In Pursuit of Happiness

You are the source of your happiness. Be happy 🙂

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create”.

 – Buddha

Happiness, one of the most sought out thing in the world. But what is this happiness? And why is it that only a few have found this and not the rest? Is there a secret map? Well, the answer is – No there is no such secret map.

Happiness is a state of mind where the individual is content from within and not due to any external stimuli. People who are happy have understood that happiness derived from external sources tend to fade away sooner or later but it is the happiness from being content from within that is ever-lasting. Happiness only comes to those who appreciate what they have. A very good example to prove this statement already floats in the internet. Many of us would have seen kids in under-developed regions or slums smiling from ear-to-ear in spite of having very little material comforts and yet the upper strata of the society having much more than this aren’t. Being comfortable and being happy are not one and the same.

Even the brightest/ richest people today commit suicide!! Why??? First of all, there is no guarantee of a tomorrow. There’s no guarantee that we will wake up tomorrow. If you do, there you go, you have a reason to be happy. Simply be grateful for being alive and try making your day as productive as possible. Failure is a part of life and is the nature of this world to have dualities (success-failure, cold-hot, wet-dry etc). One thing we must understand- Without sorrow we won’t know what is Happiness. This doesn’t mean we sulk and sit down waiting for happiness to come to us. Being happy is not a compulsion, it is a choice. 

Another reason why people aren’t happy because they place their happiness on people and other material objects. Which means only as long as that person or object is with them, they are happy. Once they go, so does the happiness. This is pseudo-happiness. We do not need others to keep ourselves happy.

Happiness is a contagious energy which radiates positivity all around. No one would like to hang around with someone who is pessimistic in life. Oscar Wilde said

“A flower blossoms for its own joy”.

Be like a flower. Be happy for yourself because you deserve it. Don’t do for others but for yourself because you deserve to be happy.

The question that remains unanswered: How to be remain happy? Quite an easy answer.

You are an individual, an independent one. If you are dependent on others to keep you happy, wouldn’t that make you a slave to their behavioural needs and emotions? It is ridiculous to think that somebody else or something can make you happy or unhappy. So, don’t give your remote to others. Operate it yourself.

BG 5.23-24

“Before giving up this body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and happy in this world”

“One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices every moment and whose aim is inward is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme”.

Thus, the path of spirituality too becomes easier when one is happy. Unless one is able to relish happiness from within, you cannot retire from the external engagements meant for driving superficial happiness. A happy person can therefore sit silently at any place and enjoy the activities of life from within. Such a person no longer desires external material happiness.

Anger- The obliterator of the Self

Buddha said,

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burnt”.

Anger is an emotion we all experience almost every-day. It is a strong negative emotion that has the ability to ruin the state of mind. Anger makes one emotionally disturbed, intellectually confused, physically violent and spiritually lost. The overall effect of anger is deadly.

“Anger is an enemy with the face of a friend. Anger is like a very sharp sword. Anger destroys everything”.

Ramayana

So, when does one become angry? Or more importantly, one must ask themselves, why am I angry? Or why should I become angry. It is a question that has different answers as different people have different trigger points, temper and reason.

In Sanskrit, anger has many synonyms but in English, they mean the same. For example, some of the synonyms of anger are Cope(कोप), Krodh(क्रोध), Dwesh(द्वेष) etc however the cause of Cope, Krodh and Dwesh are not the same.  The cause of Cope is issue based. It is temporary. Cope has to be shown at times in the interest of work. It is necessary to survive in this world. Krodh on the other hand is person based. In other words it is grudge. This should not be there. If this exists, slowly this grows into Dwesh (literally translates to Dvi+visha which is double poison). And Dwesh kills you every single day. They say poison kills you once and for all but Dwesh exists till death. The feeling of Dwesh is a nasty one. The very presence of the other person physically and mentally causes you to breed hatred and resentment towards the other individual. It eats you from within and you lose your state of mind. The peace which you actually deserve is lost for the simple cause of breeding hatred, anger and all such negative thoughts in your head.

