--Sri. Vidyadhar Joshi
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I feel happy in sharing my thoughts on Master’s statement, “The happiest man is he who is happy in all circumstances.” delivered in a message during Ashram Inauguration at Shahjahanpur in January 1976.
I recall that when I attended the introductory training program in 2001 Dec as a new aspirant in California, US, I asked this question, “How is it possible to be happy when we are undergoing grief? How is it possible to remain happy when many terrible things happen to so many?” I remember that it was few months after the Sept 11 attacks and the entire US was groping in a deep fear psychosis then.
All happens by the will of God. Whatever happens happens, for our good. Whatever has to happen, will happen for our good. This is age old wisdom coming from religion and tradition also and it has always been there, but when circumstances do happen to our disliking and even disbelief, are we able to live up this wisdom?
When I came back home from my last introductory sitting, my wife who knew nothing of our system then, remarked that I am looking much happier. It is true. I was simply happy for nothing obvious in terms of any circumstances changing other than the introduction. The introduction in the Natural Path is no ordinary event. It reminds us deep within our true nature and foments us to start our journey back which Master has called as journey to homeland. It gives a first hand experience of what happiness we are to seek. The first viveka we get thus is that now there is something beyond our desires and attachments to seek and it is certainly there within us for we are given a taste of it. The taste of Pranahuti for the first time generates that aspiration in us to seek that happiness which is beyond the existential plane where we mostly struggle for being happy.
In our journey we are to go nowhere in the sense of the term but be here in this world, discharging our duties duly and living happily up to the commandments of the Master. That is the remedy for being happy. Practice of Natural Path is unique in the sense that it does not leave us to merely following what good has been known, but by the imperience we get, we feel aspired to follow what is good. Master has summarized all the good in the form of commandments and it comes as practical experience to us that to the extent that we follow the commandments, to that extent we are happier.
We can say that we are happy in many circumstances than we would have been otherwise, meaning not following the Natural Path. However there remain circumstances having the potential to make us unhappy. We know that there are situations in life where we feel unhappy or disturbed for several factors and loose our calmness. We find ourselves in conflict and hard to reconcile that amidst tormenting states of mind, we should be happy. Many simply don’t even attempt to be happy under troubling or even mildly troubling situations in life and worst; many create unhappy situations themselves by simply brooding. Ironic as one may find, Master’s instruction to us is to be happy in all circumstances! That requires moulding and that is sadhana. It is possible by practice for those who aspire to be happy in the way Master exhorts but not for those who want to be happy in the way they demand to be.
Samskaras continually come to fruition and as a result we get pleasant or unpleasant situations. No one has issues with pleasant situations, but unpleasant situations are resented by many. But whether any situation in life is pleasant or unpleasant, joyful or sorrowful, Master should not be forgotten in either case. In the same message Master mentions “The things come and go, but we remain the same. If we thoroughly scrutinize ourselves, changeless state is there, but we are connected with the changeable and either we take interest in it or hate it, and both of them are the links for bondage. We should rise above all these things if we want to live a peaceful life. Our method brings out these results if we do practice it with interest.”
When we meditate on Divine Light in the heart, the practice of being unmindful of all thoughts, good and bad that arise at that time, thus helps us to loosen the bondage and mind gets gradually accustomed to the changeless state in us than running in a loop after the changeable.
Remembering Him always as the Goal allows us to take with equanimity, both the states of joy and the state of misery. Needless to mention then that Goal clarity is essential starting point for practicing this. It is our experience that when we feel tormented and disturbed for whatever reasons and are literally in unhappiness, a mere remembrance of Master dilutes the state of unhappiness. Further when we sit in satsangs or go for sittings, many a times there is complete forgetfulness of what we are troubled for. There is simple contentment and happiness in His thought. This reminds us that it is possible to be in a state of happiness always but this state has nothing to do with the external circumstances as such, the desires, their fulfillment, the frustrations or dejections we may encounter, materially or otherwise, likes, dislikes, rebukes, taunts, criticism, fear all the causes of unhappiness loose their grip on us and we are more aware of the silence that embraces us deep and the happiness that ensues from it.
The problem is that after some time we tend to come back in our state of unhappiness. Master further writes in this message,
“It is a hidden dictum of Nature that every soul must live a happy and restful life. If we do otherwise, we are spoiling His world. We are all family people, but we must be moderate in all our dealings and money is also essential for us everywhere. So it becomes our duty to have it for our maintenance and good living. But love of money for its own sake is a disease and a sort of sordid ambition according to Dunns.
Necessities of life should be meagre. "Plain living and high thinking" is an English proverb. Detachment in attachment is really needed. The happiest man is he who is happy under all circumstances.”
So it is Natures order that we live a happy & restful life and it is going against His world if we don’t try to be happy. Happiness is a practice as much as it is a state of mind that one aspires to be with respect to any circumstances.
Master talks about detachment in attachment. How is this to be done? It is done in our system in a positive way by developing Love & Devotion to Divine. Unless some love for Divine develops, following of the commandments with any sincerity is not going to be possible at all. Commandment 2 exhorts us to develop Love and Devotion and Commandment 3 exhorts us to not have our sight at any penultimate state other than Oneness with God.
Commandments 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 are more explicit in what needs to be followed so that we can be happy in all circumstances. Based on my understanding, I am giving a brief mapping of reasons of unhappiness and how they relate to following of commandments just for the sake of some analysis.
||Attitudes to be developed to be happy
||Addresses reason for unhappiness .
|Commandment 4: Be plain and simple to be identical to Nature. Reducing activities and superfluities in life. Seeking help from a fellow brother.
||Simplicity, Contentment, Due-attachment
||Frustrations, dejections with respect to desires, wishes, likes, dislikes etc. Brooding over past, general discontentment in life
|Commandment 5: Be truthful. Take miseries as Divine blessings for your own good and be thankful.
||Forbearance, patience, fortitude, truthfulness, gratitude
||Miseries in life, grief, troubling and trying situations in life, family troubles, health problems
|Commandment: 6 Know all people as thy brethren and treat them as such.
||Fraternity, Universal Love, gratitude
||Jealousy, hatred, ill-will towards others, prejudices
|Commandment 7: Be not revengeful for the wrongs done by others. Take them with gratitude as heavenly gifts.
|Commandment 8: Be happy to eat in Divine thought whatever you get with due regards to honest and pious earnings.
In practicality, there is no reason to delve deep in to reasons for unhappiness. We must just focus on the positive side of developing attachment with Master and following the commandments sincerely. When we experience happiness thus, commandment 9 which asks us to mould our living to rouse a feeling of Love and Piety in others will give us meaning to our life here.
Happiness in all circumstances can be had only when we seek happiness in Him and Him alone and not in any fulfillment of wishes. For this we seek His help and that is our prayer when we follow commandment 10.
In the final paragraph, Master writes, “I am here for the service of all and pray that everyone may get over his difficulties and live a happy life worth living for spiritualism. I do not belong to India alone, but to the whole world. So I want that all may taste the beauty hidden in love for the Ultimate.”
His prayer for us to get over our difficulties is not for our external circumstances to get mended to our liking, but we being able to mend our inner self to be happy in all circumstances.
In summary, to be happy in all circumstances, we have to practice happiness in the present than thinking it is a distant state we will arrive at. Remembering Master and following the commandments makes it possible that in that in the midst of all circumstances, we can surely attempt being happy and in our humble capacity make others happy to make our lives meaningful.
My humble pranaams to all of you for allowing me to share my thoughts.