Our journey of life so far and our journey forward
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
Fortunately we taste the world’s duality first in the form of vices and virtues, pains and pleasures, births and deaths, sadness and happiness, and these are common to all of us. All our efforts are directed towards having an ever pleasing mood and a deathless body. This wish is fulfilled when we become innocent like a child and God holds our hand. It is like we eat first salty and spicy foods and then in the last enjoy sweets. Similarly our eternal journey can be divided in two parts.
Our journey of life (our soul) has no beginning and no ending. So far, the first part of the journey has been that we tried to find peace and happiness in our own way through attachments and possessions. We always tried to go against set rules (obligatory moral codes) wherever we could and remained unmindful of our actions towards others. We also remained absorbed in our selfishness, comforts and enjoyments. The result was dissatisfaction and no enduring happiness. Also our attachments to materialistic objects, persons and our own physical body caused fear, tension, anxiety, envy, worry, bereavement, et cetera. We never believed in the theory of karma (actions) and rebirth, and hardly thought that one day this physical body would be left behind.
Still in the first part of our eternal journey we are possessed by vices, not steady in virtues, playing the game of love and hate and frequently changing tracks. It is said that the life force, or say soul or spirit, which keeps us alive and vibrant, is unchanged and immortal. But we are ignorant about this life force, or soul, and its importance, as we are ignorant about the principles of various scientific theories and the functioning of various
modern gadgets, though we use them. Only those who have curiosity and willpower may know a fragment of all this (physical and spiritual principles), but they will have to start from the beginning and proceed step by step.
The other part of this journey is just opposite to it. Our wishes remain the same, i.e., everlasting peace, pleasure of mind and immortality. These are achieved through love, service and knowing the soul.
Those we love we serve too – this is very simple to understand. According to this rule we all are servants of each other and no one is master. However, a saint who never expects or desires anything from his disciples and even from God is a model of true love, because in all other dealings an element of expectation is hidden.
There are three kinds of persons: (i) those persons who adopt rites and rituals and expect fulfillment of certain desires from God, (ii) those curious persons who try to know about God through the intellect and arrive at a formless God or no God at all, and (iii) those who desire less and are devotees with a submissive intellect.
The journey forward for the first kind of person is that he will certainly be reborn and continue in the cycle of births and deaths, till he comes across some saint. The person of the second kind will return to the original source of the inactive formless Brahman (Supreme Being) losing his identity. The person of the third kind, i.e. a devotee with good intellect, will be freed from the cycle of births and deaths forever. He will have a divine body, mind and intellect through the grace of God, and derive pleasure through serving God in His abode forever.