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Spiritually Speaking

What does spiritual freedom mean?

Charlie Hogg

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In the world there are so many movements for the cause of freedom. Freedom is a deep need of each one of us. True freedom though is spiritual and means identifying and taking support from that which is permanent, that which always exists, that which is eternal.

I can only have and understand spiritual ability and power when I lay the foundation of my life on that which always exists — this is the way to deep spiritual freedom. If I hold on to anything temporary in this world, then that which I am dependent on will ultimately cause me suffering and sorrow in some form.

Spiritual power is lost through the network of ‘I’ and ‘my’ that we create and try to depend on. I look outside and depend on those things that give me temporary support. The ‘I’ of ego and the ‘my’ of dependency is like a sticky spider’s web and the paradox is, that the emptier and more insecure I feel, the more dependent I am on those things outside of me in the web, then the more trapped I feel. It is then that I call out to God to liberate me.

There are pulls, attractions and influences that I am dependent on. One is that I become dependent on a belief that I have of myself; that I am not really loveable, for example. Then even if I am shown love, I cannot really accept it because of the deep belief, on which I have come to depend, that I am not loveable.

God, though, sees the eternal reality of the soul. So, I have to break down these rigid, deeply held beliefs about my own limitations and take the support of One God only. This web, this creation and network I have created, has to be let go of. A spiritual journey is all about letting go. This needs a lot of courage. The intrinsic state of the soul is peace and freedom. This letting go of gross, subtle and refined dependence is the ultimate spiritual journey.

When I turn to God, then the gross dependence is easy to let go of, those things outside of me. It is the first big step. The next step is to become of service to others and become fully involved in serving, but this can also form another, more subtle form of dependence on the new relationships and activities. I begin to depend on this new image of myself, my role or position. To protect this new attractive image, I may begin to feel anger or jealousy. Because I value what I am doing, I fear it may be taken away from me. I may become defensive and territorial. I can tell if this is happening, because I will notice that I am not really happy.

Letting go and turning within I see that my mind is a sacred place, a still state of being, clean. I must not allow anything I see or hear, to penetrate this place and drive my thinking. Because this is also a dependence — to be under the influence of the power of the senses, of what the world is showing me. A true yogi sits in the sacred space of the mind and sees everything and hears everything and yet lets nothing enter or disturb that sacred space. They have become free of the dependence on the sense organs. Their mind is filled only with stillness and thoughts of what is eternal, permanent and always exists—God.

Charlie Hogg, based in Sydney, is the National Coordinator, Brahma Kumaris, Australia.

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Spiritually Speaking

Reboot the hacked mind to uninstall malware

Arun Malhotra

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Human brain is a physical entity. Brain has 85 billion neurons. Together all these neurons implement a mind in the brain. Human mind cannot know the mind itself. Human mind can know the brain. Human mind can observe the mind of someone else. Mind cannot observe one’s own mind.

A conscious mind is not conscious of itself. To be a mind one has to be the being first. And the one who is the being is the one who is the conscious being. A Conscious being is the one on whose canvas of consciousness a mind is conceived and operated.

Mind is operated on the body of the brain by application of 85 billion neurons that implement a mind. But no mind can operate itself. Mind is like an operating system and the brain hardware. Human body conceives a brain to birth a mind. Perception and memory are data that neurons carry back and forth that are processed in the mind. But mind cannot process data without theories and concepts. To run thoughts, memory, logic, decisions and cognising, theories and concepts are needed. Perception becomes thought and memory to breed concepts and theories. Therefore software is needed to run all that. Mind auto-creates dynamic software of theories and concepts within mind to implement the mind.

When you see, touch, hear, and feel perception is created. When you saw a flower for the first time perception is created. Next time you might call it a flower because perception birthed the thought that accompanies it. A flower becomes data. Now you do need a mind to cognise the flower but you may see it unconsciously to let neurons use data.

Neurons are conscious because of the consciousness in us. Neurons on their own are not conscious. Cognition happens because of consciousness. Cognition could either be conscious or unconscious cognition. In actuality, when you are conscious being, you may also look at the flower in the flower-ness of its being fully conscious. When accompanied by thought it reduces to data, a name.

Human body is a device. We use the body as a device. But we don’t consider body as a device. We consider that we are the body. We use mind as the mind. But we consider that we are the mind.

