Men struggle to earn millions or work hard at their jobs, yet the elixir of happiness eludes them. And there are others who are materially less fortunate, yet seem content. For a Bhakti Yogi, happiness is not dependent on his or her external situations. While a Hare Krishna chanter does endeavour to meet the various needs related to the body and mind, he’s aware that these pursuits have inherent limitations in them. A student appearing for his school exams may carry a dozen fancy, colourful pens; however his excelling the tests isn’t dependent on any of the pens but the substance he has assimilated within his own mind. Similarly we may work hard and accumulate millions, own mansions and earn fame within this temporary world; yet we’d be miserable because these are after all ‘pens’ of life and nothing more. However to the extent we assimilate the substance of spirituality by connecting internally to the Lord of our heart, we can excel in our personal lives. Happiness follows as a by product.
Chanting Hare Krishna helps a devotee assimilate this spiritual substance. Regular and attentive chanting increases our favourable remembrance of God and helps us go beyond the body and mind. For most people, happiness is an experience when we do or get something desirable. It’s generally on the mental platform. For example you may work hard on a project and with a few late nights meet the deadline; your boss is happy and you get the much deserved bonus, rest or other rewards. You are elated. This is mental happiness, and the evidence is, the experience of ‘happiness’ fizzles out eventually and you are driven to achieve yet another goal. The mind constantly goads us on to achieve greater heights and the more we identify our happiness with some mental titillation or accumulation of external benefits, the more we are depriving ourselves of real, inner contentment. Spiritual happiness, attained through internal connection to Krishna, and practised through chanting of Holy Names is more satisfying. This is evidenced by the fact that many Hare Krishna chanters are able to give up many of their previous pursuits that they had thought would give them happiness. Now with spiritual nourishment tangibly experienced by chanting of Holy Names, they are indifferent to material pursuits as the cause of happiness.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating and Radhanath Swami brilliantly presents this in a recent talk:
“Our souls are eternal, pure and pleasure seeking. However when we attempt to seek this happiness through a temporary vehicle- the body- that is destined to get old, diseased and die, we get miserable with time. If we seek this happiness at the platform of the soul, then we can truly discover peace within the chaos of this world”