able to govern events, I govern myself.”
vii) The attitude that “Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our bottom.”
22. It is the understanding of the travelers in the path that in proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, or poverty poverty, or weakness weakness. If unfortunately we have built castles in the air, our work need not be lost because that is where they should be. It is remembering the wisdom of the ancients that we should attach ourself to Him who is free from all attachments and bind ourself to that bond in order that all other bonds may be broken. In such a person who has grown to live, move and have his being in the higher tendencies of the mind there will be a perceptible glow of happiness as we have found in our Masters.
23. When we have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, we know that man can have no other vocation than to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and we tear ourselves from the thought membrane of unhappiness and darkness, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts of Masters we encounter. This is the sure way of being happy under all circumstances as I know and understand. The desire to serve others ladle fulls of happiness even as we find in the Master is the path to ever lasting happiness. Any amount of searching will not grant this to us. I do not know what our destiny would be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among us who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve happiness by continuously emitting the divine fragrance of the Love of the Eternal Master from the core of their hearts and being.