Happiness is the universal quest and pursuit of every human being. We are born happy as a child, but somehow struggle to hold on to this blissful state while growing up. We do everything possible to attain happiness in our life, right from eating good food to wearing expensive clothes, from education to travelling across the world, from owning a dream home to buying a comfortable car and much more. Happiness still remains an elusive aspiration. Happiness has a different meaning for different people, based on their desire and its fulfilment.
Happiness that comes from fruition of desires is temporary and ephemeral. One desire leads to a second and the second leads to the third and so on, eventually becoming an endless chain of expectations. But happiness continues to be a distant dream. The reason lies in the fact that we don't comprehend the substance and profoundness of true happiness.
True happiness is a blissful state of mind which is characterised by stability (Sthirta) and equanimity (Sehejta). The Utopian state where there are no attachments, enemies, illusions or fears; a state where expectations are replaced with gratitude; animosity with love; fear and illusion with awareness. This, though it may seem a task, is actually a very simple process which begins by connecting with an entity that is eternally stable. The material world is ever-changing and the changeless in this changing world is the one and only all-pervading, eternal, permanent and formless One (Nirankar). Till the time we identify ourselves with our body, mind and possessions, we are bound to be caught in the web of fear, illusion, attachment and ego. We need to realize our true self by knowing the Truth, which is a process of seeking and finding the vivid distinction between the creator and the creation; eventually witnessing the creator in creation and the creation in creator. This knowledge has been passed down the ages by various saints and sages, who experienced the presence of the formless One, thereby attaining eternal happiness and bliss. This realisation and experience can be achieved even today. Once we realize this most noble and highest truth of life, that we as souls are an essential part of the over-soul, the omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent formless One, we start moving on the path of eternal happiness. Let us talk about this journey. To begin with, we tend to take things for granted in our lives, expecting more and more, which becomes a reason for our misery. Oxygen, for instance, was never taken as serious a blessing as it was during its shortage during Covid-19. Meeting friends and family, going to school for education, eating in a restaurant, all of this became a distant possibility during the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of expecting more from life, we actually need to be thankful for the infinite gifts we already have.
Gratitude bestows immense happiness, both to the giver and the receiver when offered with purity of heart. A simple ‘Thank You’ can transform a situation or relationship diametrically. Service of mankind, when done with selflessness is a natural outcome of gratitude. Gratitude should also not be with an expectation of the greeting or gesture to be returned. Even if we offer a glass of water to someone with gratitude and selflessness, seeing the essence of Nirankar in them, it becomes a reason for bliss and joy. Gifting, sharing and caring are extremely sublime and delightful acts. This kind of offering becomes Sewa (selfless service) rather than invoking a feeling of ego or arrogance. Just remind yourself about the last time you gave something to anybody and the very thought will bring a smile on your face. Giving away is an inherent trait of every part of nature, including humans.
The sun, rivers, trees, earth and air, all have been continuously providing us with their resources, without any expectation. But we humans become selfish and enforce conditions while giving away even a little bit of what we have and expecting much more in return. This is the reason for our sorrow. This does not necessarily mean that we should not desire to grow in life. It only means that after having performed a specific action, we should leave its outcome to the divine verdict, stay content and be thankful for what we are receiving. It means that growth is mutual and universal. We can't expect to save our home if our neighbour's house is on fire.
The second aspect that disturbs our happiness is hatred and animosity with others. The cause may lie in our judgements, assumptions or criticism; all of which arise from our ego, a false sense of pride that is attached to ignorance of our true self.
When we become aware of our true identity, which is beyond our caste, colour, race, religion or nationality etc., all of the above vices vanish, giving way to pure love and compassion. Judgements and assumptions are replaced with ‘the benefit of the doubt’ outlook. We see ourselves in others, celebrating diversity instead of creating walls and wars. A single ray of enlightenment can transform a vagarious mind, which is habitually attached to the ephemeral world; rendering it to become stable and aware, very much like a drop of rose essence that can transform the fragrance of an entire pot of water. What seems huge and unsolvable becomes tiny and irrelevant. Those who seem alien and opposite become lovable.
The perpetual mindful remembrance (Simran) of our eternal source is the only way to stay in this blissful state. Simran paves the way of being happy by feeding our mind with positive and happy thoughts. It does not necessarily mean sitting in a meditative posture and chanting a name or a mantra. Do we remind ourselves of our loved ones by sitting in a definite posture? As a matter of fact, we simply don't forget the ones we love. Likewise, once we come to know and experience the formless One, we don't need to remember it. Rather, we would never ever forget it. Our walking, talking, eating and sleeping would all turn meditative in essence.
A conscientious soul further seeks the company of other enlightened souls (Satsang), sharing and learning from each other's divine experiences and strengthening mutual faith and understanding. This threefold formula of Sewa, Simran and Satsang, after receiving enlightenment is a sure way to happiness and bliss. Happiness does not lie in the outer world, achievements or circumstances; it lies in our own vision and choice. If anyone can get us happiness, then that is our own self. Herein lies the concept of self-love; of loving ourselves not with selfishness, but with true understanding of the 'self. The 'self that has its source in the formless omnipresent God, the 'self that is beyond mind, body and materialistic possessions. Once this realization is established, we can nurture our mind, body and possessions without getting attached to them. This magical vision of detached attachment is the way to true happiness, also enunciated explicitly by various saints and sages. We, as children remain in this state for most of the time, but as we grow up, the conditioning (Samskaras) by the world around us traps us, leaving little room for the survival of our 'inner-child'. Thus, if we want to remain happy, we need to forget and forgive like a child. We need to sing and dance like a child.
Another reason for human worry and anxiety is fear and illusion. The fear of disease, death, failure or penury etc. and the illusions of our identity, our life and its objective. Once again, these can be overcome with the light of knowledge. When one realizes that death, disease and ageing etc. are inevitable parts of human life and that our life is just a drop in the ocean of our eternal existence then, fear disappears. A rope can induce fear in darkness, because its shadow might appear to be a snake to someone, causing illusion. But, as soon as there is light and the truth is evident; there is no fear or illusion. Fear is a result of ignorance. Awareness and enlightenment dispel all kinds of fear. When the boat of our mind is wavering in the ocean called life, it can be provided stability by anchoring it to the Truth. This stability translates into Happiness.
Greed and selfishness can give us only superficial happiness, that too only for a little time. Rather, the final outcome on this path is always regressive and baneful. Lasting happiness can be achieved by realizing and following the path of Truth, which can be prolonged and challenging, but most certainly, blissful and rewarding.
The object of happiness can be achieved through practical spirituality. Spirituality essentially means to 'Know One, Believe in One and Become One'. Practical Spirituality means to live Oneness, by humbly surrendering every action to Nirankar and establishing Oneness in the world through selfless service of all. We saw how humanity came together during the Covid crisis and people across the world came in support of each other surpassing all differences, be it caste, creed, color, religion or nationality. It was a sort of reminder that we might metaphorically have our individual identities as leaves, fruits, branches or flowers of a tree called humanity, but our fundamental identity is that of a tree; with our root being Nirankar. None of us can survive in isolation. We might be different, but are essentially One. Being One is the gateway to Happiness. Let's hope, pray and work to ensure that it does not take another pandemic to make us realize that there is Happiness in Oneness.
To summarize, realization of the Truth makes our mind stable and equipoised, leading to eternal happiness. Happiness is not to regret, rather learn from our past and not worry, instead work for our future. Happiness is to stay in the present moment with awareness, acceptance and gratitude.
(The author is the Spiritual Head - Sant Nirankari Mission)