Happiness turns to Misery

Once, a disciple approaches his Guru and says, “People pursue happiness day and night. Even then in the end, why are they miserable and depressed?”

Guru says, “You are not the first to ask this question. This doubt has been raised by many since eons. For example, there’s a prayer from the Rigveda. ‘O despair (extreme poverty, morbid state)! Please move far away from us’.”

Guru explains further, “One who desperately seeks material pleasures begins to act thoughtlessly. Once he gets what he was seeking, he appears to be content and happy, but this is only temporary. To fulfill his own selfish motives, his actions become thoughtless and immoral. As a result, he only gets misery and sorrow. Similarly, in the ‘Manobodha’ Samarth Ramdas Swami also advises the mind.”

Disciple says, “Then Gurudev, shouldn’t we expect any luxuries?”

Guru says, “O child! There’s no harm in working to get some comfort in life. But we should not overdo it. We shouldn’t let our minds overtake our intellect. Too much involvement in material things only leads to frustrations and repentance later.”

Disciple says, “Gurudev, please explain.”

Guru says, “Hang on, the best way to explain this is through a story. There was a monk. He would smear ashes all over his body and roam about. He was known as the one who had conquered all his desires. Once an old lady approached him and said, ‘I want to go on a trip. I have 100 coins. I would like to request you to please take care of them until I return’.”

Disciple says, “Did this monk accept her request?”

Guru says, “Well, he asked the old lady to dig a hole in a corner of her hut and bury her coins there.”

Disciple says, “What happened next?”

Guru says, “The old lady did as the monk said and went on her trip. When she returned, she asked the monk for her 100 coins. He pointed to the hole she had dug. She dug up the hole but did not find her money.”

Disciple says, “Where did it go?”

Guru says, “What happened next was, that the woman started crying. She fell at the monk’s feet and begged him. But the monk did not respond. Now, a man happened to come by. He told the monk that he was going out of town and that he wants the monk to hold on to his 1000 coins. The next day the man’s brother would come and pick them up.”

Disciple says, “This must have been a celebration for the monk.”

Guru says, “However, the old lady screams out, ‘This monk is not honest, he is a thief. He stole my 100 coins’.”

Disciple says, “The old lady is right.”

Guru says, “The monk became thoughtful. ‘I am getting 1000 coins, why let them go?’ So, he tells the old lady, ‘You did not look properly. I will dig out your money for you.’ He goes into the hut and comes back out with her 100 coins. The old lady, now very happy, went her way.”

Disciple says, “Now the monk must have received the 1000 coins to steal, didn’t he?”

Guru says, “Not exactly, the man’s brother happened to come by. So, he didn’t have to leave the coins with the monk. The man had played a very intelligent trick on the monk to expose his act.”

Disciple says, “This is wonderful.”

Guru says, “The fake monk felt guilty. He could not look anyone straight in the eye. In the Rigveda, there’s a statement that a person feeling the pinch of his mistake prays, ‘O God of Good Judgement, please have compassion for me. Inspire me so I am moral, truthful and humble. Please bless me’.”

Disciple says, “In our day to day life, we face dishonest people, or we behave untruthfully, how do we control our mind then?”

Guru says, “Direct your mind towards real happiness. Once it realizes where its contentment lies, it will not wander.”

Disciple says, “What should we do?”

Guru says, “I am telling you just that. Sit calmly, close your eyes, relax your body and just observe.”