“Pessimism is a dread reality. Optimism is a faint cheering making the best of a bad job.” A poet went to the extent of saying that in this world of miseries and intense pain how a man can find release from pain unless he is no more.
Observing the sorrowful state of affairs, feeling cheerful and blissful seems to be an uphill task. This feeling is expressed as-
There is an incident in the life of Swami Vivekanand. He was talking enthusiastically about Vedas before his disciple. Then another householder disciple of Ramakrishna was also present. Both of them were listening to Swamiji’s captivating exposition of the subject. But after Swamiji had spoken at length the disciple of Ramakrishna said to him.
Naren, let me ask you one question. I know you have studied the Vedas and Vedanta philosophy in great detail, but do these scriptures suggest a way out of poverty, scarcity of food and all the other great problems plaguing the country?
My neighbour who used to cook meals for fifty people everyday has been without food for several days; a housewife was killed by rowdies the other day and a helpless widow has been dispossessed of her property by her relatives. Can your Vedas give them justice? Can your holy scriptures redress their sufferings and assure them and us that such things will never happen again?
He went on depicting the dismal picture of the society and cited more examples. Swamiji sat speechless. Tears rolled down his cheeks and he hurriedly left the room. In one of his lectures, Swamiji himself expressed his deep feelings that “man is just like a little moth placed under the wheel of causation, which rolls on crushing everything in its way and waits not for the widow’s tears or the orphan’s cry? The heart sinks at the idea. Yet this is the law of nature”. How, then, can one live with Joy? Is there no hope? Is there no escape? – is the cry that goes up from the bottom of the heart of despair. Then a voice comes from within “Know Thyself, ye children of Bliss. You and your father are one. You are All Bliss, All Existence and All Knowledge. You are the Pure and Effulgent one. It is a sin to call yourself a sinner. You are not the body, you are Spirit”.
It is the body that drags us down. It is attachment, identification that makes us miserable. The less the thought of body, the more bliss we experience.
I must think that I am the Spirit and not the body and the whole of this universe with all its relations, with all its good and all its evils is but a series of paintings – scenes on canvas – of which I am the witness.
The touch of ‘Spirit’ can paint the brightest colour even in the darkest places. It can cast a fragrance over the vilest thing. It can make the wicked, divine – and all enmity, all selfishness is effaced. For the realisation of this ‘Spirit’, our true ‘Self’ and living with Joy freed from the clutches of sorrow and suffering, the greatest help is Meditation (Dhyan). In meditation, we divest ourselves of all material conditions and feel our true nature which is All Existence, All Knowledge and All Bliss. We do not depend upon any external help in meditation.
Though it is so hard to reach the goal, yet our smallest attempts are not in vain. We know that nothing is lost. In the Gita, Arjuna asks Krishna, “Those who fail in attaining goal, are they destroyed like clouds in summer?” “Nothing, my friend is lost in this world. Whatever one does that remains one’s own. And if the attainment of goal does not come in this life, one again takes it up in the next life.” Otherwise how do you explain the marvellous childhood of Jesus, Buddha and Shankara?
Through meditation, we will realise that there is one Existence. There is but one Reality. That reality is Myself and all these sorrows, joys, pleasures, pains, happiness, misery are not true. Always think that there is nothing but Myself. Think always, “I am Brahma”, “I am He”, “I am He”.
This is recited melodiously by Gurudev Shri Swami Vishvas Ji. Get rid of all other negative thoughts. Everything else must be thrown aside.
To live with Joy, this fact that we are Spirit, Effulgent Soul and not the body must be repeated continually, poured through the ears until it reaches the heart, until every nerve and muscle, every drop of blood tingles with the idea that “I am He”, “I am He”. We live without fear when we realise that there is not another to make us afraid. When there is only one Existence, who will be afraid of whom?
Subject and object are one. Speaker and listener are one. Knower and known are one. The creator and the created are one. There is only but one Reality. There is only but one Divinity.
Fight, reason and argue that this can be the one Truth that there is one Existence, Reality is only one. You and your father are one. If there is nothing but Myself, what can frighten me? What can depress me? Once we have established it in our mind that this and this alone can be the truth and nothing else, stop the argument.
Vain arguments would lead us nowhere. Truth has now to be meditated upon and every idea that strengthens us must be taken up. In deep meditation, we would realise, “The mind does not exist, nor the body”. The idea of mind and body must go. What is left is Self, the repository of All Bliss. It is foolish to think of body and mind as our true Existence. It is the source of all sorrow. It is trying to cure one ailment with another. Realisation of our true nature – Self – is living with Joy.