Why Not Be Happy?
Maharaj Charan Singh says in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, “Everybody wants to be happy in this world. Nobody wants to be miserable. So why not be happy?”
All of us go through periods of happiness and misery. Each of us adopts our own means to try to avoid pain and misery and achieve happiness. Yet all those ways do not seem to be enough and we still realize that something is missing. Perhaps that is because real happiness is very different from the momentary feelings of joy that we often experience. A questioner asks Hazur in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III, “Master the word ‘happiness’ is sometimes defined as inner peace or calm or contentment. Is that what the Masters mean when they say we should be happy?” Hazur answers:
Happiness means perpetual happiness, perpetual bliss and peace within, not short-lived happiness or so-called sensual pleasures.… Happiness means that happiness which has no reverse reaction afterwards. That is perpetual peace and happiness.
By this definition, since the world is perishable, any happiness derived from the world is not sustainable and so it cannot be perpetual. Hazur says that happiness should have no reverse reaction afterwards. Does worldly happiness cause reactions? Yes it can. For example, if we go to a party and eat a lot of tasty food, we may feel happy but the next day we become lethargic and sleepy. Or we love someone or something very dearly and we are happy. However, the time surely comes when we are separated from the object of our love, and then the same object which gave us so much happiness eventually may become the source of our misery.
Saints tell us that lasting happiness is possible. Hazur explains in the same book, “The true and eternal happiness, bliss, peace, and contentment we can feel only when the soul is merged back into the Lord.” The soul, the life source within our body, is in love with its source, the Lord, but being separated from its source the soul is naturally unhappy. The soul wants to go back to its true home, to its Beloved where it will find peace and bliss. We can somewhat identify with this situation when we travel somewhere. It is fun and exciting, but it’s always a good feeling to come back home. It is said that “there is no place like home,” and this applies to the soul as well.
Hazur talks of this in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III:
When you are coming towards your home from a long distance, as you get nearer to your home you begin to have a little more sense of security within you. A sense of happiness starts coming within you as you come nearer and a feeling that you will soon be there.… Similarly, the nearer we are to the Lord, the nearer we are to our destination, the more contentment we feel within; the more bliss, the more peace, the more happiness we feel within.
Most of us are clueless as to how near or far we are to our destination. The path may seem long and we may start feeling unhappy when we seem to be making no apparent progress. Yet, don’t we feel a sense of happiness and lightness when we are focused on Master and our meditation – whether we see any results or not? Hazur tells us in Quest for Light, “The mere fact that God, in his mercy, has selected us to be put on the path should make us very happy.” What a great blessing and privilege to be initiated and be able to go back to the Lord. We may not grasp how great this blessing is, but by and by as we meditate, we begin to realize how lucky we are.
We have to put in our effort to meditate and leave the results to him. Hazur explains in Labour of Love, “If we live in his will and if we are grateful to him for whatever he has given us, then we feel extremely happy and light.” Acceptance of whatever he has given us lays the foundation for contentment.
We have a choice to either cry over our destiny and question the Lord or go through life with calmness and courage. Acceptance of whatever comes our way as the will of the Lord is possible when we have no expectations or desires. Similarly, if he or she completely surrenders to the will of the Lord, he or she can become carefree and happy. In Quest for Light Hazur says: “Forget the past. Live and meditate in the present, and do not worry about the future.”
We know this is not easy. Our past has such a firm hold on us that even when we sleep we dream of it; our mind contains a storehouse of memories that are so strong that they can move us to tears or laughter. And, of course, most of us are familiar with worrying about the future. The future is something of which we have no knowledge. However, the mind is such that many times it expects the worst in any situation, taking the negative outlook rather than the positive. If our destiny has already been written and we cannot change it, isn’t it better to wait for the future to unfold and take whatever happens as a gift from him? As Hazur explains in Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III:
What makes you worry? Uncertainty about the future and repentance for the past. So if everything is destined, then why worry? Whatever we have done in the past, we’re not going to solve the problem by worrying about it. We’ll be able to get rid of our worries with a practical approach. So attend to meditation. When your mind is attached to the Shabd and Nam within, then you don’t think about the past or worry about the future.… We must live in the present. Every day has to be lived. So we should plan for a day and then live it thoroughly and happily, and attend to our meditation. That is the only way one can get out of these worldly worries and worldly problems. And learn to accept rather than to demand.
Accept rather than demand – our mind is so conditioned to wanting, that most of us make endless requests, if not demands, for what we want. Many times we pray for something instead of accepting what comes our way. In the same book he explains:
Instead of asking the Father to give us the boons in life, we should ask him to give us that heart which is full of gratitude for what he has given to us. We need that understanding to thank him for what he has given, but we are always protesting what he has not given. We must believe that what he has not given is not meant for us, is not good for us, is not to our advantage. And for whatever he has given us in life, we should be grateful to him, we should be thankful to him.
Happiness will be ours when we have a sense of gratitude in our hearts. Hazur says in Quest for Light, “Please have no worry. God is always with you to help, guide, and protect. Go through your life with laughter and always have a happy approach towards it.”
Why not be happy?