(Spoken during the forenoon session of Swamiji's Amrita Mahotsava, 75th Birth Anniversary, on April 25th, 1997)
I know you are all happy, and you have made everyone else also happy. My wish is that this happiness of yours, this joy that you are expressing and manifesting here in satsanga and everywhere during these days, may continue for all times. You should find out ways and means of being happy always. This is the core of spiritual aspiration. All the devotees, all the sadhakas, the brahmacharis and sannyasins here are seekers of God. A seeker of God is the happiest person you can conceive. The seeker of God is happy for a reason other than what you can discover in the joys of material life.
It is important to remember that you have to find out the secret of being happy always. To be happy, you need not have to possess a large amount of valuable materials. Materials and objects that we accumulate do not bring joy. Things in the world appear to bring joy due to some mistaken notion in our minds. What these objects in the world do is to stimulate the mind in such a way that it is made to feel, for the time being, that it has got what it wants. There is a deceptive activity going on when the things of the world appear to be satisfying the mind inside. It is like dacoits collaborating with you, and repeatedly telling you they are with you, they are at your service, but the intention behind them is different.
How dacoits work with great affection and love outside was told to me once by an old veteran swami from Maharashtra. He went to Bombay and somebody came to him: "Swamiji, Bombay is full of dacoits. Do not keep things anywhere. Be very careful. Nobody should be trusted in this place." As the man was saying this, somebody from the top of a terrace threw some mud on this swami. "You see? Swamiji, this is the thing that people do here. You please go and take a bath and leave the clothes and bundles here. I shall take care of them." When he went unsuspectingly to take a bath near a water tap, some dacoits came and took away all that he had left there; when he came back after the bath, there was nothing.
Similarly, whatever mental strength we have will be depleted immediately by these dacoits of sense activity, these sense organs. But you will say, "What is the matter now? You said that I must be always happy." The source of happiness is in that particular invisible intermediary divinity that operates between the mind that thinks and the object that is thought of. It is not the mind that feels happy. It is not also the object that is causing happiness. An interaction between the object and the mind, mysteriously brought about by an intervening link of divinity, immediately splashes forth a light of satisfaction. God is working at that time in a mysterious manner.
It is left to each person to find out how one can be happy. If you are unhappy, you should find out the reason why you are unhappy. Always we make complaints that the world is bad, people are no good, everything is at sixes and sevens, and there is nothing worth the while in this world. But you are also a part of the world, so when you critically judge the people in the world, you are automatically including yourself in this judgement, because you are also one among the people.
The sources of trouble are not in here or there, neither inside nor outside; it is a total operation taking place in the whole world. A spiritual seeker is really a very mysterious person. Nobody can understand who a spiritual seeker is, what that person is thinking, and how he seems to be happy always, because he touches the source which is neither outside in the form of a thing of sense, nor inside in the form of a psychological operation. It is an un-understandable, eluding, divine operation between oneself and another. The connecting link between oneself and the world is beyond recognition and perception.
There is something which relates you to the world. That brings joy. We cannot understand easily what this thing is. The moment we relate ourselves to a thing, we feel satisfaction. This satisfaction arises through the relation, and not by either of the terms related. That particular term, related to another term individually conceived, do not bring satisfaction. There is a third thing which is the relation itself. In the act of bringing together two different things, the seer and the seen, neither the seer is happy, nor the seen is happy. There is something beyond both the seer and the seen. In every act of perception, and in every deed that we perform, there is a mysterious divinity that is operating everywhere.
God-consciousness perpetually maintained, the practice of the presence of God – not as a ritual or a kind of routine – is to be made a part and parcel of our daily life. At the background of thought, this consciousness should be maintained. Everyone should develop a background of thought. Whatever be the engagements of life and the business in which people are engaged, they have to retire to the background when the time for it comes. Birds fly, right from the morning to the evening; they soar up to distant places, but in the evening they come back to their nest and take rest. When everything is gone, the nest is there. They will come and take rest there.
There must be something to guard and protect you always, and nobody can do that. No man, no woman, nobody in the world can guard you or protect you. That background of thought that you have to be maintaining, as the replica of the activity of God Himself, will protect you. You should never feel that you are helpless, that nobody wants you. It is not true. Suhṛdaṁ sarvabhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati (BG 5.29): "Know me as your friend," says someone whom we have neglected completely, whose existence itself is not known. We give scant respect to that person. When you are in danger, when the time for utter suffering comes, that friend comes and tells you, "I am here with you." But that friend is such a great one that even if you have ignored that friend throughout your life, that friend will come and protect you at that time.
In times of danger, who will guard you and protect you? When you depart from this world, who will be there to give you consolation? Do you leave this world as a wretched nothing? Is it the purpose for which you have come here? We come to the world as poor nothings, and we go as poor nothings, so how is it that in the middle we look like emperors? How does something that was nothing in the beginning and nothing in the end become very big? Utter foolishness rules the world. The life that we live is a balloon. It looks large as if it is very much filled inside, but it is filled with nothing. You just think for yourself. When you have not brought anything when you came, and when you cannot take anything when you go, how is it that in the middle you think that you have got so many things? From where did it come? That which was not in the beginning and not in the end is not in the middle, also. So, we live an empty life. I gave the example of a balloon looking beautiful and big, but inside it is a hollow nothing.
We should not try to live a hollow life while appearing to be bulging like a balloon. Remember always that there is a great foolishness in everybody's mind. Remember how you came. Did you come like an emperor, and are you going to leave also like an emperor? No emperor is born into this world, and no emperor dies. It is a little biological stuff which parades its vanity in this world as rich, glorious, possessive – a king, and so on. Vainglorious is the life of human beings. It is necessary for everyone to assess oneself. Everyone should know where one stands in this world, and never make a mistake of wrong assessment of your own self.
We are fond of assessing others, but we think that we are perfectly all right. Judge not, because you shall be judged afterwards. Life is empty because it is a vacuum looking like a filled substance. I gave the example when there is nothing in the beginning, and nothing in the end, there cannot be something in the middle. That which did not exist in the beginning, and does not exist in the end, does not exist in the middle, also. So, do not be proud. Even pride with some meaning behind it can be appreciated; but meaningless, vainglorious arrogance, which is born of utter ignorance and stupidity, is something which no one can understand.
Spiritual seekers are the salt of the earth. Their thinking is quite different altogether. You cannot understand them because they think in a different manner totally, not as a common person thinks in the world. There is an inclusive, total comprehensive thinking manifested always in the mind of a spiritual seeker, and paltry fraction, dissipated thinking, is the nature of the ordinary mind.
So, collect your thoughts and let there be a new energy arising from the mind by the withdrawal of dissipating energies. Be satisfied with yourself, and it is not necessary for this satisfaction that you go to somebody else, to something else. Whatever you are, that you really are.
But also, never be satisfied with your own self; be unsatisfied with yourself because you have not ascended that level which you are expecting. Be satisfied with what you have, but be unsatisfied with what you are. This is what Sri Gurudev Maharaj mentioned once: "Be satisfied with what you have, but be unsatisfied with what you are." Here is the deep fundamental truth of spiritual longing. May you all be true spiritual seekers, lovers of God. This blessing be upon you all. These are the few words I can speak at this holy moment.