In fact, mind is made of senses. Existence has a mind of its own. Consciousness is the sum of all senses manifested and invisible in existence. Mind is divided into functional parts one which can store information, one for pleasure, one for optical vision, one for cognition, one for measurement, one for hearing, one for feeling, one for language, one for fear, one for enjoyment ecstasy and so on.

In aeons of existence, human mind has become a repository of huge data. Therefore, a dangerous situation is created, man is talking, dreaming, and desiring unconsciously during day and night. And one has become one’s thought. You are not your thought. But you think you are your thought. I am not my own thought. An ego is created by thought.

Ego is like malware which has hacked your mind. Now, your mind not only creates illusion but mind has become an illusion. It keeps making you unhappy.

Mind is not a reality. When you dream in thoughts during the day, reality confronts you and your dream is under dreamt. In sleep, your dream is fully dreamt because actual reality is not there to confront the dream. Dreams and thoughts are data-led.

We are living a life we have assumed as a pre-assumption, a thought. A life driven on pre-assumption is a data-driven life, a kind of black magic that is cast on you. You are captivated to think as if you are the mind. But you are not the mind.

All senses are auto-hypnotic. We get captivated first by body then mind then ego then culture society and so on. Our Society is built on the artificiality of ego and society and culture are lost to the malware.

Mind is hacked by the ego which disguises as mind and makes your mind think that you are the mind. You are not the mind. It lends you an artificial life. It creates a world. You live in your own world of ego. No one else lives in it. Everyone has created a world to live in. ‘One World’ is a utopian dream. Everyone lives in a different world captivated by the malware.

Seers say ego is a wound. But ego is a magnet. It lures happiness. Because ego in the first place is unhappiness. The unhappiness of ego feels you unhappy. It breeds desire for happiness. Ego wants to fulfil the desire. If a desire is fulfilled ego instantly desires a bigger desire than the one fulfilled. That makes you greatly unhappy like never before.

Even God cannot remove this malware from your operating system. You have to reboot your operating system. Because your mind creates it and lets your body and mind be taken by it. Let’s meet this malware eye to eye. You desire happiness for that you run after money to lose your money and assets in the end. Life loots you. Life cheats your money wealth assets relations. In the first place it was the ego that takes over you making you unhappy because you never meet it eye to eye in the first place.

You call yourself a body. You call yourself a mind. Then you are mesmerised by your ego and you forget who you are. You live like the one under a spell.

Obsessed under the spell you stay unfulfilled. Because malware creates a gap. Ego is a gap. It creates a gap between you and fulfilment. Desire is a gap between you and fulfilment. So far the desire would be there you will always be unfulfilled. So ego wants you to be happy. Understand the magic spell that corrupts your operating system. Ego wants you to be happy and creates a desire for making you happy. Desire is a gap between you and fulfilment. So by desiring you will never be happy. If you look at it with penetrating eyes, it means that you want to be happy again. You want to end up exactly there where you began from. Because you were never unhappy in the first place. Understand the spell. That you are not happy is the trick of the ego to enchant you.

You are born blissful. Thoughts are data-driven and mind is like a camera that keeps shooting. Camera cannot shoot its own picture. Therefore, mind cannot be conscious of the mind. Your being has to be conscious of your mind. Living in a world of data-driven thoughts, mind ensures that you stay unconscious to let your life be in the hands of your ego. Because when you are not conscious of your being, by default mind will ensure that all that you do is data-led. The whole journey of mind and ego lead you to be unconscious continuously in your life to make you fully unconscious when you are dead.

To reboot your operating system, be conscious in the now-ness of your being. Data-driven thoughts are perishable. In wakefulness, they perish when your system no more needs them. Therefore, go see the flower in the flower-ness of its being. Sit in the now-ness of your being. Don’t die unconsciously live consciously.

The author is a spiritual teacher. He can be reached at arunavlokitta@gmail.com

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Spiritually Speaking

Navadha Bhakti: The nine ways of connecting with Shri Krishna

Here are the nine ways in which we can relate to God. We are free to select the particular connection with God which suits our personal temperament.

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Bhakti is the foundation of all spiritual practice. It is both a means and an end in itself.

What is the nature of Bhakti?

The Narada Bhakti Sutras say: ‘It is of the nature of supreme love towards Shri Krishna’ (2nd Sutra).

