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The Secret to Happiness Is 10 Specific Behaviors
Despite happiness being a primary human motivation, only one in three Americans say they’re very happy.
Several years ago in an interview with Conan O’Brien, Louis C. K. tells of flying on a newly equipped Wi-Fi airplane. He was amazed by the new technology. Until, during the flight, the Wi-Fi went down. Immediately, the man next to him became extremely upset. “As though the world owes this man something he only knew existed 10 seconds ago.”
Louis C. K. continues by describing people’s absurd frustrations with flying in general. People complain about it all the time “It was the worst day of my life! It took 20 minutes to board! We had to sit on the runway for 40 minutes!”
We hear complaints like these all the time. As if we’ve forgotten how incredible it is that humans can fly at all.
How are we so quick to take for granted the remarkable things going on in life?
Why is it so easy to complain?
Why do we focus on the negative?
Everything is amazing and nobody is happy.
However, happiness can easily be achieved even without the brilliant advances in the world.
Rather than being reactive to what’s going on around us, happy people take control of their lives and emotions. If you are unhappy with your life, who or what else can you blame than yourself? And if you can blame someone or something else, how is blame going to make your life any better?
Bad stuff happens to everyone. But life isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about how you proactively respond.
The following 10 behaviors, if applied, will change your life. Let me be clear, if you do these things, you will be an incredibly happy person.
1. Let Go Of The Need For Specific Outcomes
Not everything in life goes exactly how we plan. There are setbacks. Stuff happens. We mess up. Over-obsessing and basing happiness on specific outcomes leads to misery. Jeremy Piven, the famous actor, was recently interviewed by Success Magazine. During the interview, he mentioned that, as an actor, the only way to work is to go out and audition for specific roles.The challenge most actors/actresses face is that they get in their own way. It doesn’t matter how much homework they’ve done. If they’re too tied to a specific result, they can’t be present in the moment. They can’t truly perform their art. They come off as desperate. They get in their own way. Their performance isn’t what it could have been.Jeremy said that when he quit worrying about a specific result, he was able to be present during his auditions. He was able to be completely who he wanted to be. He wasn’t trying to be what he thought others wanted him to be. He performed his art.If he didn’t get the gig, either they didn’t get it or it just wasn’t the right fit. So he moves on to the next. In this way, he’s able to get the jobs he’s supposed to have. He’s not just trying to get anything he can get.
2. Define Your Own Success And Happiness
“Be everything to everybody and you’ll be nothing for yourself.” — John Rushton
No two human beings are the same. So why should we have one standard of success? Seeking society’s standard of success is an endless rat-race. There will always be someone better than you. You’ll never have the time to do everything.Instead, you recognize that every decision has opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s beautiful because we get to choose our ultimate ideal. We must define success, wealth, and happiness in our own terms because if we don’t, society will for us — and we will always fall short. We’ll always be left wanting. We’ll always be stuck comparing ourselves and competing with other people. Our lives will be an endless race for the next best thing. We’ll never experience contentment.
3. Commit 100 Percent To The Things That Make You Happy
“Many of us have convinced ourselves that we are able to break our own personal rules “just this once.” In our minds, we can justify these small choices. None of those things, when they first happen, feels like a life-changing decision. The marginal costs are almost always low. But each of those decisions can roll up into a much bigger picture, turning you into the kind of person you never wanted to be.” — Clayton Christensen
People are really good at self-sabotage. We consistently behave in ways that contradict our goals and ideals. This is incongruence. As Mahatma Gandhi has said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” The smaller the gap between what you should do, and what you actually do — the happier you will be.
Hence, Clayton Christensen says 100 percent commitment is easier than 98 percent commitment. When you fully commit to something, the decision has been made. Consequently, regarding that thing, all future decisions have been made.
Unless you’re committed 100 percent, you will always be a victim to external circumstances. By relying on willpower, you’ll crumble more often than you think. Research has found that people over-inflate their own performance. Chances are, you probably think you’re doing better at your resolves than you really are.
But once you’re 100 percent committed, you no longer need to rely on willpower. Your decision has already been made regardless of the circumstances. Saying “No” to anything outside our highest ideals becomes extremely easy. This is living proactively rather than reactively.
4. Be Grateful For What You Already Have
“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness] — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach
Happiness is as simple as gratitude. Psychological research has found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
Stronger immune systems, Less bothered by aches and pains, Lower blood pressure, Exercise more and take better care of their health, Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
Higher levels of positive emotions, More alert, alive, and awake, More joy and pleasure, More optimism and happinessSocial
More helpful, generous, and compassionate, More forgiving, More outgoing, Feel less lonely and isolatedDespite these benefits, most people ungratefully focus on what they don’t have. As a culture, we have become wasteful and undisciplined consumers. The grass is always greener on the other side. A constant pursuit of having more of the newest and best.
How could you possibly find happiness when you relentlessly want more and never find properly appreciate what you have?
