Like most of you, I also have met hundreds of thousands of people in my life. When we ask, “how are you?”, depending on our relationship with that person the replies range from “it’s great” to “all well” to “ok” to “going on”. Hardly do we hear, “too bad”. People generally do not want others to know they are unhappy. Why?
You may have seen that persons known to be wealthy do not want others to know when they have financial crisis. Persons famous for being physically fit may not want to disclose their health challenges for fear of losing reputation. The point being made is, we want to be, believe, and make others believe that we are fine. Again, why?
They say life is great for those who think it is. Even then, how many really think life is great and how many just say it is but don’t believe it? If life were to be great just by saying it is, then most people today would be happy. Sadly that is not the case. In reality, saying all is well when scarcely anything is well hardly changes facts except increasing inner frustration. This is natural.
At greater risk are those who think and believe that they are doing great and life will always be in pink. This does not imply that life can never be great. The risk is not necessarily in enjoying happy moments; it is in thinking that it will always be like that because we have secured all we need.
If we analyse our life we can understand that we always depend on external circumstances to be happy. No one can be happy alone. This is true even when referring to inner or spiritual happiness. An apparently lone yet content person also associates with fond memories and contemplates a joyful future. Spiritual happiness is experienced on an entirely different platform but even there also the practitioner associates with spiritual realizations and in the best case, with the Lord along with His eternal devotees. We do not like to be known or remembered as unhappy persons because we are originally happy living entities. To be unhappy is against our original consciousness.
Remember this when life seems all great
Coming to the central point, we need to understand that whatever we enjoy in this life is the result of our previous pious activities, and that if we want to continue enjoying we will need to continue performing pious acts.
Consider the following scenario.
Mr A has accumulated money in the bank and goes on a vacation. He stays in an expensive hotel, eats sumptuously, enjoys gardens, swimming pool, games and sleeps peacefully. All his needs are fulfilled as attendants wait for his order.
Mr B is a peon in the same hotel and a witness to Mr A enjoying his life, spending lavishly and withdrawing more money from the ATM as he wishes. When Mr B tries to withdraw money from the same ATM using his own card he is denied the payment. Instead he is forced to work hard everyday to earn his daily bread.
Mr C, a street beggar, is observing this apparently gross injustice to Mr B from the ATM machine and accuses the operator of partiality and conspiracy. He does not understand that Mr A is enjoying now because he has worked to earn in the past and that after his vacation is over he will have to work again to maintain his bank balance if he wants to continue getting cash from the ATM.
The law of karma works similar to this but it looks much beyond what we see; in previous lives. Our present life situations are a cumulative result of our own actions in this as well as in one or more past lives. Even if your life seems to be all perfect, remember that it will not be so for ever. Unless you accumulate more piety you are destined to run out of good times no matter what you believe and no matter what those “positive thinkers” teach you. Positive thinking is not about being selfish and doing anything to achieve desired goals. It is about putting good thoughts in action. If happiness were all about speaking and thinking only then why the need to eat and sleep? Why not only think of food and be satisfied?
Thinking, feeling, willing and acting all have their own reactions. You are happy in this life not because you studied well or earned well. Instead, you were able to study well and earn more because of your previous pious activities. There are more hard-working people who spent sleepless nights in studying but still don’t succeed. Some people hardly earn their livelihood despite overworking. On the other hand there are more educated and wealthier people in the world but they struggle even for a single peaceful night. If you are one of the above or finding yourself in a similar situations, very likely that you are running out of piety.
Piety is of different types. The Vedas and Vedic literature explain in detail what kind of piety offer which benefits. Just like investing in the right market at a right time fetches better income, performing pious activities and doing it during recommended time and place result in better future lives. Conversely, not performing pious actions, or good karma, in this life and spending away the result of accumulated piety undertaken in previous lives will render one karmically bankrupt as such a person will have nothing in possession except result of past vikarma, or sinful actions. To such people happiness remains a dream.
In conclusion, do not take your life cheaply. Keep away from irresponsible influencers and people bereft of spiritual knowledge who tell you to just enjoy and go on with life without considering the definite future, that is, your next life. Life without spirituality is the life of animals. While investing this life in pious activities ensures peace and prosperity in the next life, offering result of all our activities to God, Sri Krishna, and acting for His pleasure guarantees eternal happiness.