By: Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji
A youngster came to our Sai Spiritual Centre in Bengaluru with a depressed look. His eyes were sunken, his smile was faded, and he felt like death but was still living. His hopes were gone and he felt miserable. “Where does true happiness lie?” he asked me.
Man’s biggest and most ancient search is for happiness. He has looked for happiness in the external world, and through the world of objects, and what he has found is a pleasure instead of happiness. Knowing the distinction between pleasure and happiness is an important awakening and that was the mission of Sai Baba.
I made the young man get into the temple. I asked him to look at Sai Baba’s eyes and come back to me after twenty minutes. I did not ask him to close his eyes or do meditation. When he came back, his reply was amazing. He could explain to me the distinction between pleasure and happiness.
He told me that the meaning of education is to bring forth and one has to seek distinctions and clarity in life. Gathering information is not education, but seeing distinctions is what happened in his 20-minute communion with Sai Maharaj.
This young man looked for happiness outside and found pleasure. But the exercise to look at Sai Baba intently for twenty minutes brought him happiness inside instead of outside. It was a great turning point.
Recitation of Vishnu Sahasranama at least once a day will enable one to look inside. This means to look inside his body, inside his mind, inside his feelings. When one looks within, he can see there is something beyond the body, mind, and feelings. That ‘beyond ness’ is inner space and it is not limited by the body, mind, and feelings. In deep sleep, you were not limited by the body, mind, and emotions but still felt a deep sense of joy and happiness. The young man was happy at the inner journey and returned home
Why do we find ourselves familiar with misery and alien to happiness?
Misery is the result of ego. Misery is safe for the ego. The ego can exist only in misery.
The ego is hell and misery is the material for hell. When understanding arises, the darkness of misery has to go. For understanding to happen, you need to put in effort… but also proper and adequate effort like Vishnu Sahasranama recitation or ‘Nama Smaran’. For misery to go, you need such an effort. For a lazy person putting in the effort is hell. Misery can exist in an effortless state.
What is ego? Sai Baba’s divinity in you is inversely proportional to your ego. Sai Baba will fully bless you if you are humble.
Ego is an arrogant self. A devotee of Sai Baba should not have an ego at all. A self that is addicted to its point of view or a self that is proud of its achievement is ego. For any achievement, one should be grateful to Sai Baba and not be proud of himself. If one is humble, one will see there are many factors to one’s success.
To see many factors for your achievement gives a sense of humility and not vanity. Once there is humility, ego can’t exist. In humbleness there is joy. True joy is the death of the ego. True joy is suicide to the ego. When you are egoistic you enjoy life in the form of pleasure and suddenly feel guilty. This guilt is also the result of ego.
We are imprisoned by the ego and hence in hell. Because of the ego, we are not growing. It is like a rock which is preventing the plant from going deep into the ground. Understand that ego is like a grave. Don’t live in the grave and don’t think it is a safe place. The ego is energy, but this energy has to be transformed into humility, love, and true joy.