Marry Mahaprabhu’s Teachings
"If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things." - Albert Einstein
It is so satisfying to read this quote because I often see people running around like headless chickens in search of happiness. Many years ago, I met one of my recently initiated disciples. She seemed chirpy, so I asked her, “Why are you so happy?”
She was excited to answer my question and replied, “Wait one moment!”
She hurried out of the room and returned holding a set of photographs, which she started showing to me. They were from her recent sky-diving holiday in Europe. I could see she was brimming with happiness just from fulfilling one thing on her bucket list!
When I met her again the following year, I saw a little sadness in her eyes. I asked her, “Why are you so unhappy?”
She replied, “I am at that stage where it seems life no longer has any purpose. I feel like I am just waiting to die.”
Many of us equate happiness with going on a holiday, getting a partner, buying a new house or a new car, fulfilling our bucket list, getting a dream job, and so forth. But if you really look at those experiences, most are just short-term activities or wants; they have no deeper purpose. While it is good to have such experiences, they do not give meaning to our lives. After attaining one of your material goals, you often find yourself lying in bed thinking, what will be the next source of my happiness? I can tell you what comes next: under the influence of your mind, the places you visit, the company you keep, and so forth, you set another temporary goal and start chasing after it with the belief that it can make you happy.
But according to Albert Einstein, this way of life will not give you happiness. The same sentiment was expressed by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Approximately 300 years before Einstein, Mahaprabhu defined the real purpose of life in verse three of his Shikshashtakam:
तृणादिप सुनीचेन तरोरिप सिहषुना ।
अमािनना मानदेन कीतरनीयः सदा हिरः ||
tṛṇādapi sunīcena tarorapi sahiṣṇunā ।
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ ||
“Be useful to others, have a lot of patience, remove ego and chant the Holy Name to attain eternal bliss.”
One day, I sat down to reflect upon Mahaprabhu’s teachings, because I realised that he instructed us to do more than just chant. First and foremost, he asked us to be of use to others and to have a lot of patience in that process so that it can remove our ego. This realisation led me to redefine my aim for this life. Besides giving discourses on the purest form of love, that of the Braj gopis, I started to serve nature, animals, and disadvantaged people as well.
From my personal experience, I can tell you that if you marry Mahaprabhu’s teachings and have a romance with the process, you will enjoy your journey in this life and beyond.