How does this love towards the divine manifest itself? The Srimad Bhagavatam (7.5.23), delineates the nine ways (Navadha Bhakti) in which we can lovingly connect with Shri Krishna:

1 Hearing about God (Shravana)

2 Chanting His Name and Glory (Kirtana)

3 Remembering Him (Smarana)

4. Serving His Lotus Feet (Pada Sevana)

5. Worshipping Him as per the Scriptures (Archana)

6. Prostrating before Him (Vandana)

7. Being His Servant (Dasya)

8. Befriending Him (Sakhya)

9. Offering Oneself to Him (Atma Nivedana)

1). Shravana: Listening to His divine name, His divine form, His Qualities, Actions, Mysteries etc., and getting lost in His glorious Lila is known as Shravana. From where should we hear about God? Shri Krishna says in the Gita:

“You can get that knowledge by humbly inquiring before the Guru.” (4.34). Therefore, the first step in Shravana is to take recourse at the feet of a Guru.

The Shravana aspect of Bhakti is exemplified most completely in King Parikshit, who listened to the Srimad Bhagavatam from the great sage Shukadeva. What effect did this listening have on Parikshit?

At the end, he said:

“Respected Shukadeva Ji, you have made me experience the highest, fearless state. As a consequence, I am now totally at peace. I am not afraid of death; let it come to me in any form now. I am totally fearless (Abhaya).” (12.6.7).

2. Kirtana: Kirtana consists of chanting aloud God’s divine name and glories of His form, His qualities, mysteries, and leelas; and, in the process of chanting, experiencing extreme thrill culminating in tears and a lightening of the heart.

The very embodiment of Kirtana is the revered sage Narada. In fact, so engrossed is Narada in the act of Kirtana that he was actually happy when a curse was placed on him that he would not be able to stay in one place and would have to roam around the three worlds. Instead of lamenting this curse, he welcomed it saying that it would enable him to spread the Lord’s name and glory all over the three worlds.

3). Remembering Him (Smarana): Smarana means the constant remembrance of God. Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:

“The one who sees me in everything and everything in me, I am always present for him and he is always present for me.” (6.30).

“Therefore, always keep me in mind and then enter the battle of life. Undoubtedly, you will attain unto me.” (8.7-8).

“The one who does not ruminate on anything else but constantly remembers me only, he finds it easy to reach me” (8.14).

As per the Srimad Bhagavatam:

“The mind which thinks of material objects becomes attached to those very objects. However, the mind which constantly remembers me, merges into me” (11.14.27).

An inspiring example of Smarana is Prahlada, who due to his constant remembrance of God was able to perceive Him everywhere. In fact, when his evil father ridiculed him saying that if God was everywhere, why did He not show up in the pillar in front of them? The father then kicked the pillar, out of which sprang Lord Narasimha, validating the truth of Prahlada’s conviction..

4). Serving His Lotus Feet (Pada Sevana): The Srimad Bhagavatam says:

“Only till we have not taken recourse to the lotus feet of the Lord is there any cause of concern from money, family etc, which otherwise are a cause of fear and Dukha.” (3.9.6).

The obvious example of this kind of Bhakti is our mother goddess Lakshmi, who is seen in constant service of Lord Vishnu’s lotus feet.

5). Worshipping Him as per the Scriptures (Archana): Archana consists of the physical worship of God in the form of an idol etc, using the correct rituals (upacharas) as prescribed in the scriptures. These rituals consist of procedures such as bathing and clothing the Deity, and also offering Him scents, food etc. An essential requirement of Archana is the presence of faith (Shraddha) in the devotee. As Shri Krishna puts it in the Gita: “Whatever is offered to me, whether it be a leaf, flower, fruit or water if it is done with Bhakti, I accept it.” (9.26).

An example of Archana Bhakti is that of King Prithu in the Srimad Bhagavatam, who satisfied Shri Vishnu with the selfless Vedic sacrifices he performed, so much so that the Lord presented Himself in person before the king (4.20).

6). Prostrating before Him (Vandana): Vandana means prostrating oneself before the Lord.

An illuminating example of this Bhakti is Akrura, another great personality in the Srimad Bhagavatam. The great Bhakta Akrura could not contain himself when he entered Vrindavana. He was overcome with emotion and the consequent surge of affection for Krishna made his hair stand on its end and the overflowing eyes began to shed tears.

Akrura jumped onto the land of Vrindavana and rolled around on the earth saying:

“Oh! This is the dust touched by the feet of my beloved Lord.” (10.38.26).

