The Search for Happiness

Submitted by Hariprasad Das

[The following is a excerpt from a new book Nectar of Harikatha. This book is a collection of divine sermons of a pure devotee --- Most Revered Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Gosvami Maharaja, the president-acarya of Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Math and president of World Vaishnava Association. For more information visit:

Every living being has only one objective: to remove suffering and attain happiness. Everyone is trying in their own way. Are they getting relieved of suffering or getting happiness?

In this regard, there is an illustration narrated in Srimad Bhagawatam. When Lord Nrisimhadeva appeared, He killed Hiranyakasipu and ordered his son Prahlad to sit on throne. By the order of Lord Nrisimhadeva, Prahlad Maharaj sat on the throne and started looking after the affairs of the kingdom. He used to support his subjects in distress and happiness by meeting them personally. Hence his subjects were happy. One day Prahlad Maharaj was going along with his ministers to get the news of his subjects. He saw from a distance a dark man lying on the sand, wearing just a loincloth.

Prahlad Maharaj asked his ministers to find out the reason for that. Ministers were not enthused by Maharaj's order, thinking that he might be a mad person and hence not worth attention. Then Prahlad Maharaj himself went to that person. He paid obeisances by lying on the sand and placed that man's feet on his head. Seeing all this ministers were astonished thinking why their king is behaving in this manner with a mad man.

Then Prahlad Maharaj politely asked that person – "Why are you lying on this hot sand like this? Your body is strong. You can earn money by working and live comfortably by making a beautiful hut and serve tens of people of society. Look, how many people are walking in front of you. All have same objective - to remove suffering and attain happiness. All are working day and night for happiness. You also work for your happiness."

That person laughed and replied, "You say that all people are working day and night for happiness and you are also asking me to work day and night. I see that everybody is working day and night hoping for happiness but nobody is getting peace. Nobody is getting happiness; rather they are getting more suffering, and then is it intelligent to work day and night for sorrow? This is not an act of intelligence and hence I am lying on sand unbothered."

To labour for happiness is intelligent but it is foolish to work for sufferings. We think that getting money will make us happy, but go and ask wealthy people if they are happy?

Thomson Bata (owner of Bata Shoe company), whose sun like money never set, who was the second richest person of the world during his time, committed suicide by jumping from the 14th floor of his mansion in Paris. Does anyone commit suicide in happiness? One commits suicide when he is not able to tolerate grief.

Henry Ford had only one son. When he was thirty years old, he got infected by a severe disease which became the cause of his death. Did the billions of money of his father come of any use to him? Could that richest person of the world, stop his son from dying, on the might of his money?

Dr. Radha Krishnan, the then President of India, has written an article in which he wrote that maximum number of persons committing suicide is in America and that too amongst the rich families. We were surprised by hearing this. We used to think that our country is poor; perhaps people commit suicide here only.

In America, even the cleaners have cars and two telephones in their houses Then what to speak of the standard of rich people over there! Just imagine! But the maximum number of persons committing suicide and insane are there only and that too among rich.

We think that having money would bring happiness. You heard previous examples. Did they become happy?


Somebody may think that having a beautiful spouse would make him happy. Ask those persons who have beautiful spouse if they are happy. One with beautiful spouse may think that having a son would make them happy. They got a son also, but they think having a daughter would make them happy. They also got a daughter. Now they think that by educating them and making them worldly wise would make them happy. Then they think that getting a daughter-in-law would make them happy. Then also they don't get happiness and they think seeing the grandchild's face would make them happy. "I shall get this. I shall get that." Thinking like this the time comes when they have to leave body. This golden life slips from the hands of these foolish people but they will not get happiness.

When the hot sun shines over the desert, the sand glitters and from a distance it gives an illusory appearance of the presence of water. At that time, the foolish deer runs towards the radiating sand. With the scorching sun above and hot sand underneath, the foolish deer, out of thirst, relinquishes its life running, astray. The necessity of deer is water but there is no water in the direction he is running. There is appearance of water, delusion of water. Similarly, the direction in which foolish people are running in search of happiness and attainment of bliss, happiness is not there. There is a shadow, a delusion of happiness. This is called maya – 'ma' means not and 'ya' means that.