A very good example to illustrate what damage anger does to oneself can be learnt from the Ramayana. Manthara, the personal maid of Queen Kaikeyi was obsessed with Bharat occupying the throne. She hated the fact that the whole kingdom loved Rama more than Bharat. This hatred that she bore flared up when she came to know that Rama was going to be coronated as King of Ayodhya. No sooner did she hear this than she ran to Kaikeyi to give her the “bad” news. Kaikeyi was joyful upon hearing the news but then Manthara manipulated her into thinking that Rama would enslave her son and rule like a tyrant. The seed of hatred has been planted. Now the course of action. Years ago, Kaikeyi received two vows from her husband, King Dasharatha. She decided to use them – First ask for Bharat (her son) to be coronated as King and second- Banish Rama to vanvas (to live in the forest) for 14 years.

You might think what is the big deal? Now Rama was not only loved by his father and mother but was loved by all. The whole kingdom in fact had started making preparations for his coronation. No sooner did the news break out to the people they were at a loss of words. And what was the news- Dasharatha fell unconscious (because he couldn’t imagine surviving without his favourite son), Rama has given up the throne and will go to the forest for 14 years (to fulfil his duty to abide by the promise given by his father to his mother), Bharat will be King, Kaikeyi asked such boons and Manthara was the root cause. Just observe. One person bore a seed of hatred and see how catastrophic the results turned out. The events later on turned to be worse but the point is look how dangerous how anger is.

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger”.

-Buddha

BG 2.63

“From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When the memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost and when intelligence is lost one falls down into the material pool”.

In conclusion, Anger is something we must avoid as much as possible. Unless and until is required to show it, it must be kept at bay. Anger can’t be avoided entirely because it is a part of our system but it can always be kept under control. As mentioned earlier, Cope must be used but never let it transform into Krodh and dwesh therein. Anger can truly disturb our state of mind. We may not be able to control our feelings but we surely have the power to control the shape of the mind. Its ok to feel angry at times but when it turns the state of mind into that of depression or resentment, beware!! You might have taken the wrong turn.

 

 

#10 year challenge

2019 started off in a crazy way!! An egg went on to bag the highest number of likes on instagram and shortly came the “#10 year challenge” . It required an individual to post a picture of him/her in the present and 10 years ago i.e., A picture that was clicked back in 2007-2009 and a current picture of the guy/girl would have to be posted with the script : #10 year challenge to show the person’s past and present appearance. It is also called #HowHardDidAgingHityou.

But lets pause for a moment and think. True, as mortals we all age but, ask yourselves these questions-

In 10 years, How much have we appreciably evolved in the mental platform?

In 10 years, How mature have we become?

In 10 years, How has your thought process evolved ? Is it actually evolving ? Are we actually involving in something useful ?

I mean, think over it! Is it really necessary? We all age but don’t you think that if we are actually mature we would focus on improving our understanding on the grand scale rather focusing on how our body has changed. The body has to age and die out one day or the other and this is the law of nature. No amount of external make-up can change the fact. Even the external make-up is temporary. We cannot control this change but what is under our control is the directionality of our mind. It takes the slightest tap to set the mind on the wrong path. Whether we like it or not, we must see the truth as it is- External beauty is temporary. It is the character that matters.

Bruce Lee said

” Knowledge will give you power, but character respect”.

BG 2.22

“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up old ones”.

BG 2.13

” As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change”.

Hence let us not worry how we looked 10 or 50 years ago- sure it will be nostalgic but it is more important to develop and control our minds. Let us strive to ameliorate our notions about the world and our psyche and see things the way they are.

Clincher

The year has come to an end. Pretty much, everyone has had their share of ups and downs this year. A multitude of people would have already listed down “New Year Resolutions”. These include to improve physical and mental well being, improve finances, improve career, education, get over grudges and so on.

35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions admitted they had unrealistic goals, 33% of participants didn’t keep track of their progress and a further 23% forgot about it. About one in 10 respondents claimed they made too many resolutions.. There can be several reasons such as – Lost track of it, Lack of will power, too many distractions and incapable of handling them, “Ahh leave it, will try it from next year”. Just as one plans ahead of any journey, similarly in the journey of life also, every individual must chalk out his/her steps. If one consults their own experience, they will understand that it is better to lay out short term goals which lead to a long term one. Many a times, people aim at the target but forget to reconsider the path. An aimless arrow is the most dangerous one.

