What is the key to obtain everlasting happiness?

What is the key to obtain everlasting happiness?

Contents


1. Importance of discourses and satsangs (spiritual meetings)

Several people listen to stories, discourses, lectures on Spirituality and read holy texts as well. But the science of Spirituality is knowledge of The Infinite. As such, the endeavour to understand it shall go on eternally. With regard to Spirituality it is important not merely to understand the theory but to realise its significance in one’s life and to actually undertake spiritual practice so as to experience it. In brief, it is important to ‘live’ Spirituality. Spirituality is a science which can be learnt through practice and spiritual experiences (anubhutis). However, one will not get spiritual experiences without actually practising Spirituality. Hence, in these articles we will mainly discuss the ‘individual spiritual practice’ that one should follow.

2. Spirituality and its importance

To understand the meaning of Spirituality and its importance in human life, first and foremost we should acquaint ourselves with the objective of living beings and that of man.

2.1 Objective of living beings – to experience the everlasting and Supreme Bliss (Anand)

Every living being (jiva), from the smallest insect or ant to the more evolved human being, is constantly in the quest for the supreme quality of happiness. However, schools and universities do not teach how to acquire this happiness. Happiness which is everlasting and of supreme quality is called Bliss. The science which teaches how to acquire Bliss is termed the science of Spirituality.

2.2 Reasons for rebirth of man

Man is born repeatedly for two reasons. The first, that is 65%, to experience happiness and sorrow according to destiny and the second, that is 35%, to make spiritual progress so as to acquire Bliss (Anand). Each one of us harbours at least some desire to return to Blissful Brahman from Which we have been created. We will discuss further what one should do to achieve this goal.

2.3 Happiness and unhappiness in the life of a human being

Most people experience the truth of what Tukaram Maharaj has said, ‘Happiness seems as minute as a grain of barley while unhappiness seems as huge as a mountain’. In an average person’s life happiness is 25% and unhappiness is 75%. Since most people do not know how to attain Bliss, each one tries to acquire atleast temporary happiness through the five senses, mind and intellect, by way of such things as eating one’s favourite dish, listening to music of one’s choice and so on. Similarly, one makes efforts to overcome unhappiness by taking medicines during an illness, getting the television set repaired when it breaks down, etc.

2.4 Causes of happiness and unhappiness

Causes of happiness and unhappiness according to various paths of Spirituality are as described in the table below.

Path Cause of happiness or unhappiness
1. Path of Action
(Karmayoga)
One experiences happiness due to merits
and unhappiness due to sins
2. Path of Devotion
(Bhaktiyoga)
Remembering God is happiness and
forgetting Him is unhappiness
3. Path of Knowledge
(Dnyanyoga)
There is no happiness or unhappiness.
Everything is Brahman itself.

The causes of happiness and unhappiness may be physical, psychological or spiritual. Examples of these are given below:

  • A. Physical: Physical distress due to an ailment
  • B. Psychological: Mental distress upon deception by someone
  • C. Spiritual: Unhappiness arising from failure in an examination despite working hard, failure in arranging a suitable match despite maximum efforts, etc.

The causes of happiness too, are physical, psychological and spiritual. However, one usually does not think about them as one does not feel the need to do so!

2.5 Ability to recognise through the intellect the cause of unhappiness which lies beyond the intellect, in the spiritual realm

If any of the following two factors is applicable, then usually the cause for unhappiness is spiritual.

  • A. Poor success despite maximum efforts.
  • B. When several members of a family suffer simultaneously. For instance, in a family, one son was a psychiatric patient, the second was divorced by his wife within ten days of marriage, the third gave up his studies midway and they were unable to arrange the marriage of the daughter who was beautiful, well educated and earning a good salary. All this was causing mental stress to the parents. In short, the entire family was unhappy. In such cases, usually the unhappiness is due to dissatisfied deceased ancestors’ souls.

2.6 Importance of Spirituality

From the above discussion one will realise that this subject is useful for both, those who have worldly pursuits as well as those with an inclination for Spirituality. In other words, Spirituality is useful to each and everyone of us.