It’s time for you to learn how to be more grateful. Your happiness depends on it.
5. Say “I Love You” More
This may be strange, but if you tell your friends and family you love them, they’ll be blown away. I once knew a Polynesian missionary who told everyone he loved them. It was clear he was sincere.I asked him why he did it. What he told me changed my life. “When I tell people I love them, it not only changes them, but it changes me. Simply by saying the words, I feel more love for that person. I’ve been telling people all around me I love them. They feel treasured by me. Those who know me have come to expect it. When I forget to say it, they miss it.”Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”As my wife, Lauren, tells our children daily, “The secret to happiness is to make everyone around you happy.” By default, you will get the satisfaction of bringing joy to others and their positive energy will come back to you.
6. Have Hobbies Directed Toward Your Dreams
Most people’s hobbies are just hobbies. And that’s okay. It’s good to have an escape from reality. However, research has found that a person can experience leisure in anything. Your work can become your leisure — where it literally rejuvenates you.When I decided where I wanted my life to go, my life vision, I consciously chose hobbies that would best get me there. Some of these hobbies include exercise, reading, writing, journaling, having deep and meaningful conversations, and being in nature. These hobbies refresh and rejuvenate me while simultaneously pushing me toward my dreams.
7. Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow For What You Can Do Today
“When I was around thirteen and my brother ten, Father had promised to take us to the circus. But at lunchtime there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. We braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say [into the phone], ‘No, I won’t be down. It’ll have to wait.’“When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know,’ [she said.]“‘I know,’ said Father. ‘But childhood doesn’t.’” — Arthur GordonHappiness comes from embracing the now. Not letting those moments pass you by. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, tells of the story of missing his child being born to be at an “important meeting.” He thought the potential client would be impressed with his commitment to work. Instead, they saw his decision to miss such a monumental moment as a flaw in character. That moment was a turning point for Greg. In fact, it spurred him to change everything about his life. He now removes everything from his life that is not vital and essential.Nothing in life is permanent. Kids grow up. Friends move away. Our loved ones pass on from this life. Let’s live in the present and appreciate the most important things in our lives before it’s too late.
8. Do Something Every Day That Terrifies You
Happy people step out of their comfort zone. You can’t grow if you don’t challenge yourself. And growth is a requirement of happiness. If you’re not growing, you’re slowly decaying and dying.
Elevated risk makes you feel more alive and puts you in a state of flow — which is an optimal conscious state where you feel and perform at your highest level. You become completely absorbed in what you’re doing — pure presence.
When you do things way outside your comfort zone, you naturally raise your conscious level. When you do things that involve high risk, and high probability of failure, you are forced to think differently than you normally do. You are forced to be creative and innovative.
Sadly, most people play life small, safe, and easy. The goals they pursue are logical. There is little element of risk and little requirement for faith.
Consequently, you should take bigger risks in your life. Do things that make you feel alive and activate flow. Of course, with this will come more failures. But if you’re not failing, you’re not growing. Rather than experiencing apathy in life, you’ll experience more of a roller-coaster of emotions. We can never appreciate joy if we’ve never felt sorrow. The more pain and fear we feel, the more we can comprehend and appreciate joy and happiness.
9. Put “The Important” Before “The Urgent”
Stephen Covey says that most people spend their time on urgent but unimportant things. We wake up and immediately check our email. Thus, we put our lives on reactive, rather than proactive mode. After all, email is simply a database of other people’s agendas.
Instead, happy people always put the important stuff first. Not only important, but important and non-urgent. The important stuff includes exercise, reading good books, setting goals, writing in your journal, and spending time with those you love. None of these things are urgent. We could easily put these things off until tomorrow — which is ultimately never. The most happy and successful people in the world spend most of their time on the important.
One of my favorite non-urgent yet important things is my morning routine. I wake up several hours before I start my work day. I meditate and pray to put myself in a space of gratitude and abundance. Then I get my body moving with exercise or yard work. I eat healthy food, read my long-term goals, listen to uplifting content, and do at least one thing to move me toward my goals.
10. Forgo The Good To Pursue The Best
A lot of things in life are good, even great. That doesn’t mean we should do them. In Good to Great, Jim Collins says that once-in-a-lifetime opportunities come up every day. Most people take any great opportunity that comes their way, even if it’s not in alignment with their life vision. Consequently, most people’s lives are moving in a thousand different directions. They aren’t able to consciously move forward in a singular direction.
On the other hand, happy people say no to even amazing opportunities. They will not sacrifice freedom for security. They will not get derailed by distractions — even sexy and attractive distractions.
Very few things in life are best. You can only determine what’s best for you once you know where you want your life to go. Be careful not to continuously engage in good activities and miss the best ones.
Happy people live in the present. They don’t miss the moments that matter most. They are incredibly grateful for all they have. They focus their lives on the important and essential. They forgo the many good opportunities in order to focus on the few best ones.
