Ultimate blissful living – action, knowledge and devotion combined
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
Among all living beings it is man who needs to find the state of ultimate blissful living. However, common properties among all beings are fear, reproduction, and death. Why does only man try to find the truth? There are many examples in which chosen people (by destiny!) sacrificed all comforts and even left society to attain perfect concentration and thereby intuition to visualize the ultimate truth. After that they returned to society (not to their own family) to show the way to ultimate truth, or rendered real services to uplift the downtrodden, or developed brotherhood among the masses. All this is possible for a family man too! But his family consists of the sum total of the whole creation.
All of us are at various stages of spiritual progress (sometimes maybe in the position of a standstill, or falling). The question is: where does it begin and where does it end? When a man tries to be righteous by adopting even a single virtue perfectly he is considered to be on the path of spirituality.
Peace of mind is the first requisite in the pursuit of the truth. Since we all are engaged in some occupation (including work, recreation, body care, etc.) all the time with expectations of desired results, peace of mind is disturbed when the result is not up to our expectations, or contrary to it. This needs detachment not only from the fruit of one’s actions but also from the body, one’s family, and social bonds.
This constitutes Karma Yoga: working without expectations of the desired results, whereby the fruits of all the actions are offered to God. As a result of such a mentality, one gets peace of mind.
An element of luck is added in the outcome of each of one’s efforts, and luck is nothing but the karmic effect of the actions in earlier lives. Astrology tries to penetrate into the mystery of the future for each individual, and to evolve a life pattern. It also suggests various techniques and efforts to combat misfortune, which may not always be successful.
When Karma Yoga is adopted fully and perfected, one embarks on the Knowledge path with a cool mind. Negative mentality has to be eliminated with determination, and positive feelings have to be followed. It leads to the understanding of our true nature, i.e., the inner self. Here awaits the real blissful state to be enjoyed for some time by the mind.
To make the blissful state permanent, one has to embark on drawing the attention of others to leave selfish pursuits and develop brotherhood among them. This is the devotion path and it is best followed with a personal god.
Although each one of us is thirsty for the elixir of life – a selfless love – we are pursuing our own whims, fancies and desires instead, which breed misery among ourselves.
The devotion path is independent and may be adopted from the beginning. From this the action and knowledge paths follow automatically.