It is very simple to say be joyful, be grateful. But in real life how to implement this joyous state inside, and remaining grateful to the giver? It is a challenge. These are not the ultimate stations on the path, but very necessary elements to our practice. They are the outcome or the fruits of our practice. I can go on speaking about joy and gratitude; but all the problems, or all the hidden secrets on the importance of this joy and gratitude become simple once I have experienced it in my life.
To understand what ‘joyful’ means, let us go to its opposite. Total sadness, depression, psychosis – these are all on the other side of the joyous state, the opposite side of it. So long as we remain on this negative side, even physical well-being is not possible. Mental well-being becomes slightly difficult, and spiritual well-being is impossible when we are engulfed by sadness and depression. How to avoid them? First, by not letting them come inside at all – not permitting them to enter our being. How is that possible? By leading life wisely.
Master (Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari, fondly referred to) differentiates three kinds of persons by what they do at any given moment. These three categories are fools, the intelligent and the wise. The foolish person regrets after the event: “Oh, I did such and such a thing which I should not have done.” The intelligent person perceives it while he is in that state. The wise man understands it before he acts. So before we indulge in any activity, we should extrapolate its consequences in our hearts. Try to analyse what will be the outcome of my actions. Before the action manifests, what happens? Our thinking process is already set to do something. Out of three or four different ways of doing things we pick one. Here is where our meditation helps us. Each time we are on a bifurcation whether to do this or that, we refer it to our heart. Doing things correctly, rightly, wisely, we avoid catastrophes. It is like, why would you drink dirty water when you know it is going to give you diarrhoea? I should not exercise things like, ‘I should not do this’, ‘I should not do this’, ‘I should not drink dirty water’. I should only focus on what I should be doing: drink clean water from the right source.
Master has given us a beautiful prescription; if we apply it in every facet of our lives, at any moment, at any given place, it applies very nicely. I call it a ‘universal prescription for happiness’. What is it? Can anyone tell me? Hold your hands to your heart. I will tell you what it is. Master says, “Do your duty.” Duty is the first thing. We struggle in deciding – rather we struggle in differentiating our spiritual life and material life. We already know one fundamental thing: I must reach my goal through spiritual practice by leading life in a wise manner. So that is our primary goal. Everything else, the material life, must be conducted so as to support this spiritual life.
(To be continued)
Kamlesh D Patel is the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation. He is a role model for students of spirituality who seek that perfect blend of eastern heart and western mind. He travels extensively and is at home with people from all backgrounds and walks of life, giving special attention to the youth of today.