As the year ends, I thought of putting across a few thoughtful quotes which would surely lighten the hearts of knowledge within us and take a step closer to realizing one’s self.

“Be a good person, but don’t waste time to prove it”.

“You’re the driver of your own life, don’t let anyone steal your seat”.

“Never apologize to others for their misunderstanding of who you are”.

“Be the same person, privately and publicly”.

“If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down”.

“The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life becomes”.

“If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living in the present”.

“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys”.

“Never get too attached to anyone, because attachments is the root of expectations and expectations lead to suffering”.

“Overthinking is the biggest cause of unhappiness”.

“Greatness in man lies in simplicity. Seeking attention only leads to disappointment”.

“Man acts according to his intelligence”.

“Remain humble no matter what your status is”.

“Never make a decision when you are in extremes of moods. Always make decisions with a calm mind”.

“Righteousness is useless unless paired with foresight”.

“Half knowledge is dangerous”.

Hope these quotes from the ancient times bring upon the light of wisdom in our life to carry on even in life’s darkest times.

Wishing you all a Happy and a Prosperous New Year. May you all find the courage even in the darkest corners of your life 🙂

The Material world

What is this material nature?

The Bhagavad Gita enlightens us about the five basic truths viz., The Jiva ( Living entity), Ishvara (Controller), Prakriti (Material Nature), Karma (Activity) and Time. This material nature is described as inferior in nature. Everything that we see around us is material in nature. The material world is characteried by its transience. Everything that is found in this world is temporary- It is bound to be destroyed or lost or replaced. For example, a house can be destroyed by natural calamities or destroyed to construct a new flat; telephones being replaced by smart phones; canons, bow and arrows replaced with heavy artillery, the list goes on. The description given by Bhagavad Gita on the material world is as follows:

BG 15.1-2:

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is said that there is an imperishable Banyan tree that has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.

The branches of this tree extend downward and upward, nourished by the three modes of material nature. The twigs are the objects of senses. This tree also has roots going down, and these are bound to the fruitive actions of the human society”.

The material world is nothing but the perverted reflection of the spiritual world. One-fourth of the creation is considered to be material and the rest is spiritual. Earth is not the only world that is created. There are 14 worlds- seven above (Bhu, Bhuvas, Svar, Mahas, Janas, Tapas, and Satya) and seven below (Vitala, Sutala, Rasātala, Talātala, Mahātala, Pātāla and Naraka). The earth is in the Bhu realm. The material world is just a mere reflection, therefore it is temporary and it isn’t real just as your image that is formed when you stand infront of the mirror.  It merely imitates your actions. Since, there is a reflection, there must be a source. This source is the spiritual world.

Then if this is the reflection, is the spiritual world just like the way we see the world? No. The spiritual world’s beauty is beyond awe!

BG 15.6

“That Supreme abode of mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world”

The spiritual world, the abode of the Supreme Lord is being described here. It doesn’t require sun/moon/fire/electrcity to light up the sky. The planets here are self-luminous. The Katha Upanishad (2.2.15) too confirms that the spiritual sky doesn’t need any of the above luminary bodies, for the whole spiritual sky is illuminated by the effulgence of the Lord. Part of this shining sky is covered by the “mahat-tattva”, the material world. Other than this, major portion of that shining sky is full of spiritual planets.

As long as the living entity is in this dark material world, he is in conditional life, but as soon as he reaches the spiritual world by cutting through the false, perverted tree of material world, he becomes liberated. In the conditioned state, the individual thinks he is the boss, but when he becomes enlightened/ realizes the ignorance he is in, he will strive to reach the spiritual realm. There he enjoys eternal bliss, life and is full of knowledge.  However, that doesn’t mean one can become detached from this material world by simply dressing in ochre clothes. He must be devoted to the Supreme Lord whole-heartedly.  This way he can surely become reach God.

Moksha comes with a price ( Part 2)

Why should one pay a price in order to get liberated from this ocean of nescience?

The answer is simple. If one has to get anything in life, he/she has strive towards it; perseverance, determination and routine. The same applies even to Moksha. Well, you might be wondering what is Moksha? In simple terms, moksha is liberating or rather breaking your self from the endless cycle of birth and death, breaking yourself from the cycle of karma (Karma is your activity. Whatever you do, good or bad, you get the reward/punishment for your respective deeds). In the Bhagavatham, the definition of liberation given is as follows:

muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ
sva-rūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ

” Liberation is the permanent situation of the form of the living entity after he gives up the changeable gross and subtle material bodies”.