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Five Golden Principles
Wherever you live, there you are living in your home. The significance is not in living in your home, but if you live in God's kingdom then there is much significance and greatness. This home (kingdom) you have called your own. But this home was from the very beginning belonging to God only. Even right now it is God's and later on also it will remain God's. If you die, then surely this house will not go with you. It belongs to God only. Therefore from today onwards, accept that I live in God's home. Really speaking you are living in God's home. When you come to Haridwar the you say - Oh ! this is gateway to God's home. When you come to Vrindavan you say that this is the place where God engaged in His divine loving pastimes. When you go to Ayodhya then you say we have come to God's palace. Accept it as God's kingdom or God's home, then this very house that you live in will become Vrindavan. At all times let that thought prevail, that I am living in God's home, and we are his very dear ones that belong to him. From today onwards accept this. All of you, do not consider your home as belonging to you. Oh' It is God's home! We have considered it our home in the middle somewhere. Before it was God's, and later on it will be God's then in the middle how can it become ours? Simply for no reason you have put a stamp on it. There is a point that you must pay close attention to - whatever work you do, accept it as God's work and then do it. Whether it is washing your clothes, taking a bath. This body is also God's, therefore to serve God you are doing it's work. Eating and drinking is also God's work. Office work and business is also God's work. The Master of this entire world is God, therefore the master of all the bodies is also God.Therefore work related to this body and to this world can be whose work? It is God's work only! What a wonderful thing this is! We live in God's kingdom and we are doing His work - these are two points. Now the third point is - All the things that are in the house, they too belong to God only. If the house belongs to God and you belong to God then can the things belong to someone else? Mothers and sisters should want that they should take those things that belong to God and cook with them. In the mind must be the thought that Oh! it is for offering food to God that I am cooking this meal. Now offer the foods prepared to God and thereafter however many people that are in the house, understand them to be God's people and offer them food.Understand them to be God's loving people, they are God's very loving and sweet children. I am feeding them. I am serving God. Just like if you love someone's child, then his mother will be very pleased, won't she? similarly, if you serve God's children, then God will be pleased. What a wonderful point this is! Cooked God's food, offered it to God and fed God's children with the prepared foods. When you eat yourself, then too think of it as God's "prasad" (partaking in the food offered and blessed by God). How very wonderful! "Tumhi nibedit bhojan karahin | Prabhu prasad pat bhooshan gharhin || (Manas 2/128/1) As discussed earlier, make everything an offering to the Lord; not just food. If you wear jewellery, offer it to God "Thakurji". Wear only those clothes that belong to Thakurji. Let all things be taken in as if it is "prasad" (offering to the Lord), then all things will get purified. Have you seen this or not, that when food is offered to Thakurji's as "prasad" and is later distributed to all, then every person will bring forth their hand to receive the "prasad". Even if the smallest portion is given, then too he will be happy. Whether he is a millionaire or a billionaire, he too will bring his hand forward, and if you give him a small piece of the "prasad", he will be happy. Is this person hungry for sweets? If some millionaire or a billionaire asks for "prasad" and if you tell him let us go to the market and I will buy it for you from the market, then he will not be happy. He will say, am I starved of sweets or what? I want "prasad". Now tell me the importance of "prasad"? It is Thakurji's (God's) "prasad" (offering to the Lord). Everything in the house belongs to the Lord. If you follow this, then I would like to share with you a very great point. Have mercy and simply do it, then it is very great thing and very beneficial. Place "tulsidal" (the sacred basil leaf) on all the money - wealth that you have at home. On all the jewellery, clothes on everything place "tulsidal." Even for the house, offer it. On all animals, place tulsidal. On all children, place "tulsidal" Now whose children are they? They are Thakurji's (God's) children.It is like magic. If you are able to do, then I will share, but do it from the heart, then it will be magical. Son is rebellious and does not listen. With a true heart, lift off the proprietary interest (sense of mine-ness) you have in him and say that he is not mine at all. He is only Thakurji's (God's). The son will become totally alright. Just as when food it offered to God it become sanctified and many great people revere it. Similarly, with a true heart, completely wipe off your proprietary interest and only consider him as belonging to Thakurji (God) then he will be purified. He will become sacred. Try it and see for yourself. The challenge is to completely lift off your proprietary interest. Just like another person's child, similar is this child. if he dies then too no affect on you. He is not our child, if he dies the it is Thakurji's, whereas Thakurji's never dies. If he dies here, then there he is born. He is never apart from Thakurji. By doing so, the son will be purified. It is the truth. Sense of mine-ness (mamta) itself is impurity. Sense of “mine-ness” (proprietary interest) is impurity. It is due to mine that there is impurity. If you give donation - charity, then have no relation with it. “Daatavyamiti yadaanam deeyatenupakaarine” (Gita 17/20) “Anupakaareene” does not mean that the other person does not do anything helpful. IT is an understanding that previously the person did nothing beneficial, and there is no expectation that he will