  • A. In the case of patients, if one is to explain briefly so as to convince one intellectually, then spiritual remedies are extremely important in the following two types of illnesses:
    1. Man can do nothing about old age, incurable illnesses and death. In such cases, if a patient is depressed, then to overcome the despair, this may be used as a therapy to cultivate a philosophical attitude towards it, in him.
    2. In cases of obsessive compulsive disorder, a mental illness, it is useful to keep the patient’s mind preoccupied.
  • B. In the life of an average person 20% problems occur due to physical and / or psychological reasons. Another 30% are due to spiritual as well as physical and / or psychological reasons. The remaining 50% are solely spiritual in origin. This means that with the practice of Spirituality 80% problems can be resolved or the ability to endure them by accepting one’s destiny can be acquired through it.
  • C. Those desirous of worldly pleasure: Practising Spirituality with expectation (sakam sadhana) gives happiness and reduces unhappiness as well.
  • D. Those in search of Bliss (Anand): They experience the Blissful state by practising Spirituality without expectation (nishkam sadhana). Besides, their worldly unhappiness is also alleviated.

2.7 Physical sciences and the science of Spirituality

Why, one may ask, in this age of scientific research and progress, are we ignoring the modern physical sciences and going in the supposedly reverse direction, to the study of the science of Spirituality? According to the saying ‘Old is gold’, to make spiritual progress it is the eternal science of Spirituality alone and not the modern physical sciences which is useful. To understand why the physical sciences are not useful let us compare the physical sciences and Spirituality. However, to make worldly progress one should certainly make use of the physical sciences along with spiritual practice.

  Physical sciences Science of Spirituality
1. Medium of obtaining
the information/
spiritual knowledge
The external five sense
organs and the internal
sense organs i.e. mind
and intellect
The sixth sense organ
i.e. Jivatma and
Shivatma Note 1
2. Subject a. The Great Illusion
(Maya) Note 2
b. Various things
c. All created objects
Brahman, the soul

Only one thing
The Creator

3. Method of
obtaining
information/
knowledge
a. Relative to an object
(relative to place,
time, thing, etc.)
b. Understanding the
difference between
various objects.
Unrelative to an object
(not relatve to place,
time, thing, etc.)
Perceiving the similarity
or oneness between
various objects
4. In what state does
one obtain the
information /
knowledge
acquired ?
Waking state a. The superconscious
state (samadhi)
b. Natural state of
communion with God
(sahajavastha)
c. Liberation while
being still embodied
(sadeha mukti)
5. Duration of an
experience and a
spiritual experience
(anubhuti)
a. Short

b. Whatever is learnt
through experience
in this birth has to
be learnt again in
next birth e.g.
writing, reading, etc

a. Depends on the
duration of the
samadhi
b. Continuous
(sahajavastha)
c. External (Liberation) Whatever is learnt thr-
ough spiritual experience
in this birth is carried
forward to the next birth
6. Complete / incomplete
and true / untrue
The ‘truth’ in science
constantly undergoes
changes. Hence,
edition of books
require improvisation.
In brief, science is
incomplete and untrue.
Knowledge of the soul
principle never changes.
The truth found in
Spirituality is eternal
and beyond time. Hence
the Vedas, Upanishads
etc., have reprints but no
revised editions.
7. Contentment Absent Present as one
experiences Bliss
8. Definition ‘विगतं ज्ञानं यस्‍मात्‌ तत्‌ ।’
meaning that from
which knowledge
(dnyan) has departed
is science (vidnyan) is
how the word science
can be humorously but
aptly defined. Note 3
‘सा विद्या या विमुक्‍तये ।’
means only that which
liberates is called
knowledge (vidya /
dnyan). This knowledge
is acquired only through
the science of
Spirituality.

