Truth, Religion & Happiness
None of the words can sufficiently explain what existence is. Because it is beyond words and periphery of the mind to perceive what exactly is truth. That’s the reason all enlightened masters have always felt this sheer helplessness, that even they have spoken so much yet the truth remains unsaid.
Once, Buddha was asked by one of the great philosophers of that time, “You had been speaking since your enlightenment for forty years or so. Don’t you think you have said whatever you wanted to say.” It was autumn and there were dried leaves scattered all over the ground like a lush carpet. Buddha held leaves in his hands and said, “My dear friend, all that I have said so far is equivalent to the leaves in my hand and all that which is yet unsaid is equivalent to the leaves that you see on the ground.” Mind you, Buddha has been speaking for more than forty years, always surrounded by seekers day and night. There was always someone, with questions, seeking answers from this great master. See this continuous speaking of forty years and yet Buddha is saying that what he has spoken amounts to be a handful of the leaves and what is yet to be spoken is as much as the leaves in the garden.
Philosopher was totally amazed and asked, “Why aren’t you saying that is yet not said?” Buddha smiled and he said, “I cannot because no one can do that. It is impossible. The vast magnitude of the truth cannot be put into the small vessel of the words. I am trying my best, whatever I can do, in whatever way, whatever expression, in whatever gesture. I am using everything to pour my compassion & love. And I am speaking with the earnest prayer that whosoever comes to me becomes a Bodhisattva, becomes a seeker and becomes enlightened; does not die with the ignorance with which we all are born.”
The scriptures are the words collected by the disciples and later being compiled to be given a shape of a book, to be known as a holy book. Every religion has its own holy book. No doubt every book is talking about the truth but it cannot be compared to a master speaking, pouring the truth. It is just like one can feel the freshness of a dew drop there and then. A book will always be a book. As a recipe book cannot satisfy one’s hunger, neither can it be one of the famous chefs of the world. Although, it can carry the most delicious recipe and beautiful pictures with exuberant colours, but seeing these pictures, reading the recipes, or knowing the method to prepare a dish cannot satisfy your hunger. Your hunger doesn’t go away. You have to cook it or someone else does for you, only then you can eat it. That’s the only way with which your hunger can go. Similarly, every mind is carrying that hunger: to know, to seek. Sometime people are not even aware of this. They do not know at their conscious level that they are seeking the truth only. They have different names for it. In most cases they give name to this seeking as searching for happiness. Whether you are a theist or an atheist, a believer or non-believer, each & every individual who is walking on this earth has a brain and heart and is looking for happiness. And I say happiness is the other name of the ‘Truth’. It can be called an immature name of the truth. But yet it is another name of truth.
One is looking for this happiness in carnal pleasures, in sensuality, in food, in eating well, in merriment, in dance, in copulation. After all this wonderment, still one remains unsatisfied with the outcomes. One remains unhappy even after pursuing what one thinks is right and can provide happiness. But man is cunning and now he realises that what if he is not happy today. He thinks, ‘I will be happy tomorrow’. So, one thing remains and that is hope. Hope that tomorrow definitely I will be happy. If the circumstances change, then definitely I will be happy. Then he plans and thinks that if things go according to what he has planned and if his strategy works, no one can stop him to be happy. So here we associate certain conditions which we apply to our happiness. So there is no need to worry for our today which is unhappy. Since we have great plans for our tomorrow and we always have this hope, it never dies. It never leaves us. It is a constant friend which is walking with us every step since our birth.
The religion practiced by the masses is being fed upon this edifice of hope. And everyone is being told that a day will come when you will be really happy. And if you want that day to arrive soon, do something. For example, go on a pilgrimage or do some charity or chant mantras or seek an astrologer who will let you know when your good time is coming. Have a great hope! I respect astrology as a science, but it’s tragic that there are only few of the practitioners who are doing it with scientific temper. So one of the naïve astrologer was approached by a man and was asked, “Please look into my horoscope and let me know what’s going to happen in my life, when will I be happy.” The astrologer went through his chart, gave him predictions and asked him to wear some gem stones, do this and do that.
This gentleman had another friend along with him. The astrologer intriguingly asked his friend, “Wouldn’t you like to know that what is there for you in your future?” Man said, “No, thank you very much, I am happy with whatever I have. I am ok with that.” Astrologer would not let him go and said, “No, No, you have to do it. Since you are claiming to be happy, I will look for your future with reducing my fee to 50 %.” Man said, “Ok, I don’t mind.” So he asked his date of birth, did his calculations and said whatever he wanted to say. Both of them stood up to leave and the man said, “Ok, we will leave.” On this astrologer enquired, “What about my fees?” The man said, “So didn’t you check your own horoscope that this man will not pay me. It could have been that simple because I was already saying that I am not interested but you were pushing me into it. You should have better checked before, you could have seen my forehead line or my hand lines or my horoscope but my horoscope has turned out to be horror scope for you now.” The beauty of the spirituality is thus, “As long as you are hoping to be happy in your future, that future will never be your present because the present will always remain a present and the future will always remain a future. We cannot change the future into the present.” Can you? Do you have any magic, do you have any mantra or do you have any siddhi to do that? Do you have miraculous power to change the future into the present if your present is unhappy? Do not fool yourself with the hope that one day in future, by chanting mantras, by going to the pilgrimage, my stars will be favourable. These are nothing but the lame excuses.
Let me remind you one thing: the religion being practiced by the masses turns out to be shallow. They tend to depend too much on the belief system which is been offered by their respective religions. It turns out to be more of a ritualistic jamboree, whereby one is assigned to be a Hindu, a Sikh, a Buddhist, a Christian. Each and every person has a typical way of doing things which their religion and their scripture has asked them. And in some cases, they are being told by the priest who asks them to do this and do that. I have found in my experience that thousands of people even don’t even really read their scriptures, but they just carry it as a trophy in their homes. So they may have a picture of a great painter which hangs in one of the corners of the wall decorating their home. Similarly, they may have a scripture which might be decorating a bookshelf or a room by which they can claim themselves to be religious. They really don’t delve into that or dig deep into that. Who has the time? The strangest of the strange thing is that they are looking for the happiness. Each and every one is looking for happiness and yet they don’t know where to look for. I am reminded of a story. A beggar, day in and day out, would be seen on the same place begging in his worn-out clothes, disorderly beard, famished body and with weak physique. And one day he died. Since everyone saw him daily sitting and begging at the same place, they decided to form a graveyard right there. So they dug up the earth and to their astonishment on reaching three feet down, they found a box full of treasure. Just see that he kept on sitting on the treasure box whole of his life yet he remained a beggar. Why? He didn’t have any clue. No one even had a clue that a beggar is sitting on a treasure worth millions and still he is a beggar. Similar is the state of man today. He goes on pursuing happiness when he has the treasure of pure joy & happiness within.