However, feeing oneself from the bonds of maya( The external energy of the Lord) is not as easy as ABC.

One must train to control his/her senses to the extreme and subdue the mind. The mind may roam here and there but it is the duty of the individual to bring it back under control. The mind is always full of desires which will try to divert you. One cannot be desireless however, you change the quality of your desire. To break free from a bad habit or to advance oneself in the spritual realm all it takes is Abhyasa(Practise) and  Vairagya( Detachment). Take the example of a horse. The horse being restless by nature will try to be free from your clutches. If you don’t take control of the horse, the horse will take you for a ride to wherever it wants to go. So, you must be firm in dealing with the mind. Ofcourse it will be a tedious task to bring it under control but once you have it your command, imagine the wonders you can achieve. You hold the reins of your mind. You can direct and channelize your thoughts in whichever direction you want. This is abhyasa. Now you may wonder. If abhyasa is enough to bring the mind on track, why Vairagya. One cannot remove the quality of heat from fire or wetness from water; Similarly, the mind even if under your control will show the tendency to suggest the old sinful paths. Hence, with Abhyasa, one must detach from the old unrighteous path.

The path to moksha may seem to be one with thorns, but the goal for attaining Moksha- To be one with the Lord, to return to His abode should be thought and in an instant all these distractions will vanish. As Buddha said,

“Your pain is a part of your greatness”.

Logically, if someone were to give you a choice to sleep on a soft bed and a bed of rocks, what would one choose? It’s obvious. The soft bed. Even the person who is used to sleeping on rocks if the bed is given to him, he will know comfort. Similarly, we must aim for the higher taste (spiritually). Initially, it may be difficult to accept the change, but once you do, I can assure you, you feel a differnt aura altogether. In the material world, nothing is permanant- not even your happiness, nor your sorrow. Nor your kith and kin. Everything is just an illusion.

You may ask, if everything is illusional, what is real?

Lust

One of the three gateways to hell…. The sure path to doom and devastation

BG 2.62-63

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.

It is evident from the above verses that attachment causes an individual to fall back into the material pool. It is not an instant one but it is a series of steps  which are in fact quite subtle and they may occur without our awareness.

When the senses find something that gives it pleasure, it attaches to it. This can be for any of the five senses- eyes,ears,nose,tongue and skin. For example, an ice cream which is a favorite for millions, pleasures the tongue and eyes; music pleasures the ears and so on. Once the senses attach to the objects of their desire, the senses develop a lust to obtain/attain that object.

What is Lust?

BG 3.37

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna which is born of contact with the the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.

When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his love for Krishna gets tarnished with lust i.e., due to attachment, this love which we have for the Supreme Father gets transformed to lust. Love for Krishna can be transformed to lust by modes of material nature but transforming lust to love is extremely exasperating. When lust unsatisfied, it turns into wrath which is transformed into illusion. Therefore, lust is the greatest enemy which induces the pure living entity to remain entangled in this material world. It drags us from the plane of reality and truth and drowns us in the ocean of nescience.

Where does this lust originate from? The answer is also given by Krishna:

BG 3.40

The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.

Mind is the center of all activities of the senses. Thus when we hear about the sense objects the mind generally becomes the reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification and as a result, the mind and the senses become the storehouse of lust. Intelligence is the immediate neighbor the spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to attain false ego and identify itself with matter. The spirit soul thus becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakes this as true happiness.

BG 3.41

Therefore, O Arjuna, best of Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self realization.

Thus the Supreme Lord asks us to slay this enemy in the very beginning of the spiritual journey as it hinders the entity from attaining self realization. Lust is only the perverted reflection of love of God which is natural of every living being. If one is educated during the genesis, that natural love for God cannot deteriorate. Turning lust into love is the highest perfection.

Mind- Friend or Foe?

BG 2.56

One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness and who is free from attachment,fear and anger is called a sage of steady mind.