On going further, he saw Krishna milking the cows. The physical beauty of the Lord overwhelmed Akrura so much that he rushed down and prostrated himself at the feet of Krishna.

“Understanding Akrura’s mental state, Krishna helped him to his feet, drew him to His heart and then embraced His beloved devotee.” (10.38.34).

7). Being His Servant (Dasya): Being in selfless service of God, fulfilling His intentions and unquestioningly obeying all His orders is known as Dasya. The most powerful embodiment of this kind of Bhakti is undoubtedly Shri Hanuman, who as soon as he caught a glimpse of Shri Rama, declared himself to be the latter’s servant.

Being a servant of God means leaving aside one’s most important work to respectfully do the Lord’s bidding; leaving all of one’s own desires to fulfil His desire; considering even the greatest effort done for Him to be minuscule; thinking His ownership over our body to be greater than even our own; understanding that our wealth, life, body etc is useful only as long as it is in the use of God and so on.

Hanuman had all these qualities, and no wonder that Shri Rama embraced him saying:

“You are more dear to me than even Lakshmana.”

8). Befriending Him (Sakhya): Sakhya means personal friendship with God, a friendship in which there is a constant desire to stay in His company, and one enjoys conversations only with Him, and becomes extremely pleased at the mere mention of one’s friend from a third person.

Krishna Himself tells us who His friend is:

“O Arjuna, you are both my friend and Bhakta.” (Gita 4.3).

Stories about the friendship of Krishna and Arjuna abound in the Mahabharata and Bhagavatam. Narratives show how they indulged in light banter, sports etc, which provide us with ample glimpses into the nature of their mutual friendship.

9). Offering Oneself to Him (Atma Nivedana): Offering oneself wholly, including all of one’s material possessions, with firm conviction, is known as Atmanivedana. An example of such surrender is king Bali, who was asked by an adolescent Brahmin for a piece of land equivalent to the distance measured by the latter’s three footsteps. The Brahmin, who was none other than the Vamana Avatara of Lord Vishnu, measured out all the worlds with only two of His steps and finally there remained nowhere to place the promised third.

Seeing that there was no place left for Vamana’s last step, Bali, bowing before Him, requested Him to place it on his head. In the end, after having thus given up everything, did the king feel any remorse or bitterness? No. In fact, this is what he said:

“Thank you God for your grace. Indeed, when we become blind with pride due to our wealth, you, by taking away our money, give us back our eyes.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 8.22.5).

This was the glorious Bali who gave up his all to the Lord.

These are the nine ways in which we can relate to God. We are free to select the particular connection with God which suits our personal temperament.

However, remember that all these nine qualities existed together in the Bhaktas mentioned above. Did Arjuna not have Pada Sevana, Smarana etc? Of course, he did.

For us, this means that once we have imbibed even one of these virtues properly, all others will follow suit, and the person becomes a Shuddha Bhakta, one whose each and every action can be deemed as Bhakti.

Gaurangasundar Das is Iskcon, Inc Communication Director and SM IT head.

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Spiritually Speaking

HUMILITY CAN TRANSFORM RELATIONSHIPS

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You will always know if you have met someone with true humility because you will feel respected, valued and accepted and the feeling will linger for a long time later.

This kind of humility is a deep spiritual strength and even though it is often displayed by those who have achieved great things in their lives, who have fame and regard, it is not derived from those worldly acquisitions—it is grounded in a deep respect of others.

If they were to base their attitude on their roles and positions or wealth, then although they may command outer regard and obedience, they would not win any hearts. They would be controlling and bossy with those who have achieved less and be dismissive and offhand. These same people would show respect and be on their best behaviour with those they consider ‘superior’ to them or who have more power over them. So, if I connect only with the position or the role that I and others play, then it is more than confusing, it can be very damaging, especially to relationships.

If I am able to have the awareness that I am totally separate from the roles I have acquired throughout my life, and retain the awareness that I am really a spiritual being, a soul, who is deeply and intrinsically full of loving kindness and peace, then that vibration reaches everyone I meet and interact with. Yes, not everyone will behave as I think they should, but when I understand that others are merely different, not wrong, then I can accept their behaviour without getting disturbed. If I become disturbed, I give away my power. This does not mean that I can be taken for granted or abused, because my humility is also born of a deep self-respect, so I can make my feelings and thoughts known, without becoming disturbed.

