The Path to Happiness and PeaceEvery one aspires for a satisfied, cheerful, progressive and fulfilling life. But only a few seem to have it…. Moreover, most people are often found complaining and suffering from varieties of tensions, fears, quarrels, jealousy, scorn, loneliness, infirmities, scarcities, diseases, etc. It is said that – “where there is a will there will be a way” or “necessity is the mother of invention”. But, that does not seem to quite work in this case! Man longs most eagerly for joy and peace of mind but hardly finds them. The reason is – nothing can manifest without a cause; goals or ends can’t be achieved without appropriate means. A wish alone remains only a dreamy desire unless backed by zealous and prudent efforts.
For every worthwhile goal there are some principles and some disciplines that define the optimal path to reach it. Every objective has some specific prerequisites to be met, certain methods to be followed to accomplish it. Half-hearted, haphazard or inappropriate approaches prove to be futile and bring irritation, depression and despair in return. Those dying to get a sky-flower have to wait life-long in vain. Their eyesight may freeze in staring to have a look at it but they won’t get even a glimpse of this ‘mirage’ in reality. Just feeling thirsty and crying for water does not pour the drops of water in our mouth.
Man burns and ruins himself in the fire of unending cravings. His dire desire for fulfillment always remains unfulfilled. We want to be happy but often find that the circumstances of life pull us back into the mire of discontent, desperation and worries. Can’t we ever come out of this vicious cycle? Is the aspiration for happiness impossible to be met? No! It can and should be fulfilled if pursued rightly. But, How? Let us look at the basic principles and the methods towards achieving this goal.
What is happiness? It is an emanation of inner harmony and peace reflected in a pure heart. What is sorrow? It is an outcome of infirmity, an image of ignorance. Ânanda (bliss) is a divine attribute. The eternal complementarity of Shiva and Shakti, Krishna and Radha, Ram and Sita, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Purusha and Prakrati described in the Vedic scriptures is absolute. So is the pair of ananda and anandamayi shakti.
Life-force cannot express itself without the physical body. The Supreme Creator would also remain ‘non-existent’ without its expression in the creation and manifestation of Nature. We would not have been able to conceptualize or realize the presence of God without having the faculties of thoughts and emotions….
The roots of unalloyed joy also lie in the feel of art and culture. Every expression, every entity, every feeling has a basis, a nature of its existence. The same is true of happiness. The Upanishads describe its source of expression as the vigour and radiance of the (inner and external) mind and the body: “Nayamatma Balahinena Labhyah”; the weak (emotionally, mentally, or physically) and ignorant ones cannot get the delight of the soul, the experience of ananda.
The Vedic Shrutis state – “Balamupasva”: Worship your bala – strength, courage, inner power. The physically weak, coward, ignorant, lethargic and dull persons also miss the real thrills of life. What to speak of happiness, even sustaining the normal life itself is too difficult for them. No one except the vigorous, courageous, awakened ones can attain and retain true happiness.
It should be noted that the words “shakti” and “bala” used here, don’t denote only their literal meanings (power and vigor). Rather, these refer to the grand majesty of human life, which is described in the scriptures to be expressed in seven faculties. The grand majesty (maha bala) lies in the harmonious combination of all these seven facets of its expression. As the proper functioning of the human body and operations of human life pertain mainly to the ten senses and the mind, so does the sublime spring of maha bala flowing through these seven streams of power. If there were any impurity, shortcoming or blockage in any one of these attributes, it would, to that extent, lessen or deform the total bala too.
The seven attributes for the expression of (maha)bala are – (i) Art: graceful artistic mode of doing things, civilized etiquette, cultured behavior, etc fall under the art of living along with the sense of appreciation for creativity; (ii) Health: Mental and physical health; energy, enthusiasm, tolerance, industriousness, vitality of sense organs and alertness of mind;(iii) Knowledge: Reading-writing, essential information of use on the physical, mental, domestic, economical, social, religious, political, geographical, international topics; rational thinking, sound reasoning, wisdom, etc are included here; (iv) Wealth: Income or resources to enable smooth transaction of the essential personal and familial duties through honest means; (v) Prestige: Respect, faith, cooperation, affection and benevolence of the relatives, friends and social acquaintances; (vi) Friendship: Association and support of the friends having integrity of character and caring concern; (vii) Mental Strength: Courage, valour, generosity, compassion, feelings of service and sacrifice, self-respect, responsibility, inner confidence.
