January 2014 by Professor Sriram The key to happiness is to recognise that we already have everything we need to be happy, says Professor Sriram What is the key to happiness? For that to become clear, let us keep aside spirituality and go back to the basics of Nature. Anything that is precious and is required all the time by everyone is not locked. This is Nature’s law. Everyone requires oxygen all the time. It is not locked anywhere. Everyone requires water; it is not locked anywhere. Yes, it is stored in the well, but not locked. Similarly, a lake does not lock water, it only stores it. A fruit is something all of us need. It is not locked up in a tree. It is available on the tree. Just go and pluck it. Sunlight is similarly not confined anywhere. Therefore anything that is precious, that is needed all through our lives, is available freely, and is not hidden or locked. That is Nature’s law. If happiness is really precious and is needed by everyone all the time, it should not be locked. We are thus trying to find a key, keys and more keys for something that is not locked. You are jealous of those who you think have more keys than you have. Money, status, name, or fame. look like greatly desirable keys. And yet they cannot unlock happiness. That is why, even if we have any number of keys, we do not find happiness. Happiness is outside the box, not inside. It is not hidden, it is visible everywhere. See rightly and it is there, in front of you. Right now, you can jump with joy. There is nothing more you need to do to be happy. You can be happy with whatever you have, and whatever you can do. For instance, to swim, all you need is two legs and two hands. No imported technology, nothing special, nothing extra is required. But in spite of having those two legs and two hands, you can either drown or float. To be joyous in life we do not require anything else other than what we already have been given. All that is required to be happy has already been given by Nature. Beyond the legs and hands we require to swim, anything else we have is a burden. It is enough if we know how we should use the legs, how to move them. Therefore, according to Nature, if you are not happy in spite of all that you have been given, what else will make you happy? What else do you want Nature to give? If we require somebody’s help in achieving anything, it is an inferior act. Anything that you achieve without effort is superior in Nature’s point. Good health. It is the most precious of all your possessions. It is an asset Nature has created for you. You have done nothing to achieve it. And yet, this is your biggest achievement. It is superior to anything that you have achieved by taking help from somebody else. Recognise God’s love We are the products of the highest love and wisdom. Anything that is done by Nature is for our own good. Not wanting to believe this, we get scared at the smallest problem. We weep, we tremble. It is because we forget that Nature’s intelligence and her love are the most enduring. When we face sorrow in any form, anywhere, or in any context, it means we have forgotten this fact. It means, in conventional terms, forgetting the fact that God is the wisest of all, and the highest symbol of love. Therefore, a problem of any sort, however tormenting, is ultimately for our good. We always wonder how to be free from all kinds of fear. Once we recognise God’s love and wisdom, we spontaneously become fearless. My daughter once narrated her nightmare to me. She went to bed as usual and had a dream. In that dream, she was suddenly woken up with a piercing sensation. On opening her eyes she saw the edge of a dagger resting on her stomach. As she watched, scared, the dagger grew and grew in size. There also seemed to be a huge fist holding the handle of the dagger. To her horror, the hand seemed to be burying the dagger deep into her stomach. Almost on the verge of screaming and dropping dead, she raised her head a little higher to see who was holding the dagger. And then, she relaxed immediately. All her fears vanished. However long the dagger, however sharp its cruel edge, she knew that her father could not harm her. Hearing this, I was perplexed. I asked her what was it she saw that made her fearless in an instant. And do you know what she replied? She said the person holding the dagger was me, her dear father. However long the dagger, however sharp its cruel edge, she knew that her father could not harm her. Never! That was her belief and that brought her relief. From the dream my little daughter narrated we see the problem – the dagger – but we forget who is holding it. When you put your trust and belief in His love and wisdom, you will know no fear. My daughter’s dream has saved me from many a nightmare in my own life! Another natural fact clarifies the same truth. Take the case of food. However delicious, however rich – it produces some waste material. Water – whether from a tap or the Manasarovar itself – turns into urine. Likewise, the purest happiness also produces a little sorrow. It is quite natural. When you visit the washroom do you curse God and ask why this? Do you feel depressed? You know that it is natural. Animals eat grass but they also produce waste. Even in the case of trees, after absorbing some water, certain amount of water goes out in the form of transpiration. It is quite natural. Again, this waste is the source of recycling. Animal waste is used as manure. I visited Singapore. The whole city is absolutely clean. But there are dustbins all over. We may ask: why dustbins in such a clean city? The secret of Singapore’s cleanliness is the omnipresent dustbin. The secret of your joy, therefore, is sorrow. You disassociate one from the other – you miss both.
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