The only time we can experience real happiness in this material world is when we do some service selflessly; when we expect nothing in return except the happiness of the person we are serving. If we can genuinely offer such a service, we come close to the experience of spiritual happiness.
Recently I had the opportunity to serve some devotees. I had been planning for weeks on how best I could serve them. I also checked my motivations a few times and asked myself why I wanted to do this service. I finally resolved to do the service with only one desire; to please all the devotees who were visiting my mother’s house.
As the plan unfolded, and the programme went off successfully, I was on cloud nine. I had not felt this happy in a long time. And after the event I only desired to serve them more.
I realized at the end of the programme that this is the simple secret of happiness which I had forgotten for a long time. I now only have to do one thing; just serve devotees selflessly, thinking of their happiness. Then I will naturally be happy.
And now I can also recall those painful moments when I was miserable, and contrast it with this exhilarating experience of serving devotees at home. Those miserable moments earlier were due to a preoccupation with thoughts of how to organize my life and be happy. I now also realize that all my distress and moments of loneliness can be attributed to selfish thoughts. The days I have spent thinking of making others happy have been the happiest days for me too.
Wow!! What a simple science and I have heard this often from devotees. But I guess I had to go through these contrasting experiences for it to sink in. Now the challenge is to remember this event and treasure it for life. And most importantly, resolve and with determination serve everyone without any selfishness.
I pray to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna that I can truly live up to this principle, “How can I serve?” I am sure my happiness and peace is then a by product. In fact it won’t be a concern as service brings with it boundless happiness and contentment.