What Is It That Makes You Miserable?

May 14 2013

Bangalore, India

(Below is a continuation of the post The Secret to Great Strength)

A great scientist called Professor D’Hoore had come here to the Ashram. He is a Scientist and an expert in physics. He said that this Universe is held together by three forces. If there were two forces instead of three, the world would have collapsed. These three forces together constantly keep the Universe stable.

He showed this by drawing a model. Just as a ceiling fan has 3 blades, these three forces together keep the Universe in balance. Like the blades of a windmill, when one goes up, the other two blades come down, then it rotates and the one that was up comes down and the other two go up, and so this movement retains the balance. In the same way, when there are three forces present together, only then can something operate continuously, otherwise it is not possible.

Attachment only gives pain. It promises happiness but in reality does not give any happiness. Having a desire for happiness but experiencing misery is what attachment is.

In a pendulum clock, the pendulum swings between two points only, and it continues to swing as long as it is wound. Once the winding gets over, the pendulum stops. But these three forces act at equal distances from each other and hence keep the universe in balance.

So he said that this world is held in balance by these three forces, which is why it has continued to exist all this time.

I said that Lord Krishna has said the same thing in the Bhagavad Gita.

Lord Krishna says that, ‘The three gunas, Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are all born from Me, but I am beyond them and not influenced by them’.

In the next verse, He says, ‘Tribhir guna-mayair bhavair ebhih sarvam idam jagat. Mohitam nabhijanati mamebhyah param avyayam’. (7.13)

Moha (attachment) cannot know My true nature.’

Attachment means having a limited vision. A mother gets so attached to her child that her vision for the child becomes very limited. This is the difference between love and attachment. Attachment only gives pain. It promises happiness but in reality does not give any happiness. Having a desire for happiness but experiencing misery is what attachment is.

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Lord Krishna says, ‘I am endless (avyaya) and I am eternal. This is what others do not know’.

All misery comes from attachment. All the feelings that you experience are a result of the three gunas. But does this mean that we should just discard them all away? No, this is not what He is saying here. The three gunas are important.

He explains in the next verse, ‘Daivi hy-esha guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te’. (7. 14)

He has said a very astonishing thing here.

Often people blame the world (for their own circumstances) and want to run away from it. They think, ‘The world is bad, it is dirty and corrupt’. Such people have never read the Bhagavad Gita. And even if they have read it, they have not understood its true message. Lord Krishna says, ‘These three gunas come and go, yet I am untouched by them. I am eternal and untouched. I am as I have always been’.

So misery cannot diminish your being in any way, neither can happiness expand it. You are the constant, eternal Self - untouched both in times of misery and happiness. In this same way, many feelings arise in you, such as anger. Anger rises in you as a storm and then goes away, but you remain as you always are. You (as the Self or Consciousness) do not experience any loss. Yes, your body experiences some pain and misery because of it. But the Chaitanya Shakti (Consciousness) within you neither diminishes due to sorrow nor does it expand due to happiness. This Chaintanya Shakti is what Lord Krishna is.

Misery cannot diminish your being in any way, neither can happiness expand it. You are the constant, eternal Self - untouched both in times of misery and happiness.

Here, Lord Krishna addresses Himself by saying ‘I, Me, My’. You should not see any difference between God, the Guru Tattva (subtle divine element or principle) and the Atma Tattva (the Self or Consciousness). They are all one.

So here, He is speaking to Arjuna and referring to Himself by using words like ‘I, Me, My’. That ‘I’ is not only Lord Krishna, it is our own soul as well, and it is Paramathma (God) as well. It is not a person who is speaking here, rather it is the power of Divinity that is giving this knowledge. And the same power of Divinity is also listening to this knowledge through Arjuna (here, representing the individual Consciousness).

This can also be understood in another way.

You are eternal, but you are not aware of this, which is why you get carried away by storms of emotions – like misery, happiness. This is because you are caught up in attachment. It may be attachment towards your children, your husband or wife, your friends, or toward wealth, or anything else.

It is because you are caught in attachment, you are not able to recognize your true Self. In such moments, your situation seems to be so big to you that you are unable to see anything else.

For example, one whose mind is feverish about money can think of nothing else. He cannot think of his relationships, his friends and family, not even his own health and wellbeing. Such a person ends up losing everything because of being stuck in attachment.

Brothers fight among themselves because of money. Children fight with their parents because of money.

Even attachment to religion brings misery. All suffering happens because of attachment. Lord Krishna says, ‘Those who are deluded by such attachments, they are not aware of my true nature. They forget that I am eternal and untouched. I (as Pure Consciousness) do not expand or diminish because of anything. I am the supreme power behind everything, but people do not realize this’.

So does this mean that in order to attain God, one should not engage in relationships or be a householder? No, not at all. You are not supposed to abandon your responsibilities and run away from home. Just understand that everything that happens, happens because of the influence of the three gunas.

Lord Krishna says, ‘You should also not curse the three gunas, because they are Divine, they belong to Me and are born from Me. This entire creation and everything in it is born out of Me, so how can you curse it, when you know that it is born out of me and me alone?’ 

For example, if you curse a picture, you are actually cursing the artist who has created that picture. Honouring Nature is honouring God, because Nature is born out of God and remains in God.

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(Note: The discourse was given in Hindi. Above is a translation of the orginal talk.)

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