oblige in the future. Give donation to such a one, with whom you have no self-interest. Give to such people. Do not keep a selfish relation with family members. Both will lead to the same, as in the end only one will remain. Serve where there is no sense of mine or where you serve there get rid of the feeling of mine. It will be the same thing. We are God’s. We live in His kingdom. We do His work. We receive his Prasad. And with his offering, we serve his children. I too am receiving his “Prasad”. This is true “Pamchaamrt” (Five Golden Principles). From today onwards, grab hold of these points. “Sarvabhaaven maam bhajati” and in all sentiments and feelings worship only the Lord, therefore have the sentiments that this body belongs to “Thakurji” (My Lord). I am doing my Lord’s work. Then you will be able to do a favor for the Lord that Maharaj! (Great One) I am doing your work. A Brahmin used to keep saying - daily I feed one Brahmin. He used to eat himself and have the sentiments that daily he is feeding a Brahmin. It is such a great thing! Similarly, the entire family and various families all belong to Thakurji (God). I am taking care of Thakurji’s family. Even Thakurji says that he is taking care of the family Brother! God will be touched that yes! It is true! He is taking care of my family. When there is no sense of mine-ness, when there is no attachment, then God says that He is taking care of my family.In all sentiments, let God’s work alone be done. This will turn into pure devotion “avyabhichaari bhakti” We want to take nothing, we have no sense of mine-ness. There is neither selfishness nor proprietary interest. Whether home members listen to you or not, whether they serve you or not, we have to serve Thakurji’s family. We have to serve him, Brother! If family members do not work, then we should be happy, it is a good thing! If they work and do everything according to our preference, then understand that our good deeds are getting exhausted. Therefore if they do nothing and further give us trouble and sorrow, then it is a good thing. Even if mother-in-law causes suffering, if daughter-in-law gives sorrow, if sister-in-law or any one give pain and sorrow then be happy, thinking we are greatly benefited. We have to serve, and if they give pain then we will be doubly benefited. On one hand there will be benefit of serving “seva” and if they give pain and sorrow then your sins will be reduced. When will suffering remain, tell me? Even on getting suffering, there will be joy. There will be no place remaining for sorrow and suffering. All roadways will be blocked, then that itself is “sarvavit”. Have you understood this well? If you are becoming happy and unhappy with this world, then you have not understood this well. We are living in ever bliss. We have not the least bit of unhappiness. God supports, protects and takes care of everyone. He takes care of all, then such a devotee of God does not experience any sorrow at all. They remain ever blissful, they remain so joyful that with their association you feel delighted and intoxicated. By remembering Thakurji (God), bondages break off. Simply by reciting the divine Name, by remembering the Lord, by listening to His divine plays (stories) sins are destroyed, He is that pure. “Pavitraanaam pavitram yo mangalaanaam cha mangalam" In essence what is the point? It is a small thing. “I am only God’s” not anyone elses. For serving I belong to the world, but for our own purpose, I am no one elses. I only belong to God, simply accept yourself as being God’s, then this house belongs to God, this kingdom belongs to God, this family belongs to God, the wealth and possessions belong to God, the work is God’s, the food is God’s everything will become God’s. This is the absolutely Truth.I am sharing based on my very experience. The child that the mother has accepted as her own, when he climbs into the mother’s lap then the mother is pleased and joyful. If he climbs from the back onto her shoulder, then too she laughs and if he intentionally pretends to cry ‘Um-Um-Um” the Maa smiles that look he is pretending with me. What is that action performed by a child that the mother does not like? The child is mine. Similarly being God’s if we do all work, then all our actions will become worship and adoration of God. What to speak of worship and adoration, it makes God pleased, happy. Whatever work you do, God continues to remain happy. He is my child. My child is playing. What delight! The point is only one, to become God’s. This is the truth. If I ask you that have you taken birth in this household knowingly? If you are living, then are you intentionally living? If knowingly you are living, then who would be dead? No one would die. If you are living in a healthy body, is it knowingly so? If you were knowingly living like this, then do not ever fall sick. Whatever strength and intelligence you have, has it been knowingly acquired? Then why get old? Don’t become dependent. But you are becoming dependent. Therefore this pride is your own, nothing else. Your are simply filled with pride. Therefore I am Thakurji’s (God’s). I am dependent on God. Whatever strength Thakurji (God) gives, that alone I do. How much work did Hanumanji do? When Ramji went to Lanka, he created a bridge and then crossed the bridge. But Hanumanji simply flew over to the other side. Whose strength does he have? The strength that Hanumanji has comes from Thakurji (the Lord). “Baar baar raghubeer sambhaari.” “prabisi nagar keeje sab kaaja. Hrdey raakhee kosalpur raja.” It comes in Valmiki Ramayan that Hanumanji roared that even if thousand Ravans come they cannot spoil anything of mine, I am servant of the Lord (Thakurji).The world is suffering due to pride. Therefore have mercy and leave the pride, offer it to God, that I am God’s. All our strength has to be applied in doing God’s work. “Tvadeeya vastu Govind tubhyameva samarpaye”, “Sarvabhaaven bhajati maam” - with all sentiments they worship and adore God. Divine Name recitation is adoration, chanting holy name is adoration, reciting various scriptures is worship and adoration, to listen, to share, is all worship. By “Sarvabhaavena bhajati”, getting