A true leader (in any sphere) who is humble, will never try to control but will gently influence, encourage, support and empower others, and for this they will be greatly loved. Truly humble people seem to find that others want to be around them and help out in any task that needs doing. If I am able to see things from each one’s perspective, then I will be working with an understanding that can get things done, not necessarily my way, but who is to say that my way is always ‘right’? If I make myself right, and you wrong, that can only cause conflict. If I see myself as right and you as right, but different, then there is an opportunity to explore different approaches, and work with everyone feeling accepted, respected and valued.

So, relationships become harmonious if I first understand that everyone is different, then their behaviour cannot disturb me. Then I accept, but not necessarily agree, with their point of view. Finally, have no expectations but a lot of patience and good wishes, then this attitude of faith and humility can transform others. Staying in this kind of stability, not getting disturbed, no matter what, and having good wishes empowers others. The opposite, frightening others with anger and trying to control them, is suffocating and fractures relationships.

True spiritual humility is born of the awareness of the soul, and takes a little time to establish. I can take a little time in the early morning and a little more during the day, and again in the evening, to go within and recognise who I really am, devoid of all worldly labels, and connect to the Supreme Soul, who is full of love, peace, gentleness and humility. Then slowly I am able to develop the awareness of the whole of humanity as a family of spiritual beings, taking part in an eternal theatre production. I can then recognise that each one has a part to play, each one with a different part, then true humility shines through my every thought, and my words and actions reflect the same. This is the strength of humility.

B.K. Shreya is a Brahma Kumaris Rajyoga teacher based in Mumbai.

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Spiritually Speaking

THE SOLUTION TO PROBLEMS IS WITHIN US

B.K. Usha

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The Bhagavad Gita offers important lessons on facing challenging situations successfully. In the Gita, God did not teach Arjuna how to deal with his enemies on the battlefield. He was taught to manage his state of mind and become detached in order to be victorious.

This lesson holds true in real life. When faced with tough situations, we start thinking how we can manage others, change them, or turn the situation to our advantage. Instead, we can focus on our state of mind and how we look at and deal with the situation and other people. Just as the eye of a storm is calm while violent winds rage all around, being centred helps us to remain quiet and take sensible decisions in difficult situations.

To navigate such situations successfully, we need to manage external pressures as well as our inner tendencies, which may sometimes take us on the wrong track if we are careless. For example, pressures might make us irritable, resentful or angry, and this will impair our ability to think and act pragmatically.

The task of self-management is helped by our innate qualities or values, which are intrinsic to every human soul. These values include purity, peace, love, and strength. When we consciously remind ourselves of these values and employ them in daily life, they develop and begin to shape our thoughts, feelings and actions.

In any situation, we can check what is the value needed to deal with it. Today, a large number of people feel insecure because of economic and political uncertainties. The remedy is to develop self-confidence and courage—‘I can deal with this’. In the absence of these two qualities, we may sink deeper into fear and nervousness, which will make us prone to making more mistakes, leading to further sorrow.

Hopelessness and despair also afflict many people now. They can be overcome if we recognise our strengths and specialities. We come to realise that we do have inner resources that make us valuable and which can be used to add meaning to our life. The resulting boost to our sense of self-worth changes our perspective and we begin to see opportunities—to serve, and grow—that were invisible earlier.

External pressures cause negative feelings and harmful tendencies to grow. So, dealing with these pressures is vital. One of the most common pressures is that of work. A heavy workload can dispirit anyone, but that only makes the load feel heavier and reduces our efficiency. The solution is to prioritise work, make a timetable and stick to it to accomplish tasks in an organised manner. Discipline plays a key role in this. If our mind is in order and we create the right thoughts at the right time and to the extent needed, our life will also be in order. It is when things get disturbed inside that disorder follows outside.

Similarly, most people face relationship issues at some point in their life. Running away from relationships is not the solution, as God tells Arjuna in the Gita. Cultivating love, patience, and tolerance helps us empathise with others and accommodate them.

Financial problems call for careful planning of our expenditure and savings, while health issues may require us to change our food habits and lifestyle.

Stress and conflict also arise from mixing the various roles we play in life. I may be the boss at the workplace, but if I boss people around at home, it will be resented. On the other hand, if I lounge about at work as if I am at home, I may soon find myself out of work.

