We all know that everybody has to undergo miseries and privations in his life. Nobody can proclaim that he is always happy and does not know what misery is. A famous Roman Emperor has said that throughout his whole life he was happy only for about eight days. The great Saint Tukaram says in one of his verses, that happiness is just like a grain of poppy seed and misery is just like a mountain. In this world duality like light and darkness, bitter and sweet, hot and cold and pleasure and pain,is bound to exist. If there was only happiness here nobody could have any idea of happiness. In fact the word happiness would have no meaning at all.
Vedanta tells us that happiness and misery is the result of our actions in the past lives (Prarabdha). We are not here to discuss why we enjoy or suffer in this life,but will discuss the ways and means of overcoming miseries only. The first and foremost maxim is that man becomes more miserable by just imagining the sting of miseries rather than actually going through them. Suppose you have a toothache and you have to get that tooth extracted,your misery will start at that very moment due to the fear of the excruciating pain which you have to suffer in the upcoming future. But when you visit him,if he is not there due to some reason, you feel really happy and saved.Most probably you will forget your pain on knowing about the dentist’s absence.When we open our mouth for the final operation, it is called the zero hour. As time passes, our fear starts to subside. We are usually afraid of imaginary worries and miseries than the ones actually happening.Suppose it is a festive season and trains are overcrowded. Now If you have to undertake a journey, your misery will starts at that very moment due to reasons like the fear of not being unable to get a ticket, or getting a seat in the train.This fear lasts only till you reach the station. Your fear will vanish and you will then realize that your anxiety was unfounded and over-exaggerated. It must be noted that out of a hundred imaginary worries, we do not experience even one hundredth of them. Whenever there is a very powerful thought in our conscious mind it will enter into our subconscious mind, and in the end materialize. Some people, and particularly ladies always imagine that they are suffering from some disease like cancer and that they are sinking or loosing/gaining weight day by day. Repetition of such thoughts actually affects their health and they do suffer from such a malady.
It is therefore necessary to entertain good and healthy thoughts in your mind about your well being. You must not be afraid of your misery. When some calamity is likely to befall just ask yourself “What will be worst than this ?” This challenge will break the very sting and flow of your coming misery.
When you try to run away from calamities they run after you and when you face them boldly they fly away from you.
What is Misery ?
The word ‘MISERY’ literally means :
1. Wretchedness of condition or circumstances.
2. Distress or suffering caused by need, privation, or poverty.
3. Great mental or emotional distress; extreme unhappiness.
4. A cause or source of distress.
It is observed in everyday life that some people are subject to terrible miseries and privations such as death of an only son, incurable disease, rigorous imprisonment and so on.
There are some miseries which we cannot escape or fight. We cannot either postpone the time of their occurrence or transfer them to others. There is a saying that miseries only end by sufferance and by no other means. We should gladly submit to them thinking that it is the will of God Almighty. Nobody can escape old age, disease and death.Therefore, it is wise to face miseries boldly. The thought that others are also suffering along with you is a, comforting but remember that every calamity or misery will end at some point of time.
“Every cloud has a silver lining” Secondly why should we expect only pleasures from God?If we consider that pleasures and pain are equal, the more pleasure you get,the same amount of pain and misery must be inflicted upon you or somebody else in the world in order to balance both. One should not therefore entertain such selfish thoughts in his mind.According to Lord Krishna,in Bhagvad Gita By uttering the name of God constantly, many miseries are mitigated.
“I am fully responsible for the well-being of a devotee who utters my name constantly in his mind.“
Such a Godly thought dispels any fear about a calamity. Repetition of God’s name serves as an anesthesia to the suffering mind. When the mind is fully saturated with the name of God, the merciful Almighty inspires the friends of the victim to help him in all ways thus making his miseries bearable and most of the time eradicating its miseries. The thought that only God is the giver and mitigator of misery is also reassuring.Learning about the lives of great people also helps in lessening the sting of many miserable persons. Napoleon Bonaparte, the emperor of France, had to live a life of a prisoner at St. Helena. Lord Rama had to go in a jungle for 12 years King Harishchandra had to work as a water carrier in the house of a Domba (Funeral ground attendant). Saints like Eknath, Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar had to undergo untold miseries and privations. Even if you are in a grave problem,face it with a laughing face. Only fools think that wealth is happiness, if such was the case millionaires wouldn’t commit suicide.We have many know and unknown rich people who thought they could be happy by making it big and becoming rich,but in this path they lost everything they had ever gained,and in the end were left with miseries and only miseries. There is no happiness in wealth. Happiness is a condition of a contented mind.
Some millionaires who committed suicide even after having everything they needed,but were converted to nothing in the end, are listed below:
Ramakrishna Paramahansa says in a cryptic sentence “Real happiness comes from renunciation”. Renunciation does not mean discarding pleasure giving away objects. It means giving up attachment towards them. The thought that our destinies are in His hands gives us great peace of mind and happiness. Not to entertain thoughts such as “I will do this or I will not do that” constitute real happiness. One who believes that his whole life,destiny and its activities are predetermined by God achieves great peace of mind.
An enlightened Saint has the full conviction that he is not the body and that pains and pleasures which he undergoes does not affect him at all. He has the further conviction that there since there is nothing else in the world other than self, there is no pain or pleasure to him. As land cannot become wet with a mirage or as a cinema screen is not affected by myriads of pictures projected on it,the self, is not affected by the world panorama and its seer.
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