up, sitting, eating, drinking, sleeping, waking up, all work is God’s work that we are doing. What an elevated thing this is. We have taken refuge in the Lord and we will do only His work. The work is not ours at all. This is not our house, therefore it is no our work. All work is Lord’s work. I have heard from saints, he who cannot regard anything as his own, neither the mind, nor the intellect, nor the body, nor the life breath, nor the senses, nor the house, nor the wealth. When all things belong to Thakurji (Lord), then wherever they live there is nothing but joy! Everything is given to the Lord. Therefore they remain ever blissful. We have heard one thing about a Saint. Saints are very unique. When they go to the market and see the various different sweet dishes that are displayed, fruits that are kept and stores that are well decorated. Wherever they see some great things, there they stand-by and in their mind say, Lord (Thakurji), please partake in this offering. Please take these sweets as an offering. Simply standing they blissfully offer it to the Lord. Similarly, you too offering everything to Thakurji, please accept this offering, then it all becomes an offering. You tell me, what is the difficulty in doing this? Then you too do this. Who is preventing you from doing so? Wherever you see anything wonderful, offering it to the Lord (Thakurji). Everything belongs to Thakurji. What should we do? We will simply rejoice. Now we have no work remaining. Now it is only Lord’s work, Lord’s Name, Lord’s contemplation, listening to Lord’s divine stories. What work is remaining for you to do? You are doing the Lord’s work. Lord is the master of all the work in this universe. By offering everything that belongs to the master at his lotus feet, how much do you have to exert, tell me? You tell me that this is mine, but for how many days? How many years will you continue to say that it is mine? As such it will eventually remain the Lord’s. Therefore while living, turn it over to Him from the heart, then it will be joyful! What an easy and what a deep well grounded point this is! Saints have said - “Ram naam ki sampada do anter tak dhoon | Yaa to gupatee baat hai kaho bataave koon" Who will tell such a great point? And how easy it is! What a high class point this is ! What a worriless, fearless, blissful point this is ! neither worry, nor fear, nor dejection, nor desire to live, nor desire to die. We have no desire whatsoever. May our desire be blended (one) with the Lord. Now however the Lord does, however he keeps us -
“Jaahi vidhi raakhe Ram, taahi vidhi rahiye |SitaRaam, SitaRaam, SitaRaam kahiye"
We have no demand, nor any wish. By this our troubles will be wiped out, and God will become pleased with us. By considering it as ours, there will be worries. It is my room. Certain things are lying there. Clothes are drying there. Someone will take them, then there will be worries. Now when it is all offered (turned over) to God, then what ecstacy ! If it goes away it is the Lord’s, if it remains it is the Lord’s ! Narayana! Narayana! Narayana!
From book in Hindi "Jeevan Upyogi Pravachan" by Swami Ramsukhdasji
Goal of Human Life?
Question: How are we to know that our aim is exclusively and only God (Self) Realization ? Since wealth is also worthy of being acquired, honour and status are also worth attaining, comforts and conveniences are also desirable, so many things are to be achieved, the question arises as to how to be sure that “God Realization” is the goal of our life?Swamiji: Is there anyone among you who wants such happiness that is not complete and perfect? Does anyone want happiness that is incomplete and transitory? Does anyone want a life that does not remain; that we live at times and other times we do not live? Does anyone here desire knowledge that is incomplete?We all desire happiness that never ends, a life that is eternal and knowledge that is perfect and complete in itself, knowledge that does not have the least bit of incompleteness in it, knowledge that is supreme and perfect. In fact, this longing within is the longing for the Supreme Truth of Life, God (Paramatma). Besides God, there is nothing which is eternal, perfect and absolute.We continue to suppress this desire to seek Truth by petty worldly desires and become happy and unhappy at times and intervals. Even a dog is pleased by happiness in small measures. A donkey too is pleased that way. That happiness should be achieved which is in no way incomplete, which is perfect in itself, that is not mixed with the least bit of sorrow or unhappiness. The world is incapable of offering happiness that has no deficiency or shortcoming. Thus worldly pleasures or happiness is not our goal. It is not our destiny. When we inquire on this deeply, we will realize that, that kind of happiness which is eternal, indivisible, without permitting any deficiency is only in one Supreme entity, the Lord-of-all ( Paramatma). In whatever measure the worldly things may be achieved, wealth, money, possessions, position, posts, name, fame, glories, kingdom, honour, respect, status etc., may fall to our lot, but that cannot give us contentment or full lasting satisfaction. On the contrary, let there be “more of it”, yes, still “more of it” such grows the greedy desire for them.We want to live, it means that we are dying or else why should there have been a longing to live? It is true that there is a desire to live. Having understood and known much in the world, there still lurks a desire to know ever more. Having obtained things in plenty, the desire to have more and more persists. Having done a lot in life, there is always a keenness to entertain the idea that though much has been done, yet this much has still to be accomplished. This sort of deficiency or incompleteness which is felt is knowing, gaining, doing etc., need to be recognized by man. It must be realized that this deficiency the world can never remove. This whole world may be achieved and yet this emptiness can never be filled, because the world is impermanent and ever changing. But think a little, what will happen once God is realized. In this regard, the Gita says - “yam labdhvaa chaaparam
laabham manyate naadhikam tatah.”
