The Hindu

Lasting Joy Must be Sought Within

15 July, 1997

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CHENNAI, July 15: Each one of us goes about life trying to do the best in any given situation, but it is a rare man who takes life in his hands. In the transient phase between the two existential realities of birth and death, every one has his share of fears and insecurities and seeks fulfillment in the resolution of his problems in the external world.

Man's happiness depends on a number of external conditions over which he has no control. Till a person reaches the point when he understands that lasting bliss has to be sought within, fulfillment is never possible. With every single action a human being consciously or unconsciously seeks joy, but in truth every adult has lost the joys of life.

What is believed to be the source of one's joy is mortgaged to external factors and even with all the material plenitude in this age, life has not become more joyful, the reason being that man has not bothered to come to terms with his own self. He is led to believe that by controlling the external factors he would be able to derive joy. Whatever joy one experience is relative because what we know of material life is only through comparisons. Man is a product of his mind and it is only by controlling the mind he can experience bliss.

Human nature can be distinguished into three types — animal, human and spiritual — and in the majority of people all the three co-exist in a state of flux. Man has progressed to this level in the long process of evolution and up to this stage the process has been unconscious. If he wanted to evolve to the higher level, he had to exercise his choice consciously, said Sri Jaggi Vasudev in his lecture.

"The human body and intellect are specially equipped for this conscious evolution — to realize man's spiritual nature which is the source of lasting bliss. If an analysis is made of the cause of man's sorrows it will be apparent that the majority of them are at the level of the mind. Physical suffering is insignificant when compared to the myriad problems man conjures up mentally. Man resorts to escapism at the physical level to alleviate his problems, little realizing that they have to be dealt with at a different level altogether.

An anecdote is related of a dejected man who came across a bag on the bank of a river in the twilight hour before dawn. Opening the bag without giving much thought to what it contained, he flung what he presumed were stones, one after the other into the waters till there was only one left. The rays of the rising Sun illumined the last stone he was about to throw when he realized to his dismay that it was a diamond. Man's predicament in life is similar to this situation and the present moment must not be squandered away.

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