Lokaadhyakshah Suraadhyaksho Dharmaadhyakshah Kritaakritah I
ChaturAtma Chaturvyuhas Chaturdamshtrah Chaturbhujah II15II
(Verse 15, Vishnu Sahasranama)
Lord of the three worlds, Sovereign among Gods, Overseer of justice, the Lord who is the doer and non-doer
The Lord who is fourfold in nature, the Lord of four manifestations, the Lord who has four horns, the Lord with four hands!
Seven years ago, on the 4th of April, 2014 when Sri Hari arrived at the ashram and made it His abode, it was like the soul had entered an inert body. And though we all celebrate this glorious day as His birthday, Shri Hari is Jagadaadi Ajanma – one who existed even before this world existed, unborn.
In the evening, the temple bedecked with lights, flowers, diyas, and beautiful rangoli welcomed Swamiji to celebrate this much-awaited occasion, both by the residents and virtual audience. Smilingly he observed, “It’s quite remarkable how we lead our lives. Somehow, we believe that we are the guiding force behind the events of our lives. Yes, we do have a role to play; we think, act and contribute to shaping our lives, but it will be sheer ignorance to think that we are the ones doing everything.”
Giving the analogy of the ashram to emphasise this point, Swamiji continued to remind us that there was practically no human structure when they first came here. As is apparent to everyone, there has never been any conscious struggle to grow and expand the place, steer the development in a certain way, or appeal for something. Bhagwan’s grace has ensured that it all happens effortlessly and with great purity.
Swamiji took this opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the spirit of selfless service of every sannyasin and disciple in the ashram. Taking the example of those in charge of the kitchen and food service, he said that the preparation and serving of food, with love, is no less than a yagnya, an offering to Sri Hari. Consuming this food brings satvikta (goodness) into one’s being. It was amply evident in all the meals of that day at the ashram, ranging from fresh salad to puddings sprinkled with delicious pieces of chocolate cake.
Swamiji’s discourse, peppered with his characteristic humour evident throughout the evening, went on to highlight that there are things in life that we have control over and things over which we have no control whatsoever. He said that while it’s easy to advise someone to be happy, not feel bad, and so on, these emotions are difficult to control. It is easier said than done!
So what is the key to happiness?
First, understand that whatever you want and are pursuing in life, any desire that you want to fulfil, you will have to pay the price. Nothing is free. For example, if you enjoy eating burgers and fries and other such food, you pay the price with your health.
Every time you want to fulfil any desire, ask yourself if it is worth the price you have to pay. Go ahead only if you are willing to bear the cost.
Second, make flexibility a part of your life. This single virtue would make one very happy on most days and ecstatic on the others. Rigidity brings grief. Be as flexible as blades of grass and not like trees that stand rigid and upright, but get uprooted during a storm. Be upright, not uptight, because what is there to be upset about?
“Make up your mind”, he urged. “Does Bhagwan exist for you in reality, or does He exist for you as a matter of convenience – to fall back on when things are not going your way?” If we belong to the former camp, he said, there will be no struggle or unhappiness as He is then an integral part of your life.
Flexibility is the key to happiness. Just trust that everything will fall into place.
Sharing something from his own life, Swamiji said that he was incredibly happy and utterly content and wished he could share this with everyone. He was sure Bhagwan would look after his needs, giving him the freedom to speak his truth. All of us, he added, feel this way, but if we want this stage to linger, we need to be flexible. It’s incredible how little we need to be happy, and the discovery that our happiness is entirely in our hands is even more amazing.
“Bhagwan Sri Hari, the divine being,” he said, “has been looking after this creation for aeons. For millions and billions of years, He has fulfilled the trillions and gazillions of desires of people. Do you really think He is going to abandon you? He can’t. He won’t. That’s not His dharma. He will never do it because there is nothing He wants from you.”
He ended the evening with these reassuring thoughts on Bhagwan’s grace:
“If you offer Him a seat in your beautiful hearts, miracles will happen. You will be absolutely blown away by the possibilities that will open up for you. When something is not in your control, ask yourself, do I or don’t I trust the wisdom of the universe? If you trust in Bhagwan, then there is no room to be fearful.”
Swamiji then went on to perform the Aarti. Sri Hari captivated everyone with His radiant and stunning beauty. With utmost compassion in His lotus eyes, smiling sweetly, He seemed to be showering everyone with His benediction. The simple celebration came to a close with Swamiji distributing chocolates to everyone on his way out.