Vraja Bihari Das

“Man is the connecting link between dust and deity”

  • James Basford
When you are tired walking under the hot sun, and then enter an air conditioned room, what you feel is ‘relief.’ But after the initial relief from the heat has passed on, and the air condition is irrelevant to your other activities inside the room, how do you feel? If you feel contended at heart, despite a plethora of other issues bothering you, then you are more than relieved in life. You are happy! If the predominant feeling in the heart is ‘relief’ then it’s temporary happiness. If it’s ‘contentment’ or ‘fulfillment’, you know you are on the right track; you are on the path to permanent happiness. Most people seek relief from suffering and sadly equate the fleeting pleasures, which their senses experience, with happiness. If a person is disturbed in his relationship-let’s assume his beloved has ditched him- and he drinks a few pegs to forget his worries, that’s a temporary experience. He’s in denial of his pain. Instead of experiencing happiness from booze, he simply gets relief for some time. However, the mind would soon get immune to a ‘few pegs.’ Next time he’s distressed, he’d need more of the liquor, and the mind’s craving to get a bottle would also be stronger. And even if he does get more liquor, the experience is still a relief. It’s not deeply fulfilling. The temporary sources of pleasure in this world bring intense pain with time. Permanent happiness on the other hand refers to a deeply fulfilling experience. When we connect to God through chanting of the holy names, we transcend the need to titillate our senses to get some quick relief from suffering. One is able to tolerate the urges of the mind and senses. Going back to the previous heart-break example, now the lover takes shelter of God, and offers heart-felt prayers as he chants the holy names. This results in more than relief experience. Instead of forgetting his pain, he has now offered his wounded heart to God for healing. Now he’s no longer in denial; he’s not running away from his misery, but facing them upfront by connecting to God. This gives him the strength to face the pain, and also relish God’s presence in his life. That’s a spiritual experience, and a symptom of permanent happiness. To be continued….  ]]>

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