Everything in the world works as per the rules of nature and it has been this way since time immemorial. The joy and sorrow that we experience is also governed by the same set of rules. But we can not blame God, if we do not understand or appreciate this.
If we follow the truth and play by the rules then we will encounter happiness but if we follow the opposite path then the result will be unhappiness and sorrow. Many a time it appears that people who indulge in bad karma and do not follow ethical principles are seemingly happy and are not incurring any hardships. But it appears so because we do not know what real happiness is
Only the truly saintly people understand true happiness. Remaining are immersed in the material world. Earning wealth, becoming physically strong, becoming influential and powerful in this world is often equated with happiness but this is a very low level of happiness many of which can also be enjoyed by the animals. In reality, they are just sensual gratification.
A powerful lion who roams free, devours all other animals, does as he wishes, instilling fear in everyone around him can be perceived to be happy as he can do whatever he wants. But this should not be the definition of happiness for the evolved humans as we are destined for and must strive for a much higher level of happiness and joy.
Understanding the principles of the indestructible soul, experiencing true fearlessness, feeling the sterling purity of the heart are the elements of true happiness worthy of the humans. The happiness associated with the physical world, experienced in the Realm of world or annamaya kosh are short lived and illusionary and at best can be defined as pleasure.
The happiness which is everlasting and eternal is found in the Realm of bliss or anandmaya kosh. As explained by saints, the moment of true sorrow is the moment when one forgets the beloved almighty God and true bliss is the moment when one sees him illuminating his heartland. He further says that He is willing to be put through any type of physical hardship as long as God remains in heart and thoughts all the time.
There is an incident described in Hindu mythology which conveys the message across effectively. When Lord Krishna was about to leave Hastinapur for Dwarka, the Pandavas ,Draupadi and Kunti were grief stricken. Lord Krishna asked them “I would be leaving now. Let me know what your wishes are and I will fulfill it”. Everyone asked for something or the other.
In the end lord Krishna turned towards Kunti and said “Oh mother you have not asked for anything from me ever. Let me know what is in your heart and I will fulfill it. Kunti said “Lord, you have given us everything, made us victorious in the epic battle and given everything to my sons. I do not have any other wish left. But if you really want to give me something then bless me that I never ever forget you in my life. Whenever I have remembered you, you have taken away all my miseries and hardships. I have also realized that I remember you only when I encounter difficulties and hardships. So, please divert all difficulties and hardships towards me so that I keep you in my thoughts at all times”.
One can divide the living beings into three levels based on the kinds of happiness they experience and seek . The lowest level includes the animals. Their life is governed solely by nature. They live in the world , exhibit desire, rage, love for their offspring, enjoy food, sleep etc. There is no mindfulness and mindful thinking involved. They just keep following their instincts . There is no real affinity or aversion to anything. They are just going through their existence.
The next level includes humans with devilish instincts. These are people, who do everything that the animals do and indulge in all sorts of bad behaviors to obtain physical joy and seek fulfillment of various desires and gratification of their physical needs. They even indulge in various falsehoods, lies and undesirable behaviors often directed at harming others. Filled with malice, they are often outwardly pleasing talking well but full of deceit from inside. They are always on the lookout for fulfillment of their desires and are completely blinded by ego and a sense of pride.
The third category includes humans with divine propensities. Their heart is filled with unconditional love for everyone. They become unhappy in other people’s sorrow, always remember God and are kind at heart. They are stable and consistent in their behavior, see a reflection of God in the fellow humans and all creatures of the world and always feel connected to the eternal soul. These are the people who are actually always internally happy. These are the people who are actually worthy of being called human beings.
You must have heard of the interaction of Nachiketa and Yamraaj (Hindu God of Death) described in the upanishads . Yamraaj was really pleased with Nachikata and asked him to make a wish. Nachiketa requested him to unravel the mystery to the path of self realization so he could seek oneness with God. Yamraaj tried to lure him away by offering Nachiketa numerous worldly pleasures including everlasting youth, immortality, grandeur and prosperity.
But Nachikata declined all of them saying that all these are destructible and were no match to the eternal bliss of self realization. He only desired the knowledge which takes one beyond the cycle of birth and death. He pleaded that he only craved the awareness which reveals his true identity and imparts completeness. So there is nothing else left to know.
Such realization and this complete knowledge is the real source of eternal happiness and peace that each one of us should seek. We should constantly analyse ourselves to determine whether we are truly seeking this eternal joy or are just wandering around in search of the superficial pleasure of this physical world.
Translated from an article titled ‘Aatm Nirikshan’ by Pandit Mihilalji by Sanjiv Kumar.