Note 1Jivatma refers to the embodied soul (jiva) which has experienced the soul principle to a very small extent, i.e. has experienced inferior spiritual experiences. Inferior spiritual experiences are those related to the five senses, mind and intellect, for instance, experiencing a fragrance in the absence of an incense stick, receiving an answer to some question. Shivatma on the other hand refers to the embodied soul which is in the process of merging into The Supreme God (Shiva), i.e. one which has experienced superior spiritual experiences. Superior spiritual experiences refer to higher supernatural powers (siddhis), Bliss (Anand) or Serenity (Shanti). Detailed description of supernatural powers and inferior and superior spiritual experiences is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 41 – Spiritual Progress, Chapter 42 – The Spiritually Evolved’ and ‘Spiritual Experiences of Seekers : Vol. 1 to 8’.
Note 2 – Hence this is like running after a mirage. The truth is never found in its pursuit.
Note 3 – According to Shri Dasbodh the real meaning of vidnyan is as follows –
The stance of a spectator is the action of the subconscious mind (chitta). Going beyond the mind (unmani), that is beyond the stance of the spectator is non-action (nivrutti). Where the awareness that I am the knower dissolves, is vidnyan (pure knowledge). – 7.4.50
At the level of Parabrahman both ignorance and knowledge vanish. Even pure knowledge (vidnyan) dissolves. [Only non-duality (advait) persists.] – 7.4.51

2.8 Atheism

‘Spirituality is not my cup of tea’ is what most atheists feel. This is because they believe that spiritual progress is something related to God. The reasons for this belief are as given below.

  • A. Nearly 90%-95% people who practise Spirituality in order to make spiritual progress follow the Path of Devotion (Bhaktimarg). Hence, some people wrongly assume that to make spiritual progress devotion towards God is necessary and since they do not believe in God they feel that they cannot develop devotion. Thus they conclude ‘this is not meant for us’. They do not realise that there are paths other than that of devotion for spiritual upliftment. Even saints who followed the Sankhya philosophy, worthy of being the masters of atheists, made spiritual progress and attained the Final Liberation (Moksha). Only 7 out of 195 verses in the Yogasutras by Bhagvan Patanjali pertain to God. The remaining 188 verses do not make even a passing reference to God. Should these atheists follow them, they too could definitely make spiritual progress and attain the Final Liberation.
  • B. The second important reason for confusion among the atheists is that they have not understood the real meaning of the words ‘Final Liberation’ (Moksha) and ‘spiritual progress’. In brief, making spiritual progress means attainment of the experience of Bliss (Anand) which is beyond happiness and unhappiness. Experiencing that state continually is the Final Liberation.

2.9 Meaningless rationalism

Functions of each of the five sense organs, five motor organs, mind, subconscious mind and intellect are different; for instance the mind perceives emotions while the tongue recognises taste. It is just impossible to intellectually measure such subjective experiences. Just as it is impossible to measure the proportion of acidity in a substance with the help of a weighing scale, so is this. Therefore it is incorrect to think that ‘only that which the intellect understands is true’. Spiritual experiences obtained during spiritual evolution too are beyond the comprehension of the intellect. What then is the use of rational thinking here? Just as auras, frequencies, distressing and pleasant energies, etc. are beyond the comprehension of the intellect, so is God. If this is so, then one will wonder why there is a need to read this holy text at all ! The answer to this is that though the taste of sugar is beyond the comprehension of the intellect, yet to experience its taste one needs to obtain it by using one’s intellect. Similarly, one can enjoy the Bliss of Self-realisation which is beyond the intellect by practising Spirituality with the help of the intellect. According to a quote, ‘The Upanishads were not written to convince the intellectual about spiritual knowledge on the basis of rational thinking but were written to lead the curious seeker (jidnyasu) on to the path of spiritual experiences (anubhutis)’.
Some rationalists do not realise that it is wrong to write or speak on any subject without first studying it. A question from a book published by a women’s liberation organisation asks, ‘We worship female deities along with male deities, when performing ritualistic worship (puja), then, why don’t we exclude female deities from ritualistic worship for four days of their menstruation?’ This has been written by one who is unaware of the meaning of a male and female deity. To put it briefly, since deities do not have physical bodies and since menstruation is a function of the physical body, the question itself is unscientific and ridiculous. However, the temple of Kamakshi, the famous female deity of the sorcerers (tantriks) in Assam, India is customarily kept closed for four days in a year because that active idol has been humanised. Similarly, in the Vaishnav sect, the temple is kept closed for reasons such as ‘now God is having His meal, He is sleeping’, etc. The meaning of God is clearly given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 7 – Supreme God, God, Incarnations & Deities’. Since last few years, rationalists have been constantly indulging in adverse publicity about Righteousness (Dharma), deities, saints, Spirituality, religious rituals and the Brahmans (priests) who perform them. Sanatan has commenced opposing this on various levels. As a part of this, Sanatan has even published a book ‘Ego of Rationalists’ in Marathi which explains the statements made by rationalists, according to the science of Spirituality. This too illustrates the futility of their concepts.
The founder of Sanatan Sanstha, Dr. Athavale is no less a rationalist than the ‘so-called’ rationalists. The research on hypnotherapy by Dr. Athavale which has won him laurels the world over, is also based on rational evidence. In Spirituality too, he makes use of rational thought wherever necessary. However, when the journey beyond the intellect commences, undue insistence on using the intellect proves to be wrong. In short, it would only be appropriate for rationalists to practise Spirituality themselves, for a few years and only then speak on it.
Several people study the writings of saints like Tukaram Maharaj but do not follow what They did, that is do not practise Spirituality. They just savour the fruit but are reluctant to toil for it (practise Spirituality) from the time that the seed is sown, till the fruit is borne.
Information acquired intellectually is inferior to spiritual knowledge (dnyan) acquired through spiritual experience (anubhuti)

