These quotes have been taken from Satsangs (discourses) given by our teacher Professor Ojaswi Sharma. He himself was never interested in writing anything but his students felt the need to preserve his wisdom. They taped his talks, transcribed them and sorted out into several Topics. Because the full discourses were very long, shorter passages were chosen on each Topic and presented here.
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Birth is not in our hands. We are born. When we come to this planet Earth, the fact is, that we have come and we are here. And one day we shall definitely die; there is no doubt about that. Our only concern, from the time that we become conscious and capable of thinking for ourselves, is whether we can be happy? Only this and nothing else is the important question.
A wise person does not expect lasting peace and happiness in a worldly relationship. Relationships are always in a state of flux. Everything is in a state of flux. Permanent peace and happiness is found only when somebody is able to experience the permanent existence - the Atman, the spirit - and not before that.
A person who says he is unhappy on account of another person, is not on the spiritual path. The germs of all these diseases exist in us. They arise from the expectation that the world will conform to our desires. We desire that others should behave as we want them to. But this is not going to happen. There is nothing wrong with the world and there is nothing right with us! We have to reform ourselves and not reform the world!
By trying to minimize your needs and remove your desires, you are adopting a negative approach. This approach is helpful but not completely so. There should also be a positive approach. What is this positive approach? It is to try to live for others and make others happy. This will give you real inner happiness.
Unfavourable circumstances are not the reason for us becoming sad or becoming angry. Ignorance is the reason for us being sad or worried. It is ignorance about our own life that is the reason why we are sad in life.
So far as we are seeking happiness depending upon any external object, human being, situation or circumstance, we will never be happy. Take that for granted. Slaves can never be happy.
Why do people generally not experience that which is always available? The saints say that the general tendency of most human beings is to run out of themselves to find happiness - 'out of themselves.' They think that they will be happy with objects outside of themselves; by meeting a certain person; by having a certain house, partner or job; or by obtaining money or suchlike. This is the general tendency of most human beings. As an answer to this, the saints say that all such people are confusing happiness with pleasure.
People think that 'happiness' is experienced when their senses make contact with a desired object or human being. The sensation created by the contact of sense organs and the object of desire is wrongly called happiness. But this is not happiness but pleasure.
Hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell, are the five senses, and for them there are five objects divided into five categories. Certain objects can be seen; certain sounds can be heard; certain foods can be tasted; and certain objects can be touched or smelled. All such pleasure is generated when the sense organs come into contact with the particular object relating to that sense.
Whenever there is contact between a sense organ and its respective object, a sensation is generated and this sensation overtakes mind. And what happens in that process? At that moment we forget who we are. We are so overtaken by the senses, by the contact, the sensation, that we completely forget our true self. At that time we become rather the sensation, and this forgetfulness is considered to be 'happiness.' It is pleasure through forgetfulness of our true self. So people try to be happy by becoming forgetful of themselves. Such an effort never succeeds. It has never succeeded, does not succeed and will never succeed.
So people try to be happy by forgetting themselves. This is self-delusion, Maya or ignorance, and this is the pattern of life that most people have. Mind, the most important instrument given by God to human beings, is allowed to be subordinated by the pleasure of the senses. Mind is superior, subtler and greater than the senses. The senses are gross. The gross overtakes the subtle.
What I mean to say is that in these things people are wasting their life. They are seeking happiness in forgetfulness by becoming ostriches. The ostrich puts its head in the sand and thinks there is no danger, but the ostrich will not escape the danger. This is the general pattern of human life. The saints say: "Don't try to seek happiness by forgetfulness." True happiness comes - and will come - through more and more awareness, not through forgetfulness. All problems will be solved through more and more awareness - expansion of your consciousness - and by knowing more and more about your own self.
When you start asking: "Who am I?", then the whole pattern of seeking happiness changes. The first pattern was to go out of oneself, through contact between objects and the senses. Now there is a U-turn! First of all, in the beginning, cut out the contact between the senses and the object. When we eliminate contact between senses and objects, it starts becoming meditation. The saints say that the centre of happiness is in you, and instead of running after people and objects, you should divert your attention inwards instead of outwards. Then the journey starts and some day you will have permanent happiness I life.