i.e. Having realised whom there is no gain higher than that.” Such is his experienced belief which none can shake. Having established himself in such a perfect state of God Realization, even the heaviest affliction born of stormy situations in life cannot in the least shake him from his solid rock like faith.
“yasminsthito na dukhena gurunaapi vichaalyate”
Even if he is sandwiched between the two conflicting mighty rocks and his body is crushed, then too even by that excruciating pain he is not dislodged or dissuaded from his unison with the Supreme Self. That pain has no access there. The pain cannot even touch that soulful state. Happiness is so much there that there can be no higher bliss than that. No sorrow can even cast its shadow on it. Tell, who wants such a blissful blessedness? People get contented even in small shares (alpa); that is a very big mistake.
The seekers do commit such a big error that while following the path, they get pleased or contented with elementary success midway. There is a Marawari saying; “adhe kutte kholana hi kheera hai.” i.e. for a blind dog even the “Kholana” (water from strained vegetables etc) is as good as rice cooked in milk (kheer). Similarly there are people that become highly pleased even with the acquisition of a little wealth, wisdom, honour, and fame in the world. What is truly achieved? The worldly achievements whatever it is, is indeed a deception. We need to realize the Supreme and the superior most truth! Even if we need wealth, it must be of the best and highest nature. Whatever we want, whether wisdom, riches, honour, status, praise, life, we want it to be of the noblest, purest and highest order. None can uproot this fundamental desire of man’s heart! And, nothing short of God Realization can satiate this deep-seated longing, because the supreme Tattva is no other than God Himself.
Arjuna says -
Na tvatsamo’styabhyadhikah kuto’nyo
lokatraye’ pyarpratimaprabhaava (gita 11/43)
i.e. Thou are of illimitable power and effect”; there is none like You; how can then anybody be more higher than what you are! Achievement of such a supreme thing should thus be the goal of our life.
That Tattva which was realized in ancient times by the earlier great ones, that sages and seers, saints and Sadhus, Sanakaadika and Devarshi Narada, Brahmaa, Shankara etc., - that very truth is realizable and can be realized even now in this Kaliyuga today. The worldly goods can not be obtained by one and all, but God can be realized by everybody. There is not a single man for whom God is inaccessible! Realization of that supreme truth, God alone, is the goal of human life.
My aim is God realization - only man is capable enough to realize this thing; not any other living being! Amongst living beings, cow is very holy animal, but we cannot make her understand this truth. Ponder a little, please, on the point. You come to Satsanga so early in the morning from very far distances and that too daily. Do you get any money here? Or any sensual enjoyments? Or any honour? Or any gains? Or any profits that you earn over here? If none of these then tell me what brings you here for satsanga so early in the pre-dawn hours?
Listener: We get peace and solace to our soul!
Swamiji: Peace perfect and full is what we need. If you get some or little amount of peace here and then you go away; and if your peace does not stay for long thereafter, then what is the use or value of such incomplete or transitory peace? We need the highest kind of peace which never comes to an end. But the mistake occurs when we get pleased with only petty peace of worldly nature!
One man was going to his village on a camel. He reached a mid-way village at the fall of night. There at one place a marriage ceremony was taking place. Drums and trumpets were being beaten and blown. That man was a Brahmin. Having reached the spot he came to know that “Bhoora” was about to be disbursed. “Bhoora” in Sanskrit is known as a special gift given to Brahmins on wedding occasions. That Brahmin fastened the camel outside the house and went inside to obtain the “Bhoora”. The thieves who happened to be there, saw the camel and they rode off with it. The Brahmin receive four annas for his “bhoora”, but when he came outside and saw the missing camel, he realized that his loss was significant – Rs 500, the cost of the camel.
The purport of the illustration is that in the petty achievements of transitory worldly things, some honour, some wealth, some pleasure, some status, some exotic foods – the camel of God Realization is forgotten and lost sight of. Such is the plight! The great Bliss is forsaken in favour of temporary glitter of worldly pettinesses, and small pleasures!