The object which is not like that, but is appearing so is called maya. Just like, this world is not going to exist forever, but it appears to ignorant as if eternal; this world is nescience but it appears to ignorant as if knowledgeful. This world is full of sufferings but appears to ignorant as if this world is full of bliss. This is called maya and we are running after this maya like a mad man.

When I first came to Chandigarh, then I saw a young boy riding on a mare (female horse) wearing turban on his head. Behind him many people, well dressed and decorated, were walking. Everyone was giving great respect to him. Then I thought that I am celibate since childhood and never got to sit on a mare and marry. This young man is now sitting on a mare, tomorrow he would drive with his wife in a car, would go to movie, picnic and enjoy. We remain here just like that. But what happened - the young man started coming to temple after some time. One day when he met me, he touched my feet and started saying, "O great soul! You people are very happy for not having come in the clutches of this material world. I am repenting after getting married.

This world is full of miseries from top to bottom. When we are in the womb of mother, our legs are upwards and head is down. Our soft skin is bitten by insects in the womb and we become unconscious again and again. On one side this misery, then misery at the time of birth and after that till we are alive, adhyatmika (bodily or mental), adhibhautika (caused by other living creatures), and adhidaivika (caused by nature) afflictions will give us miseries.

Till when? Till the time we are not dead and even at the time of death there is distress. This is the material disease, bhava-vyadhi. For getting medicine of this disease we have to approach doctor – sadhu, guru. If we take medicines and proper diet as suggested by him, we certainly will get rid of the above diseases. But the problem is that to which guru we should surrender; there are many gurus. Lord Shiva says to Parvati –

guravo bahavah santi sishya-vittapaharakah
durlabhah sad-gurur devi sishya-santapaharakah
"One can find many gurus who can take away the wealth of the disciples, but there are few who can remove miseries of the disciples." Hence the original spiritual master, Lord Nandanandana Sri Krishna is transcendental spiritual master. He assumed the mood of Srimati Radharani, Who serves Lord Sri Krishna incomparably, and appeared in this kaliyuga around 500 years back as Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

The Cause of all causes, the Original Spiritual Master and the Transcendental Acharya explains the cause of suffering of living beings, "Jivas are part of Marginal Potency of Lord and hence are His eternal servants in their real identity. But in present state they have forgotten their Lord and are hence suffering the miseries afflicted due to the material disease."

krishna bhuli sei jiva-anadi-bhahirmukha
ataeva maya tare deya samsara duhkha
Any endeavor to remove these miseries other than removing this major offence of forgetfulness of Lord would be null and void because the cause of misery is forgetfulness of Lord. If you want happiness, then remember Lord, take support of Him, call Him, and chant His name, because He is the only object of bliss. One gets coolness in proximity of ice and gets warmth in proximity of fire; it cannot happen that one gets heat in proximity of ice and coolness in proximity of fire. It means that one can find a particular thing only from its source. Hence that divine unusual bliss is in Lord Himself and can be found in Him only.

Apart from this one important thing is - in this age meditation will not do, fire sacrifices will not do, deity worship will not do. For the persons who are devastated by Kaliyuga, the only ultimate way to get relieved from the disease of material existence is Harinam Sankirtan, only Harinam Sankirtan. Apart from this there is no other way - certainly no other way, certainly no other way.

harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha

Nectar of Harikatha
by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

This book is a collection of divine sermons of a pure devotee—Most Revered Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaja, the president-acarya of Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Math. These thought-provoking sermons are empowered with divinity and are the cure for our material miseries. A sincere reader will be benefited by their clear and astoundingly factual revelations about devotional service to Lord Sri Krishna. 60 pages, paperback.

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