  • A. Information received through the intellect mostly has limitations of time and place. For instance, when one sees a piece of chalk the information that one gets about it through the intellect is with regard to the physical aspects like colour, shape, weight, etc. at that given point of time. On the other hand, with the help of spiritual knowledge from the subtle dimension, acquired through spiritual experience, one is able to perceive much more information related to its past as well as future, such as who has used it, where it was manufactured, what its fate will be, etc.
  • B. Intellectual knowledge is stored in the brain cells. Since the brain cells start degenerating with age, one becomes forgetful. Contrary to this, since spiritual experiences are experienced by the embodied soul doing spiritual practice (Jivatma) and the God realised soul (Shivatma), they are never forgotten.
  • C. Intellectual knowledge acquired in this birth is useless in the next. So, in each birth one has to start studying afresh from kindergarten. Spiritual experiences of the embodied soul doing spiritual practice and the God realised soul are retained even in further births.

Saints have expressed the futility of mere verbal knowledge in the following words.

  • ‘The web of words is a great forest which causes the mind to wander and creates confusion.’ – Shri Shankaracharya, Vivekchudamani 60
  • ‘There is no need to study the scriptures or the Shrutis, to embark on pilgrimages, study the yogas, perform sacrificial fires or undertake observances or intense penance. Do not fear time, do not be afraid of evil people, but never forget The Lord, Shambhu whose remembrance liberates even the sinner.’ – Shridhar Swami (author of Shivalilamrut)

2.10 Social commitments

Spirituality recognises four debts, namely, the debt to God, to sages, to ancestors and to society. However, these are all considered from the spiritual point of view. Social obligations due to psychological involvement are not included in Spirituality. For instance, although ‘Each one gets the result according to one’s actions’ (Law of Karma), is a doctrine of Spirituality, terms such as equality used at the psychological level are not relevant in the realm of Spirituality. In Spirituality, one also needs to be committed to the Everlasting Truth, that is to the Guru. However, since society constantly changes, social commitments also do. Hence, they cannot be included in Spirituality. As stated above, the commitment to society from the viewpoint of repaying the debt unto society by way of teaching society to follow Righteousness (Dharma), overcoming injustice inflicted on society, falls within the perview of Spirituality. In a way, this is spiritual practice itself.

2.11 Charvak philosophy

Charu means melodious and vak means speech. People love this doctrine because Charvak itself means ‘melodious speech’.

यावज्‍जीवेत्‌ सुखं जीवेत्‌ ऋणं कृत्‍वा घृतं पिबेत्‌ ।
भस्‍मीभूतस्‍य देहस्‍य पुनरागमनं कुत: ।।

Meaning: As long as one lives, one should live happily, feasting on clarified butter (ghee), even by incurring debt because once this body is reduced to ashes, it will not be acquired again. Everyone will readily listen to such advice but very few are inclined towards service and sacrifice for a spiritual cause.

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