Eternal happiness is being lost in ephemeral happiness! People become happy in small doses of honours. One saint was told by some people that he was highly honoured and respected by them. The saint said : “What honour you can confer! Dust? All of you people can hardly pay any honour. We are honoured by God! What power have you to honour us? Truly, indeed, God alone decks His devotees, the saints, with the honour of immortality! How does a worldly person know what the real honour is?
The supreme gain which you crave for is in reality, the deep longing for God Realization. You may call, if you so desire, this longing “the urge to know”, “the urge to love” or “the urge to be happy for ever”. “the urge to see God face to face” “the urge for God Realization”. All mean one and the same thing. Only this is our goal. Be firm and fixed on this objective. Do not be pleased with the incomplete. If you do not get stuck up in the half incomplete, you will realize, the full.
This human body is the best of all the living forms. So, its ultimate goal should also be the best. There should be no higher goal than that ever thinkable. It is thus self-evident that God-Realization is the highest and the noblest goal of human life. Human life is meant only for this supreme purpose. Listener: Where is the guarantee, Holy Sir, that by giving up worldly pleasures, the highest truth of life will be attained? If we give up one and do not gain the other higher one, then shall we not remain empty altogether?
Swamiji: Arjuna also posed a similar question that if a seeker of yoga dies midway on the path of Yoga without realizing the Supreme, what plight would be of the poor one? Does he become “ubhaya-bhrasta” or fall from both the ends (Gita 6/37-38)? The world was renounced and God was not realized before he left his mortal coil – then will he only hang in between them? The Lord answered: “No Partha! He suffers no fall: neither in this world, nor in the next world; because O’ dear he who walks even little on the path of spiritual well-being never slips into any wretchedness or plight “durgati” (Gita 6/40).
If you happen to come across any traveller on the noble way of Welfare Supreme, you will yourself realize this truth. His gaiety, his bliss, his God intoxicatedness will have a peculiar halo, a specifically distinctive ring. The seekers of truth do register spiritual progress and they certainly enjoy extraordinary and ecstatic joy of life whereby they can never give up their search or Sadhana. That which is Supreme Bliss is obtainable by all, there is no doubt about it. Why is there no doubt? Because when we undertake spiritual practices, the peculiarities of divine life reveal themselves to us. Let you go in for soulfulness of divine discipline and then, the mysteries will be unfurled unto you too. There is an immense gain or joy in the association of the holy persons (satsang). We have not seen any other “upaaya” or means of realizing the highest goal of life. Countless are the means and people do follow one or the other of them, but the gain we obtain through Satsanga, we cannot acquire through any other means which we may adopt even for years.
From book "Be Good" by Swami Ramsukhdasji
नारायण ! नारायण ! नारायण !
To be happy in one’s own happiness and sad in one’s own sadness is beastliness, while to be happy in others’ happiness and sad in others’ sadness is humanity. Therefore, as long as, a man does not develop the nature of becoming happy in others’ happiness, and sad with others’ sadness, he does not deserve to be called a man. His appearance may be like a man, but in fact he is not a man. So long as a man is happy in his own happiness and sad with his own sorrows, it means that he has not developed humanity in him.
He who harms others for his own happiness and pleasure, does not deserve to be called a man. A man is he who having renounced his selfishness, does good to others or at least does not in the least cause any suffering to others. Therefore the lesson that needs to be learned is that let no one experience any pain or suffering, in the least bit through our actions. Besides trying to relieve the people of their sufferings, we should aim at their welfare, keeping in the forefront, how they can be benefited? May all beings be benefited!
“Remain engrossed in the welfare of all.” (Gita 5/25; 12/4).
We are only responsible for the welfare of others to the extent of our ability, power and resources. No one can make everyone happy. Even all the men in the world pulling all their resources together, cannot make a single man happy. The reason is that as a man’s desire for prosperity, pleasures, honor and praise etc., are fulfilled, the more they are strengthened. In the Manasa, it is mentioned,
“Jimi pratilaabh lobh adhikaayi,”
“The more a man gains, the more greedy he becomes.”
Even on acquiring an abundance of riches, the man can’t be satisfied. When the entire world together cannot make a single man happy, how can then one man relieve all people of the world of their suffering? However, all can adopt the feelings and sentiments, of wishing well for other’s welfare, i.e. “How can all be happy?”, whether he is a brother or a sister, young or old, rich or poor. No one is deprived of this right.
He who does good to others according to his power, God does good to him according to His power. If he applies all his power to do good to others, then God also applies all His power to do good to him. When God applies His powers, then how can he remain unhappy? No one can ever make him unhappy; and such a person attains God. The Lord declares -
“Te praapnuvanti maameva sarvabhootahite rataah.”
“Those who are engrossed in the welfare of all beings attain Me.” (Gita 12/4).
We should wish -
“Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah;
Sarve Santu Niraamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraani pashyantu,
Maa kaschid dukhabhaagbhavet ||
“May all be happy, May all be free from diseases, May all attain benediction and May no one suffer in the least.”