These seven sources of inner strength are the key instruments for achieving fulfillment and success in any domain of life. Human life devoid of these powers is helpless and insignificant like those of the tiny insects. Only those, who possess this treasure of bala can boldly face the ups and downs of the worldly life and steadily cross the ocean of sorrows, adversities and ever new challenges. Perennial happiness is a boon of these seven attributes of the ‘God’ named “mahabala”. Success crowns those endowed with the radiance of vigor, prudence, courage, integrity, assiduity, benevolence and majesty of spirit. Those lacking in bala face failures and being unable to fight the Nature’s law of ‘survival of the fittest’ are, sooner or later, cast away in the ‘struggle for existence’….
Therefore, dear readers of “Akhand Jyoti,” arise and start cultivating unalloyed happiness in your life. The only way to do it is to generate power from within. Be strong; only then you will be able to cross the turbulent and turgid streams of agonies and adversities. Also remember that happiness and progress are not unilateral; neither can these be sustained in isolation. If you alone are stout, intelligent, resourceful and satisfied but others around you remain downtrodden, weak and ignorant, how will you be happy? How will you digest and enjoy lavish food if you try eating it while sitting amongst those starving to eat even a meal of coarse grains and those dying from hunger…? Attempting to do so will be rather cruel on your part. The cry of their sufferings, their jealousy, their oppression would also have a negative effect on your selfish attempts of ‘enjoyment’. The real taste and joy of food appears when you eat it in a cheerful mood with your friends or family members…. A healthy person cannot remain healthy for long if he is to live with the patients of cholera, plague, tuberculosis or other contagious diseases. Likewise, the strength, affluence and abilities of a person cannot make him truly happy and calm if the people around him are plunged in the filth of infirmities, scarcities and agonies.
Know this, all aspirants for happiness! And therefore pursue the motto of “live and let live” as – “you rise and uplift the others too,” “be happy and make others happy”…. Sprinkle the shower of your strength, talents, resources and joy upon others as well…. “Power and Service”, “Capabilities and Altruism” together should be the aim of your life if you really seek for lasting delight and progress in your life. This is the ideal of yoga. Literal meaning of “yoga” is combination of two things.You – the sadhakas of yoga, the seekers of supreme enlightenment, should first recognize the key to accomplishment of yoga-sadhana; it is hidden in the two-fold objectives of “knowledge and compassion”, “possession and generosity”.
You should combine your selfishness with selflessness, cravings with satisfaction. Your body finds joy in comforts but your soul always seeks inner peace. The body needs vigor, the soul needs soothing feelings of compassion and loving kindness. Selfishness is desired by the body, by the worldly self, while altruistic pursuits satisfy the inner self, the soul. Try to integrate the two. This yoga will enrich your life with enormous joy and light. This will bestow true happiness upon you.
A cart has two wheels. Our body also stands and moves on two legs. Clapping becomes possible with the active participation of both the hands. Man and woman both together make a complete human. The grand chariot of happiness in our life also has two august wheels, two golden pillars, two marvellous horses – one is “bala” and the other is “seva” (compassionate altruistic service). Cultivate and harvest your bala and also employ it in seva. Connection of the powerful poles of negative and positive charges generates a strong current of electricity. The commingling of the grand sources of potentials and social-service similarly produces the nectar of unalloyed happiness…. One experiences immense delight, enchantment and enlightened empowerment through heart after adopting this yoga in life.
Consider yourself as a soldier of the savior army of the Almighty, which has descended on the earth to generate and expand all round happiness in this world. “Rise and Uplift”, “Be Happy and Make Others Happy” should be your theme songs in your march forward towards the goal of universal happiness, harmony and peace. Following these sincerely in every dimension of life is true devotion. God is pleased with such devotees. HE looks after their wellbeing and bestows such devotees with divine grace.