Baba Explains 'Happiness and sorrow are delusions'
One day the pure and virtuous Nanasaheb Chandorkar and Nanasaheb Nimonkar came to Shirdi for the darshan of Sri Sai Baba. Nana sahib prostrated at Baba's feet and prayed, "Oh Sai Maharaj, Oh thou able one! No more this worldly life for me. All the Shastras say that this worldly life is futile. Protector of the meek and the downtrodden! Please tear asunder these chains of worldly attachments, which entangle us and hinder our progress. What pleasures we seek are turning into pain to haunt and torment us. Desire is making us dance like puppets at her whim. No matter how far the search, we are unable to find true bliss in this world. I am fed up of this life. I do not want these worldly entanglements anymore."
Baba patiently heard what Chandorkar had to say. He said, "From where are you getting these insane ideas? What you say is true to some extent but you seem to have gone off on a tangent on the whole. You may try to escape from the worldly but it will not let you escape from it. It will always stick by your side. It is not possible for anyone to escape from its clutches. Even I could not escape being entangled in this body of mine. How then can you escape the entanglements? This world has many attributes. Let me explain them to you. When lust, anger, covetousness, delusion, pride and envy are covered by ego the result is worldliness. That is the world. The eyes see an object, the ears hear, the tongue tastes – this too is the world. It is the nature of the body. This world is an admixture of pleasure and pain. They do not leave anyone. No one can escape from their clutches. You feel that wealth, wife and children are the world. You are now weary of this. But they - the wife, children, brothers and sisters, relatives will not leave you even if you wish to leave them. The reason for all this is your prarabhda karma. Know that none in the three worlds can escape it without experiencing it and working it out."
Chandorkar heard what Baba said. He replied, "All what you had said earlier was given by God and are his creation, the last - prarabhda is my own creation. I am wearied of this worldliness. Please remove my entanglements and save me somehow or the other."
Baba laughed, "Everything is your creation. What is the use of feeling fed up now? All these are the result of the karma of your previous lives, the result of the prarabdha karma. This prarabdha is the main reason for us to take birth in this world. None can escape the prarabdha. That is why people are born. There are the poor, the middleclass, the rich, the others, the bachelors, the vaanaprasthas, the sanyasis, the high and mighty, the low and such many kinds of people. There are many animals such as horses, cattle, foxes, birds, tigers, wolves, dogs, pigs, cats, snakes, scorpions, the ants and insects. The life inhabiting them all is the same. But they all look different from each other to the casual onlooker. Have you ever thought why this should be so? It is because of their sanchita karma that they are different from each other. They assume the qualities, conduct and the way of life as per their bodies. What is the purpose of seeing all these bodies and feeling wearied? The tiger eats meat. The pig eats excreta. The wolf digs out the buried human body and eats it with relish. It is the nature of their bodies which makes them do that. The swan eats the tender leaves of the lotus; the vultures eat the stinking decayed meat. One gets the qualities and the habits of the body one is born in. This is the law of the nature. It is in accordance with this law of the nature that the living beings experience their prarabdha karma. Look here Nana! Some lions roam freely in the jungle - the lords of all they survey. Some lions are caged and taken from village to village on show. The rich man's dog sleeps on mattresses of silk. Some dogs keep roaming throughout the day for a few pieces of bread. Some cattle are fed to satiety with hay. The owner gives them sufficient water and oilcakes to feed and takes good care of them. Some cattle keep roaming throughout the day, hungry for food. They do not even get a few stalks of grass to eat and have to nose about the rubbish.
The main reason for these differences is the prarabdha karma. None can escape it without experiencing it to the full. It is the reason for the prosperity of the rich and the poverty of the poor. None can escape its writ without undergoing the full course. What law applies to animals applies to humans too. One is rich, the other poor; one is prosperous, the other in the clutches of wretched poverty. One is an orphan who has to beg for alms. One moves like a prince on horseback. One enjoys all the luxuries of life in kingly mansions. One has nothing to call his own and sleeps naked on the bare ground, the sky itself his roof. Some have progeny. Some have progeny, but they all die. Some women are barren and bear no children. Some women go to much trouble for just for the sake of bearing children."
As Baba was saying this, Nana folded his hands in obeisance and said, "Baba! Why then do we have happiness and sorrow? We get pleasure from happiness and heart breaking pain from sorrow. The person who is entangled in the world suffers between both these extremes every second of his life. If this world is the store house of happiness and sorrow; how can one destroy sorrow and achieve happiness without leaving it?"
Baba said, "Happiness and sorrow are delusions. They are the fog which covers up and hides the reality. What we feel are the pleasures of this world are not truly its pleasures. Examine this aspect closely. Many people commit mistakes in understanding these aspects. It is by the prarabdha karma that one gets delicious food to eat while another gets dry bread to eat. The one who gets the stale dry bread may be plunged into sorrow. Another may get merely the dry crust of the stale bread. The man who got the delicious food to eat will think that he has every thing and lacks nothing. One may eat delicious food or one may eat rice with pickle. It is merely to assuage hunger and to fill the stomach. Some may wear costly shawls with jewelled embroidery. Some may cover their skin with rags. It may be a costly shawl or a rag; the purpose is to cover the skin only. Beyond this basic use there no further use for these things".
"It is ignorance to give importance to happiness or sorrow. If the mind is an ocean, the waves of sorrow and happiness are always rising and falling in that ocean. What you feel as sorrow and happiness are not real. They are mere delusion caused by your infatuation with the body. You may have a doubt here. Waves are present if only water in present. Light is present if only a lamp is present. So there must be a causative factor for the birth of these notions such as happiness and sorrow. What is it? It is the six enemies such as lust, anger, covetousness, delusion, pride and envy which is the basis for the experience of happiness and sorrow in this world. The form of the waves is delusion. It makes the truth seem a lie; and a lie seems as the truth. When a poor man sees gold in the hand of a rich man, he feels envious. Then the wave of envy starts in his mind. He gets the feeling, "That gold should be in my hand." The moment he gets this feeling, another wave of greed starts in his mind. Nana, how many more examples can I give you of this? First, we have to conquer our six enemies. Once they are conquered, they cannot do anything to start these waves our mind. To tell the truth we cannot fully conquer these six enemies but we can make them our slaves. We should place our knowledge as the superior officer over these six enemies. Over knowledge, we should place discrimination as the supervising officer. If we successfully achieve this, there will be no further pain of happiness and sorrow for us."
(SRI SAIGURUCHARITRA - by devotee Ganpatrao Dattatreya Sahasra-buddhebetter known as Das Ganu Maharaj)