You will start enjoying happiness, not through forgetfulness, but through awareness and the expansion of your consciousness. Then a time comes when that experience takes place in which you find that you are not the body, the senses, the mind or intellect. You are different from these. You find yourself as pure consciousness, never born and, therefore, never to die. You find yourself as existence, consciousness and bliss. This experience happens. Then you are liberated: the purpose of life is realised.
Through that sensation in the mind pleasure is experienced and people mistakenly consider that pleasure to be happiness. This is a false idea. Firstly, no pleasure can stay for very long. Secondly it is slavery. Pleasure is slavery to the object you are trying to enjoy.
I explained that the spiritual journey is, in many ways, opposed to the journey most people have in the world. I explained that in the world people are trying to seek happiness through the contact of their senses with the material world. There are five senses and there are five objects. Through the senses, in association with mind, the senses come into contact with the objects of the world, and the sensation is created. Through that sensation in the mind pleasure is experienced and people mistakenly consider that pleasure to be happiness.
It is necessary to discipline ourselves. After passing through various experiences in many lives a person comes to the conclusion that on this Earth there is no happiness without discipline.
Nothing that is temporary can ever give us true happiness. Only the experience of our true nature is permanent and everything else is temporary.
It is very natural that whatever we become, other than our own self, cannot be permanent. There is bound to be change. When there is change, and the change is according to our desires, we feel happy. But when the change is contrary to our desires, we are unhappy.
Why should we follow this spiritual way of life at all? The answer is, as I said earlier, to attain happiness - the one aim that is common to all mankind. Happiness and peace can never be attained without knowing and following the spiritual way of life.
The happiness about which we speak in spirituality is something that can be realised by human beings by the exercise of their discrimination. When you face ups and downs in life and changes in your circumstances, remember that the real purpose of nature is for all human beings to wake up to the spiritual reality inherent in them and not to cherish dreams of material prosperity only.
There is only one activity which can give happiness to anybody. Only they can be happy who try to make others happy. Those who try to become happy themselves, are never happy. When we try to make others happy, our ego factor is subdued, and by inviting others to share the things God has given you, you invite happiness for your own self.
Happiness in human life is temporary if it depends upon something other than our own inner centre of happiness. We cannot be happy if we depend only on worldly situations - material prosperity - the support of others - recognition and respect from others.
You can see the misfortune of human beings. You can see how birds sing following their own nature, and how other animals behave naturally and have no problems. There are no conferences of thousands of animals to discuss their problems because they all follow their own nature. Those human beings that discover and follow their own true nature also live a happy life.
The difference between pleasure and happiness? Pleasure depends upon the enjoyment of worldly objects through the senses. Happiness arises from within and is not dependent upon any external factor.
Try to make others happy rather than becoming happy yourself. Happiness comes automatically to those who try to serve others and make them happy.
Let life be a place of happiness, and happiness in life comes only when one tries to serve others.
A stage comes when there remains no question of any frustration in his life because he realises that his own true existence is imperishable, and cannot be destroyed. His true self was never born and, therefore, will never die. So he worries about nothing in the whole world. Atman or pure consciousness was never born and so will never die. He is that pure consciousness so why should he worry? He just remains happy and joyful in the cosmic arrangement.
Only that person can be really happy who has realised his or her own self. Only a really happy man can make others also happy. So our spirituality is not only for ourselves individually but also for society in general. When we improve ourselves to make others better but we must start by improving ourselves. Those who start by trying to reform others are working under the assumption that they themselves are already reformed. This is just an example of a person who is a victim of his own ego. Before reforming others we must reform ourselves. In fact, we should never try to reform others. We should reform ourselves and serve others.
The pleasures that are born of sense contact are verily a source of suffering only (though appearing as enjoyable to worldly minded people). They have a beginning and an end (they come and go). Arjuna, it is for this reason that the wise man does not indulge in them. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 5 verse 22)