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Lead a life of peace and harmony

LTP / July 16, 2024

Lead a life of peace and harmony

All through our lives, we have been striving, endeavoring, and searching for peace, happiness, or harmony. Yet, most of us haven’t succeeded in attaining it. Have you ever wondered why? It’s because we have typically been searching in the wrong place.

A disciple one day approached his guru and informed, “Guruji, I have come to this ashram hoping to find peace, but I am disheartened. I could not find it; so, it’s time for me to take leave of you.” The guru immediately bending down and searching, said, “I lost my needle son, can you help me find it before you leave?” The disciple joined his guru and began to search. After searching for a while he humbly asked, “Do you recall where exactly you dropped it, guruji?”

“Yes, of course, I dropped it in my hut,” said the guru. Puzzled, the disciple stood up and said, “Guruji, if you dropped it in your hut, why then are we searching out here in the yard?”

“Oh, that’s because it’s dark inside, and I don’t have any oil left to light the lamp. There is all this bright light our here, so I thought I will search here,” said the guru calmly. It immediately dawned upon the disciple that what he was seeking outside was what he had lost within.

Similarly, the moment we realize where to search for happiness, we position ourselves on the path to growth, peace, and harmony. However, the realization dawns upon us only when we understand why we aspire for happiness and why the material happiness doesn’t satisfy us.

Why Do We Aspire for Happiness?

God is an ocean of infinite bliss, and we souls are his tiny parts, as Shree Krishna assures:

ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूत: सनातन: |
mamaivānśho jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ |

                                       (Bhagavad Gita 15.7)

"The embodied souls in this material world are my eternal fragmental parts.

This basically means that we are tiny fragments of an infinite ocean of bliss. Swami Vivekananda would address people by saying, “O ye children of immortal bliss.” Just as a child is drawn to his or her mother, each part is naturally drawn toward its whole. Similarly, being infinitesimal parts of the ocean of bliss, we souls too are drawn to this bliss. Hence, everything we do in the world is for the sake of happiness. We all may have different views regarding where happiness lies or what form it might take, but all living beings seek nothing apart from it.

Why Doesn’t Material Happiness Satisfy Us?

The soul, being a tiny part of God, is divine in nature like God himself. Hence the happiness that the soul seeks is also divine. Such happiness must possess the following three characteristics:

  1. It must be infinite in extent.

  2. It must be permanent.

  3. It must be ever-fresh.

Such is the happiness of God, which is described as sat-chit-ānand, or eternal-sentient-ocean of bliss. Brahma Sūtra states:  ānandamayo ’bhyāsāt (1.1.12) “God is the veritable form of bliss.” However, the happiness we experience from the contact of the senses with their objects is the reverse; it is temporary, finite, and insentient. Thus, the material happiness that we perceive through the body can never satisfy the divine soul.

Where Do We Need to Search for Happiness?

There are only two realms in which our mind dwells — one is the realm of Maya (material energy) and the other is the realm of God. If our mind rises above the sensual perception of pleasures of this material world, it can easily get absorbed in God. Life becomes a sweet, continuous celebration when our every thought, word, and action revolve around the Madhurādhipati (the Lord of sweetness). This is the only formula for everlasting peace, enabling us to conquer our inner foes, reveals Shree Krishna compassionately:

दैवी ह्येषा गुणमयी मम माया दुरत्यया |
मामेव ये प्रपद्यन्ते मायामेतां तरन्ति ते ||

daivī hyeṣhā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te

                                            (Bhagavad Gita 7.14)

“My divine energy Maya, consisting of the three modes of nature, is very difficult to overcome. But those who surrender unto me cross over it easily.” The infinite, eternal, and divine bliss and peace that we souls seek can only be obtained from God. When we realize this, we will transform our senses and mind as instruments of devotion towards God and embark on the journey of peace and harmony.