The only thing we all seek is happiness. But, we indulge in contrary actions: one gets married because one wants to be happy; one seeks divorce because one wants to be happy! Is permanent happiness really possible? ‘Yes’, says Sri Krishna, and gives wonderful tips for happiness, success, satisfaction and self-discovery in the Bhagwad Gita.
His first message is, ‘Refuse to be miserable’. Life can be painful, but it need not be sorrowful. If you want to be happy, find occasions to be cheerful. Before you fall into self-pity and blame games, remember that responsibility comes to only those who feel responsible. Challenges are faced by the strong and courageous, and if life brings you such opportunities, then turn failures into success. This is the art of right contact in life.
Hence, develop the right perspective. If we choose to see situations as problems, we will be bogged down. If we choose to see them as opportunities, we will be inspired. Take them as occasions to make a difference, to make a change, and develop inner strength.
Second, pay full attention to the action at hand. Mostly, our mind is busy focussing on results. They do not come according to our whims and fancies. They emerge from the quality of our action in the present. There is a widespread misunderstanding that Krishna directs us to work, without expecting results. Actually, Krishna advises us to concentrate our energy and attention on the work at hand. For example, do not worry whether your children are going to look after you in your old age! Enjoy them in the present. Even if the outcome of your actions is unfavourable, at least you would have enjoyed the journey.
Therefore, plan out the result and work with a sense of expectation; it inspires you to work, but recognise that the work itself will produce the result, not the expectation. So, expect if you need to, but do not be disappointed. Calmly accept the result and learn from it. If expectation drives you to action, acceptance keeps you working till the end. Apply this to every situation in life. Once you decide to accept the result, not only will you be mindful in your work, you will continue to expect as well as accept. Thereby, you will enjoy both the process and the result. Hence, do your best, leave the rest and accept whatever comes. This is the right attitude, born of right knowledge.
Another beautiful message is: ‘Happiness in life does not depend upon things, but on the people, you love and are loved by.’ Therefore, love and be loved. Teamwork is possible, solidarity in the family unit is achievable, harmony in society is possible – only if there is mutual sharing. Share whatever you have in abundance. If you have talent, knowledge, wealth, or even a charming smile, share it freely.
Always remember that values are more valuable than valuables. Whom do we like in this world? Become whatever we admire in others. If we want people to be kind to us, be kind; if we want happiness, give happiness to others. One who brings values into his life, becomes valuable. We should never compromise on our values, irrespective of the behaviour of people around us. The greatest value we respect in others, is humility. The greatest spiritual knowledge is gained by only those who are humble.
Apply these tips in your daily life. Live the Gita and gain permanent happiness – here and now!
The author is global head, Chinmaya Mission.