By Shri Rakesh Bhai August 2012 Do you have to suffer to be spiritual? No, says Shri Rakeshbhai, Founder, Shrimad Rajchandra Mission, Dharampur Do you need to give up happiness to be religious? Absolutely not. I am not asking you to give up happiness. I simply wish to show you a greater source of happiness. Happiness is your true nature. It is your right to be happy. Religion teaches you how to be happy. Only if your life is a celebration, full of love and joy, and if you dance with happiness, can you be religious. Those who lack true understanding are unable to comprehend the essence of religion. They fail to grasp the truth that religion means to be happy, and to spread happiness. Much misunderstanding prevails regarding religion. Misconception about religion Do you harbour the belief that religion means suffering, and inflicting pain on yourself? Just as the belief that happiness can be attained from external objects is not true, so also the belief that one should suffer to become religious, and attain happiness in another lifetime, is not true. If you believe that religion means suffering, you must correct your belief immediately. Otherwise, you will only create a society of people rooted in sorrow who like to suffer. All your so-called religious activities in life will revolve around unhappiness. To respect unhappiness can never be religion. A fakir named Zusia was lying on his deathbed. Someone asked him, “Did you observe austerity and practise your vows properly? Will you be able to face God?” He replied that he knew God very well, and that He was not a wicked person who would ask the number of days you remained hungry, but would ask, “How happy were you? On how many occasions were you able to remain unaffected by situations, revelling in the bliss within?” One who has found boundless joy within, is not bothered by thoughts of food or anything else. He is the true ascetic. Appreciate such a practitioner of austerity, honour him with grand processions, and prostrate yourself at his feet. If your heart overfl ows with joy, know that you are on the path of true religion, and a religious person remains untouched, joyful, and fragrant wherever he is Such a person can truly be called religious. Worshipping an unhappy person is not religious. On the contrary, he should be pitied. By praising those who lack knowledge, you are exhibiting your own lack of knowledge. By believing that those who make themselves and others unhappy are religious, you are associating religion with unhappiness and committing a grave mistake. That is why unhappiness is the goal of your life, and you end up unhappy. Your false beliefs about religion are so strongly rooted that you are not willing to budge, even by an inch. You are willing to be unhappy, but not to change your perspective. You cannot see a religious person being joyful, nor can you accept that a joyful person is religious. You have linked being religious with unhappiness. However, religion is undoubtedly the ultimate destroyer of all suffering. Religion is the art of being in a state of happiness. If you become religious in the true sense, you will inevitably become joyful. One whose life is full of joy is dear to God. Such a person remains happy in any situation. The characteristic of a happy person is contentment. What is true religion? Religion shows you a greater source of happiness. It tells you to dive deep within and know your true self. This is not a difficult task. In fact, it is simple. If you ask a rose in full bloom whether the process of blooming was difficult, it will say, “When I did not have to become a jasmine, why should it be difficult? I only had to bloom. There was joy in blooming and joy even after blooming.” Blooming is a natural phenomenon. How can something natural be difficult? Being natural is being normal, and being normal is always simple. Religion is to become steady in one’s own nature. How can that be difficult? Shri Rakeshbhai is a spiritualvisionary and a modern-daymystic. His preachings inspirepeople to rise above religiousdogma and focus on theEternal. Do not keep wandering outside aimlessly. Your treasure is hidden within you, and yet you beg elsewhere. Your kingdom lies within, and yet you look for riches outside. Just change the direction of your search, look within, and your life will be revolutionised. Why is it that you never undertake the journey within you? You wander far away and count your miseries. You prepare to go to the moon and stars, but not within. You ignore what is close by. The self is the closest, but you believe it to be far. The first thing therefore, is to realise that it is the closest. Then efforts should be made to become steady. When one’s discriminative faculties are awakened, and one sees that the external world cannot bring real joy, the inward journey begins. If you start the inward journey, you will turn to yourself. Moreover, if you turn within, you will come close to that which will never leave you. As you turn within, fountains of joy will spring forth. Not only will you be full of joy, you will also make the world joyous. One, who is happy, makes others happy. What else can he radiate but happiness? If you are unhappy, then you have turned your back on God. The pursuit of religion is not escapism or cowardice. It is not a matter of helplessness, or weakness. If your heart overflows with joy, know that you are on the path of true religion, and a religious person remains untouched, joyful, and fragrant wherever he is.
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