Oct 18 2013
Rich In Your Heart
Find out the true secret to internal peace and eternal joy with SWAMI CHIDANAND SARASWATI
Every day people come to me with a host of problems, looking for solutions. Their questions are always the same — on happiness, peace, relationships and on life. There are a few important principles to live by and so many lessons to be learnt.
Every day you go out to work, earn money and become more and more prosperous. Yet, at the end of the day, you are not happy. There seems to be no correlation between the amount of money we earn and our sense of inner peace. All of us want happiness and internal peace in life. The secret is in finding God alone.
At Home With God
I remember when I was growing up, before beginning the day, everyone would go to the temple, and do pranam to God and take three parikramas walking in a circle around God’s idol. The parikramas signify, “God, I am about to go out and perform my worldly tasks, but let me always keep You in the centre and let me remember that all work is for You.” Then, they would accept prasad, and God’s sweetness would spread from their tongue to their soul.
People in small villages have very little in terms of material possessions. Most of them live way below western standards of poverty. Yet, if you tell them they are poor, they won’t believe you. They have God at the centre of their lives. Their homes may not have TV sets, but they all have small temples; the children may not know the lyrics of the latest rock-and-roll song, but they know the aarti; they may not have computers or fancy history textbooks, but they know the stories of the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other holy scriptures; they may not begin their day with newspapers, but they begin them with prayers and bhajans.
These people have a light in their eyes, a glow on their faces and a song in their hearts that money cannot buy. So, it means, acquire possessions if you want to, but always remember God.
Giving Is Living
There is an old adage that says, “It is better to give than to receive.” For, in true giving, there is no suffering. One does not forsake anything. The giving itself becomes its own reward. People talk about cycles of life. For me, the true cycle is giving is living, living is learning, learning is knowing, knowing is growing, growing is giving and giving is living. The poet Khalil Gibran said, “All that we have will someday be given away. Let us open our hearts and give with our hands so the joy of giving is ours and not our inheritors.”
The pleasure you get out of an old sweater, or a dress you wore once, or some mechanical appliance that you just “had to have,” is minimal. Take those clothes or appliances to a homeless shelter; donate them to someone in need — you will then know real joy, the joy of having given to someone else. So many times we regret having bought something. “Oh, why did I waste my money?” we say. Yet, I have never once heard anyone regret that they gave something to someone in need. I have never heard anyone say, “Oh, why didn’t I let that child go hungry?”
So many times in life, when something is not going our way, we attempt to solve the problem by forsaking the unsatisfactory situation. Sometimes this works, but usually it doesn’t. The real lesson in life is to live with it, not to leave it. It is by living with situations that seem difficult that we can truly attain peace and nonattachment. It is in these circumstances that we learn that happiness can only come from God, not from one environment or another.
Devoted From Inside
Your mind should be always with Him and your hands should be doing His work. People think that in order to be spiritual, or to “be with God,” one must be sitting in the lotus posture in the Himalayas. This is not the only way. In the Bhagwad Gita, Krishna teaches us about karma yoga, about serving God by doing your duty. It is the duty of a few saints to live in samadhi in the Himalayas. Their vibrations and the global effect of their sadhana are extraordinary. However, that is not what most people’s dharma is. We must engage ourselves in active, good service; that is truly the way to be with Him.
I once heard a story about a man who spent 40 years meditating so he could walk on water.He thought that if he could walk on water, then he would truly attain spiritual perfection, that he would then be ‘one’ with God. When I heard this story, I thought, why not spend Rs 40 instead, sit in a boat to cross the water, and spend the 40 years giving something to the world? That is the real purpose of life.
However, there must be both devotion and service. We cannot develop one at the expense of the other. We can’t be truly perfect on the outside unless we are devoted on the inside, for only then will God’s work shine through us in a beautiful and perfect way. Similarly, we cannot say we are truly devoted on the inside unless we are doing perfect work on the outside.
The pearls I have given you are only a few. However, like any precious jewels, they are priceless, regardless of their size. If you follow these and let them purify your life, they will bring you more prosperity than all the diamonds in the world.