In every case, managing our thoughts, feelings and behaviour, and not blaming or trying to control others, is the key to successfully facing life’s challenges.

B.K. Usha is a Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Abu Road, Rajasthan.

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Spiritually Speaking

Living outside the box

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Thinking outside the box is a term that implies lateral, creative, innovative thinking and the ability to come up with original or unprecedented ways of solving problems. What if though, we could live outside the box. First, we would have to perceive or recognise that we are living inside a box. Then stepping outside of that box would be an immense freedom and bring unimaginable benefits in our life. It might take courage though. Even animals, on being released into the wild again, hesitate for a long time before leaving the cage when they open the door.

We all live inside three boxes: The first box is the box of the body. The second is the box of the mind. The third is the box that others put me in, and there are many of those.

THE BOX OF THE BODY

I am not the body, the box, I am the living consciousness inside the box. Just as the driver of the car is not the car. However, through time I have identified so strongly with the gender of the body, the roles I play, the race or religion of the body in which I find myself, that it has become quite a comfortable box. At least I know where I am. I know where I am, but not what I am truly capable of. When I understand that I am a soul, pure consciousness, a being of light, then in meditation, in connection with the Supreme consciousness the soul is revealed to me. Further, I see others as souls, and see the body as a toy, and observe the game that all are playing. I then think very differently and am living outside of the box.

THE BOX OF THE MIND

This box is very deep and complex. The mind is one of the faculties of the soul and I have created this box. The world of my mind is what I have created based on my beliefs and feelings which shape my reaction to the outside world. The habits of thinking that I have created, even though they cause me pain sometimes, are very difficult to change. With meditation, realisation and determination, I can create my own beautiful reality inside the box of the mind.

THE BOXES THAT OTHERS PUT ME IN

These boxes are very uncomfortable. These boxes simply do not let me grow within any relationship. Even if someone tells me how kind and good I am, it is a box. I have the pressure to be always kind and good when that person is around me. The roles I play are also boxes if I allow them to be. If I am a husband, teacher or friend, then those with whom I play the role, project their expectations on me and I feel suffocated and not able to express myself freely. I can, though, fulfil the same roles without being in those boxes, provided I am not influenced by their desires and expectations. Meditation gives me the power to move beyond the boxes and into the expansion of my true personality. This does not just bring benefit to me but to everyone I am associated with.

The only energy or consciousness that has never, ever, been in a box of any kind is God. In His vision He does not see me in a box, nor will He ever put me in a box. Through a connection of thought with this Supreme energy, I recharge my own spiritual energy, I become a king, a ruler of my mind, free from all the boxes. I connect with the supreme source of pure love, happiness, truth and light. The freedom of this truth is all-encompassing, beyond all boxes.

Eric Le Reste is a journalist and producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and coordinates the activities of Brahma Kumaris centres in Canada.

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Spiritually Speaking

LEARN TO LAUGH AT THE JOKE OF LIFE

To go beyond the sense of unhappiness, defeat and poverty, change yourself to live in the world today and now.

