When Lord Yama knocks one's door

Giridhar giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN
Mon Jan 18 06:51:17 CST 1999

>>Raviji, I have one further question. Why should I seek God ? I know about
>We all seek God whether we know it or not. I think the question
>is "Why do I seek God?". brahman is sat-chit-Ananda. He is
>unalloyed bliss. We all seek happiness, but in the duality of
>pleasure and pain.

                Ravi has wonderfully explained the essence of the
philosophy. Would like to add a few more sentences to the
above points..

                Whether we seek God or not, everyone seeks happiness.
We begin (and hopefully not end) life with the belief that
happiness can be had in and through this world. What keeps us
from pausing and correcting this false belief is the thought
that we are getting or shall soon get from life -- happiness.

A life of placid enjoyment is naturally inimical to serious introspective
thinking. A tragic experience in life shakes this well grounded false
belief. An example that is given is that we wake up immediately and
question the reality of the dream only when we get nightmares, and not when
we have pleasant dreams !

        Even after finding disappointing - and sometimes even
intolerable - we seek happiness from the world. Maybe it is
because we do not have a right understanding of the true
happiness and the source of it.

        To understand what happiness truly is, we need to define it
as something that is constant, and that will abide by us
always. What the world has given us so far and what is promises
to give is something that is variable and ephemeral. This is
rightfully called pleasure.

        We may think that a constant stream of pleasures can
produce happiness. It is a fallacy because the very nature of pleasure is
to be transient since pleasure and pain are inseparable companions. Certain
things give us pleasure but the same objects do not give us equal pleasure
at all times; sometimes, they may even give us pain. An example given is
that cold water is soothing when we are standing in sun, but it is harmful
to us when we have fever.

        Further, if the pleasure we taste are from things, then it
has to be more when one has more objects and less when one has less
objects. But, the rich are not exactly happy and the poor are not exactly
unhappy. Atleast, the happiness does not seem to related to the number of
objects one has. But all alike are supremely happy in deep dreamless sleep.

We are thus justified that true happiness is something belonging to us.
Sages from time immemorial have taught us that pleasure has no independent
existence and it does not reside in external oibjects at all; pleasure is a
release of our own natural happiness, imprisoned in the depths of the
being. The release occurs when a desired object is won or a hated object
removed. A street-dog munches on a bone and releases blood from its own
mouth. However, it thinks that the blood is coming from the bone and
continues to munch it. Similarly, we assume the happiness we enjoy in the
things we seek and try to get hold of.

We know that not getting what we want or getting what we don't want is
suffering. The only question is whether getting what we want and not
getting what we don't want is also suffering. Actually, they are also
suffering. Most of us when we get what we want don't really enjoy it. It is
like eating a small ice-cream cone. One eats it hurriedly so that the ice
cream won't melt and make a mess. If we do not get it, we are unhappy.The
pleasure from these objects are so fleeting, yet the mind tries to repeat
this experience and assumes it as happiness. Desire tells us each time,
'Get this, and you shall be happy.' When it so happens that we can't get
this object, we experience sorrow and unhappiness. Neither are we happy if
we get it, since desire soon finds something else to strive for. Similar to
desire, fear is also without end. Thus, one can come to the conclusion that
so long as one is under the sway of desire or fear, one can not be happy.

Then, is desire and fear simply controlled by mere will power i.e., self
effort ? One does find that, while effort is very important component and
is vitally important, real progress occurs due to God's (or Guru, there is
no real difference) grace. And thus one needs to seek God, to satisfy our
own inner urge to be happy.


PS : Most (or all) examples are from the teachings of Bhagavan
Ramana Maharshi. All misinterpretations are only mine.

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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