The mind is a friend of the controlled and the enemy of the uncontrolled. The individual who masters his mind, masters his senses. Controlling the mind is the x-factor in leading a spiritual life. We are where our mind takes us. The mind is potentially the most dangerous weapon. It has the ability to destroy and individual if not controlled.

The mind can be trained and it’s energy can be channelized to do productive work. The mind must be under control at all times. This can be done in several ways however the best and the most effective method is by chanting the Lord’s name, thinking of Him, serving Him. When the mind is trained in this manner it will have no choice but to be at your service.

If the mind is not controlled, it will create absolute chaos. The uncontrolled mind leads the senses to act as they will. If the mind and senses are not controlled the results are evident from the following verses.

BG 2.60

The senses are so strong and impetuous,O Arjuna,that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavouring to control them.

BG 2.67

As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the boat,even one of the roaming sense on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.

Thus, one must engage the mind and the senses in the service of the Lord.

The Essence of Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita was spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra to deliver mankind by giving a message which is very relevant in the modern ages. The Bhagavad Gita in a nutshell is “You have the right to perform your prescribed duties but you are not entitled to fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the result of your activities and never be attached to not doing your duty. Perform your duty and have faith in the Supreme Lord”.  It is in fact a boon to mankind and its significance can’t be given in a few words.

This book of 18 chapters and 700 verses.  is the ideal source of inspiration we can look up to. If one looks at the book deeply, one will observe that the solution to every problem in the world is encoded in it be it- controlling the mind, desires, lust, anger, taking a decision. There is no simpler book that enlightens us on the five truths: The jiva( the living), Isvara( The controller), Prakriti( The material nature), karma( Activity) and time.

The Bhagavad Gita is the essence of all scriptures. Reading and contemplating it is equivalent to mastering all the scriptures.One who reads the sacred conversation of Krishna and Arjuna with faith and without envy becomes free from sinful reactions and his /her ignorance will be dispelled. But the necessary condition is “without envy”. Krishna’s concluding statements are “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear”.

 

Are we living the right way?

Are we living the right way?

The news paper is flooded with articles about terrorisms, famines, child torture, injustice, racism, animal slaughter, loss of natural habitats, economy crash, ISIS and much more. People are crazy for some film actor/actresses. Ask yourself this question. What did the actor/actress do for you that you are showing them such devotion? All of us are misguided souls who is somehow try to fill the voids in our life.

Everyone is identifying everyone else with the appearance- Indian, American, Asian, Chinese, Black, White and the list goes on. We must cleanse this bodily concept of life. “AHAM BRAHMASMI”- I am spirit soul part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In the Bhagavad Gita, it is said:

“Janma mrtyu jara vyadhi

Dukho dusanu darshanam”.

This material world is filled only with misery. One who is born in this material pool is bound to undergo the stages of death, disease and old age.

An excerpt from Adi Shankaracharya’s Bhaja Govindam states

“Punarapi jananam Punarapi maranam

Punarapi Janani jatare shayanam

Iha samsare khalu dustare

Kripaya pare pahi murare

Again and again one is born,
And again and again one dies,
And again and again one sleeps in the mother’s womb,
Help me to cross,
This limitless sea of Life,
Which is uncrossable, my Lord.
We are eternal servants of Lord Krishna, we are individual sparks. Just like Krishna, who by nature is sat-chit-ananda (eternal-Full of knowledge- happiness) and we being part and parcel of Him are also in search of pleasure. In this world, people try to derive happiness in several ways- playing sports, watching movies, hanging out with friends, intoxication, gambling and the list goes on. All this may seem right, but is it so?

Everyone is busy solving problems by advancements of civilization, scientific knowledge and technology because they cannot solve the four main problems. Hence, they set aside these problems because they can’t make any solution and waste the human life.

What is the purpose of our birth?

The answer lies in Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18 verse 66):

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I will deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.

The universe consists of 8.64 billion bodies of which the human birth is a rare one and must not be wasted in nescience. In layman terms, if we simply waste our life by eating, sleeping, mating and defending what’s the difference between a dog on the street and us. Every activity that we perform if carefully analysed comes under the category of eating, sleeping, mating and defending.

Every human must understand his position- I am a conditioned soul. He should use this life to understand God and make solution to different types of birth, death and different transmigration from one body to another.

That’s the way to live!!!