He who wishes everyone to be happy, healthy and totally free from all sufferings, deserves to be called a human being. As long as he is not saddened by the sufferings of others, till then he cannot be considered to be a man. Second point is that, he who empathizes and identifies with the suffering of others, does not grieve from his own grief. You all pay attention! Only he, who does not have compassion for the joys and sorrows of others, has to suffer. Only he who is a pleasure seeker, and hankers after riches, experiences the void of and lack of happiness. But he, who is happy with the happiness of others, never has a shortage of happiness. How? His desire for enjoyment and pleasures perishes.
The desire for pleasures and prosperity is the main obstacle to God Realization. Sense pleasures and hoarding, will not permit man to realize God. The reason is that when he hoards, he does this with his body, and when he enjoys pleasures, he does so with his body. So if a man is attached to the body, an effigy of bone and flesh, if he is a slave to these, how can he attain spiritual enlightenment? But he, who is happy in the happiness of others, ceases to have the desire for happiness or pleasure, while he who is moved and distressed in the sadness of others ceases to have the desire for hoarding.
On being moved with the sufferings of others, man thinks of relieving the sufferers of their sufferings. Just as we spend money to relieve ourselves of our pain, similarly, we will be willing to spend money to relieve others off their sufferings. We will not be able to hoard too much money! Even if it is accumulated, we shall not remain attached to it, by thinking that it belongs to others. It is therefore mentioned in the Bhagawat -
Yavad brhiyeta jatharam taavat svatvam hi dehinaam |
Adhikam yo’bhimanyeta sa steno dandamarhati || (7/14/8)
A man is authorized to possess only the bare necessities of life. It means that the food which satisfies your hunger, the water which quenches your thirst, the clothes and house which are necessary for the bare maintenance of your body, are yours. One who lays a claim to anything else besides these bare necessities of life is a thief and will be punished. You may say that you have not got these from somewhere else, these are your own. But how are they yours? Did you bring even a single thing with you when you were born? Will you carry even a single coin with you when you die? Therefore all the extra things with us belong to those who have a shortage of these. He who is sad with the sadness of others, never hankers after pleasure and prosperity. His heart is filled with compassion which provides him with such a relish or joy which cannot be provided by mundane pleasures.
If you amass riches, it means that within there is cruelty, lack of compassion. Where there is compassion, there is no amassing of possessions for one’s pleasure. Why? Because he is naturally joyful! The happiness that comes from hoarding is of the modes of passion and ignorance. The happiness which is derived by being happy in the happiness of others is not changed into pleasures and prosperity, but it is a kind of bliss! a very joyful feeling!
He whose nature and inner sentiments (bhaav) are to share in the sufferings of others, can never ever enjoy pleasures while others are suffering. A person with a noble heart can’t cook and relish delicious dishes, if his neighbor is starving. Under such circumstances, he can’t relish food at all. But those people who cause suffering to others, will they suffer on accord of other’s sufferings? Such people who cause suffering to others for their own happiness, dishonor others for their own honor, blame others for their own praise, dismiss others for their own position, don’t deserve to be called human beings. They are not human beings at all. They are animals! Animals that are so lowly, that they have neither horns, nor tails. They possess human body and beasty nature. Birds and beast are purified by reaping the fruit of their sinful actions. But vile persons, who cause sufferings to others, pave the way to hells by committing new sins. In the Ramcharitramanasa Lord Rama says to Vibhishana –
Baru bal baas narak kar taataa |
Dusht sang jani deyi bidhaataa || (Manas 5/46/4)
O’ dear friend, it is better to live in hell, but let providence not give us the company of vile persons (Manasa 5/45/4)
It is vile to be happy and sad with one’s own happiness and sadness. Our stay in hells will expiate our sins and purify us, while company of the vile will lead us to different kinds of hells.
Animals don’t incur sins by causing suffering to others because the ordinance of sins and virtues is applicable to human beings only. Birds and beasts cause suffering to others in order to satisfy their hunger, rather than for pleasure and prosperity. But a millionaire or a multi-millionaire that goes on hoarding wealth by causing suffering to others does not deserve to be called a human being. He is worse than an animal. This human life aims at purification. Those who cause suffering to others commit sins and they will have to reap horrible fruits.
The inner sense of those who don’t feel happy in the happiness of others and compassionate with sorrow of others is impure. Their impure inner sense paves the way to hell for them. The inner sense of animals is not so much impure because they don’t kill beings for pleasure. They satisfy their hunger with the kill. Men are free to perform new actions while animals have to reap the fruit of their past actions. Men prepare delicious dishes and relish them and thus they incur sin. True humanity consists in being happy with others’ happiness and sad with others sadness. So every human being should have the sentiment how can all beings be happy and how can they be relieved of their sufferings?
नारायण ! नारायण ! नारायण
From "Ease of God Realization" in Hindi and English by Swami Ramsukhdasji