Arun Malhotra

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Man is born a nobody. But man wants to die a somebody. Child comes absolutely alone. But man wants to carry the whole crowd with him to death. A Child comes emptyhanded. But man wants to die wealthy. A child comes from heaven. Hell breaks loose at him. He wants to go back to heaven. Child is born of blissfulness. Child is absolute bliss. He enters hell. Then keeps running for happiness and eventually dies unhappy. Man has made this world into the unhappiest place. Isn’t it a joke of life? Man is born a nobody. But he wants to be powerful. He is not born powerless. Why does he want to be powerful? He wants to equate a God-like existence. So that he is able to show others that he is a somebody. A child is told that he has to become somebody. The whole life child fights to become that somebody that he finds he was not. He wants to defeat others. He wants to be victorious. Why does he want to be victorious? To win is a basic instinct for survival. The present-day he no more requires that primitive constraints. He does not have to hunt for food. He does not have to travel far for food and water. He has machines that travel for him much faster. Food and water come on table. His survival instinct has evolved that has changed his surroundings but not him. He has become an urban civil and prosperous human but he has not changed. He has become far crueller beasty and wild than a wild beast was ever. Survival tricks in wildest predators never evolved into cruelty, violence, and treachery. Animal never deceives you. Therefore, man has annihilated the whole animal kingdom. It is easy to kill innocents with deceit. Animals did not kill their own race. Man did. Because he deceives his own race too. Man has deceived the mother earth. He has destroyed the earth, the forest, the wildlife. He has poisoned soil air water. If you ask him the reason he answers that beautifully and most plausibly. Progress and security. All types of senseless wars. Countries fighting countries over trivialities for hegemony. Wars are fought over the future of fossil fuel, arsenal, water, airspace not land. Every nation’s slogan is to be ahead of the other. How much wealth does a man want and at what cost? Wealth is a symbol of power, happiness, victory, security and security. Man creates wealth not as much as he needs to survive. He creates wealth as much that is not needed either for his next generation or for heavenly existence in next births. How did survival instinct evolve man into a sadist? He is enjoying making others miserable. Animals are godly no animal has evolved into a sadist. Man claims to be godly but he has become a sadist. Why does a man want to win? Why do you want to be happy? Why do you want to become the wealthiest? Because you are unhappy. Your yearning makes you unhappy because you feel you don’t have enough to make you happy. Whatever that you will have is going to make you unhappy. All that’s not true. You have presumed that you are unhappy. You have presumed that you will be poor if you don’t become wealthier. You have presumed that you have to defeat others to stay ahead of them. You constantly live in a sense of unhappiness, defeat and poverty. Society makes a child conditioned to think like that. Come what may you are destined to make your life hell. A man crawls up to his death burdened with unhappiness, defeats and poverty. You saw families expect huge gatherings at funerals. On a lighter note, once an ailing political leader died. A huge crowd attended his last rites. He said to himself. I unnecessarily languished for five years in hospital. Had I known as much crowd would arrive, I would have died long back. You say that you want to be a great leader a great actor or a great professional or someone who keeps the world in your pocket. That means that you are always oriented towards others. That means that your happiness and unhappiness depend on others. If others feel you are happy in your unhappiness you would rather be unhappy to make them happy. If someone asks you how would you be happy. You instantly narrate a list that makes you short of happiness. But you never ask yourself, are you unhappy in the first place? Happiness and unhappiness is a chain. It comes one after the other. Happiness is hidden in unhappiness. Hopelessness births hopefulness. You hope for something when it is not around. It makes you poorer by it. Psychologically, hopelessness is the mother of hopefulness. As much as you want to be wealthier as much you would stay in poverty. Poverty mothers wealth. You stay poor as much as you wish to be wealthy same proportions. Poverty will be inside you. One who is yearning for a big victory is a game for a big defeat. As much you yearn for as much you will be short of it. All hopes breed out of hopelessness. Victories out of defeats. If you are one with the nature you are in your own nature. But you go against the flow. Ego wants to go against the flow. You are but your name is not. You are born a nobody but you are named a somebody. That somebody is not you. An assigned code is assigned to you for usefulness. You are not it. You are a nobody. Ego breeds a false sense of unhappiness, defeat and poverty. You keep fighting against the flow of life in perpetuity. You keep fighting to be the wealthiest but it takes you farther from life. You are endowed with an abundant existence. Wealth is making you live under constant poverty. Look at you. Ask yourself are you unhappy enough to be happy. Why become a beggar when you are born a king. You are simply going against life. That’s what a life lost looks like and not a life lived. That’s what is a joke of life. At every point, you think of living but you die. Learn to laugh at the joke of life. What is the joke of life? The joke of life is that people are bartering their happiness with unhappiness, wealth with poverty, victory with defeat to make the world a better place to live in it tomorrow. Chances are that they will constantly languish in unhappiness, defeat and poverty and will never be able to be happy, wealthy and victorious. History is replete with such Alaxenders, Hitlers, Stalins of wars. All those who thought the world is below them are dead and buried. All Changez Khans, Timur Lungs, and Aurangzebs die of fear. Only a few who laughed at the joke of life learnt the lesson. Did you not see the statues of laughing Buddha. Buddha is laughing at the joke of life. To be life, be the flow of life. To go beyond the sense of unhappiness, defeat and poverty, change yourself to live in the world today and now. No one can defeat the one who never wants to win. Someone asked Bhikku, ‘what is the joke of life?’ Bhikku replied, “I am fighting to live. I don’t live for fighting. I may fight for the survival of this body which eventually will not survive. So what’s that I am fighting for?” This is the joke of life. The author is a spiritual teacher. He can be reached at arunavlokitta@gmail.com

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