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At the Feet of The Mother

The Greater Life

To begin with, there are several types of happiness depending upon the level at which we stand in our evolution. There is a kind of happiness that people find in the status quo. This is the minimum on the scale and it is akin to staying in our comfort zones. To upgrade their happiness they need to take the challenge of life which means effort. Most human beings prefer to remain fixed in whatever situation life places them in using terms like contentment, duty etc. But behind all this is an inertia to change and find better and more meaningful things. This kind of humanity does not like to think much as thinking will make them uncomfortable and unhappy by challenging their fixed premises which they have inherited rather than thought out for themselves. A lot of people of the previous generations in India were like this, refusing to think and continue doing mechanically whatever little circle of activity that life provides for them.

Then there is another of happiness that is more like an offshoot of this state of tamas and inertia of thought that shuns the real challenges of life. It is found in violent actions upon oneself or others to shake themselves up. The thrill and intense pleasure, however brief is sought after and it ranges from a variety of actions such as fashion, food, sex, drugs, violence, horror etc. The man caught in the lower vital ranges of life has this for his share of ephemeral pleasure which he mistakes for happiness until life one day closes his small, insignificant chapter of life.

But when through evolution, taking place across lives, the vital force in man expands, he begins to seek happiness in the ambitious expansion of his personal empire starting from seeking after name and fame in his small or big circle to conquering and ruling an empire. Here one begins to take challenges and gets joy in facing and conquering them. Its soberer form is the mountaineer who tries to climb a difficult peak, the sportsman who wants to excel, the business magnate who wants to earn more and more, the explorer and the adventurer.

Then there is also happiness that comes through emotional satisfaction, through mutual care and affection, through what we call love, being loved and loving someone.

Beyond this is a happiness to which still a few are privy. It is happiness that comes through thought. Here the domain of the thinker begins, people who find joy in thinking, reflecting, reading, writing, expressing themselves through various forms of art, music, poetry, sciences and crafts. They enjoy reading a good book that provides them with a deeper or subtler understanding of life or opens the doors to knowledge and wisdom.

It is only when man has gone through these limited forms of happiness, known their relative place and limited utility and yet knows its insufficiency and inability to give us the joy that endures that he turns towards the happiness that is unfading and causeless and independent of all outer circumstances or activity. It is a process of evolution that takes place through quite a few lives. Its penultimate is when we begin to seek within what we were trying to find outside and through outer things but now know for sure that it cannot be found and secured. It is then that we are truly ready for opening the inner door. A mere mechanical process hardly works if it is not supported by a feeling or a conviction or an aspiration and a faith in deeper and higher things that one cannot find within the limited range of experiences offered to us by the bodily life, the restless outgoing vital energy and even the thinking mind.

What can we do to hasten this moment? Well, go through life consciously. See things and this world with open eyes, the true worth of it all and not what we are conditioned to believe. Most of us still labouring under this misconception that happiness comes from a good job, money and a partner, can do little better than advise us the same. It is not their fault since they hardly know anything else or more. It is we who have to decide whether we believe in these explanations just because the majority believes in them or want to reflect and search for the real cause and source of joy in life. Therefore it is very helpful to snatch some quiet moments daily and reflect upon the questions of life such as why and wherefore of death, on the aim of life, on truth and love and the ways to lead a beautiful and happy life. In addition, one should spend time in the company of books and people who uplift our thoughts and inspire us to go beyond, who awaken us to the need of a greater life, who instil faith and hope in higher things.

Then one day we are ready to take the plunge and the inner door will open without much effort and we discover that unconditional peace and joy that truly surpasses all understanding. Then life truly begins, a new life before which the old one seems as if we were living as half-dead people without knowing it. Once the need for this greater life awakens then the means and everything else is given to us. We find the right books, we meet the right people, we start entering a world of experiences before which all the joys of life seem a trifle, artificial and temporary. It is then that one discovers the God who is beyond religion and thought, the all-pervading Reality, the all-Compassionate Being who is yet all beings, the very Soul of this world and ours, the summit of Perfection to which we secretly aspire, the Love that binds and moves the stars. Religion binds us to one form of thought of God, or at most to one kind of experience of divinity. Spirituality liberates us even from all conceptions of God. Religion is a preparation at best and a prison at worst, spirituality is freedom, eternity, infinity, Love.

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It is not the personality, the character that is of the first importance in rebirth — it is the psychic being who stands behind the evolution of the nature and evolves with it.