Last Sunday, September 15, 2013 Revered Swami Nikhileswarananda, spiritual head of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Memorial, Vadodara, gave a talk on “Happiness and Peace in Everyday Life” at Vivekananda Vidyapith.
I just wanted to share briefly few practical guidelines and inspiring thoughts from his talk and question-answer.
To avoid unhappiness and anxieties, do not compare our-selves, our family members, our achievements, wealth and worldly possessions with others. Comparison and competition bring anxieties and we cannot enjoy what we have.
If we want to compare, compare our worldly possessions with people who live with lesser means and for our development compare ourselves with ourselves. Also, for progress compare ourselves with people who have made great achievements in our field, especially in the spiritual path.
To avoid problems created by a generation gap, develop communication between two generations. Parents should try to listen to youngsters and understand them even if sometimes it looks silly. On the other hand youngsters should remember that elders may not be computer or technology experts, but they have many years of experience. Do prayer together every day and eat dinner together.
To bring happiness in the family, forbear, forbear, forbear. Holy Mother Sri Saradadevi used to say “Sa, Sa, Sa; “Sahan karo, Sahan karo, Sahan karo.”
In order to be happy, remember the last message of Holy Mother which was told to her devotee. “If you want peace, do not look into anyone’s faults. Look into your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own.” Holy Mother never saw faults in others. She always encouraged everyone.
To attain infinite happiness, peace, and unselfish love, practice four yogas described in the Bhagavad Gita and elaborated by Swami Vivekananda in his lectures, namely Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raj Yoga, and Jnana Yoga. For that, respectively do unselfish service, prayer, self-control and meditation, and discrimination.
People say, “I want happiness.”
I tell them, remove “I” (ego) and “want” (desires), and then what remains is “Happiness.”
Q: How prarabdha (fate) and purushartha (efforts) are related?
A: In a card-game, the cards you had received is prarabdha and the game you play is purushartha. Again, the result of the game becomes your prarabdha.
Q: Why good people suffer?
A: Joys and sorrows depend on how you look at them. A devotee thinks that both joy and sorrow are given by God for some purpose. Mother gives bitter pills to her child to cure child from illness. Devotee sees that God is the doer of everything.
Q: In our actions, how much we do and how much God does?
A: That depends on the intensity of our ego. If we have 100% ego, then we are the doers of everything. If we have 0% ego, then God does everything.