Chapter 2: Krishna is Complete and whole,

Question 3



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Question 3


Misery is a fact of life, but it is not the only fact -- happiness is equally a fact of life. And happiness is as big a fact of life as misery is. And when we take misery to be the only fact of life, we turn it into a non-fact, into a fiction. Then what will you do with happiness, which is very much there? If life were only suffering, Buddha had no reason to take pains to explain the significance of suffering; there was no point to it. And Buddha explains at great length the meaning of suffering, yet nobody runs away from life because it is a suffering. We are all miserable, but we don't stop living for that reason.

There must be something other than suffering, different from suffering, which makes us hold on to life, cling to it in spite of its many hurts and pains. For instance, someone is miserable because he is in love. Love has its own problems and complexities. But if there were no happiness in love, who would consent to go through so much suffering for its sake? And if, for the sake of an ounce of happiness, one goes through tons of suffering, it means that the intensity, the flavor of an ounce of happiness outweighs all the sufferings of life. Happiness is equally true.

Because all the advocates of renunciation lay all their emphasis on suffering, they turn suffering into a fiction. In the same way the hedonists turn happiness into a fiction by laying all their stress on it. The materialists give too much importance to happiness, and they deny suffering altogether. But that is not true. Remember, a half truth is a lie: truth can only be whole; it cannot be fragmentary. If someone says that life is, he tells a lie, because death is inseparably linked with life. Similarly it is a lie to say that only death is, because life is irrevocably joined to death.

It is not a fact that life is unmitigated suffering. What is a fact then? That life is both happiness and sorrow is a fact. If you observe it carefully and closely and deeply, you will find that every happiness is blended with pain and every pain is mixed with happiness. And if you go still deeper into it, it will be difficult to know when pain turns into pleasure and when pleasure turns into pain. They are really convertible: one changes into the other. And it happens in our everyday life. Really, the difference between them is one of emphasis. What felt like happiness yesterday feels like suffering today, and what seems to be suffering today will turn into happiness tomorrow.

If I take you in my embrace you will feel happy about it, but if I continue to hug you for a few minutes you will begin to find the same hug becoming painful. And if I continue to hold you in my grip for half an hour, you will feel restless and think of shouting for help; you may even call the police. So one who knows, releases you from his embrace before you would like to be released. And one who is unaware of this law soon turns his happiness into suffering. So when you take someone's hand in your hand, take care that you release it sooner than later, otherwise the pleasure will very soon change into pain. We are all wont to reduce our happiness into pain and suffering. Since we don't want to part with happiness, we cling to it, and it is clinging that turns it into suffering.

We very much desire to be rid of pain and suffering, and for this very reason our suffering deepens. But if we accept suffering and stay with it for a while, it will be transformed into happiness. The feeling of suffering stems from its being unfamiliar, but it will not take you long to become familiar with it. The same is the case with happiness. Familiarity changes everything.

I have heard that a person came to visit a new village where he asked someone for a loan. The other person said, "It is strange that you ask me for a loan when I don't know you at all. You are a complete stranger to me." The visitor answered, "It is strange that you should talk like this. I left my own village and came to yours because my co-villagers refused to give me a loan on the grounds they knew me well. And now you say that because you don't know me you will not give me a loan. Where can I go now?"

All our troubles begin when we break life up into segments and see things fragmentarily. No, all places are alike. There is no such place in life where only happiness abides. And similarly there is no such place where you meet with suffering and only suffering. Therefore, our heaven and hell are just our imagination. Because we have gotten into the habit of looking at things fragmentarily, we have imagined one place with abounding happiness and another with unmitigated sorrow and suffering -- and we call them heaven and hell. No, wherever life is there is happiness and suffering together. They go together. You have happy moments or relaxation in hell and painful spells of boredom in heaven.

Bertrand Russell has said he would not like to go to heaven, where only happiness abounds. How can you know happiness without knowing suffering? How can you know health without knowing sickness? Where you have everything just by wishing for it, there cannot be any joy in having it.

The joy of having something comes from the length of time you have been wanting it, expecting it. Happiness really lies in the expectation. So once you achieve it, it loses its charm for you. Every happiness is imaginary: so long as you don't possess it, it seems to be abounding happiness. But as soon as it is actualized, it ceases to be happiness; our hands are as empty as before. And then we seek some other object for our desire, and we begin to expect it again. We feel so unhappy without it and imagine that happiness will come with it.

Rothschild was one of America's multi-millionaires. There is a story about him, and I don't know if it is true or not. He was on his deathbed, and he said to his son, "You have seen from my life that I made millions and they didn't make me really happy, they didn't bring happiness with them. Do you see that wealth is not happiness?"

His son said, "It is true, as I learned from your life, that wealth is not happiness, but I also learned from your life that if one has wealth, one can have the suffering of his choice; one can choose between one suffering and another. And this freedom of choice is beautiful. I know that you were never happy, but you always chose your own kind of suffering. A poor man does not have this freedom, this choice; his suffering is determined by circumstances. Except this, there is no difference between a rich man and a poor man in the matter of suffering. A poor man has to suffer with a woman who comes his way as his wife, but the rich man can afford women with whom he wants to suffer. And this choice is not an insignificant happiness."

If you examine it deeply, you will find that happiness and suffering are two aspects of the same thing, two sides of the same coin, or, perhaps, they are different densities of the same phenomenon.

Besides, what is happiness for me may be a matter of suffering for you. If I own ten million and I lose five, I will be miserable in spite of the fact that I still own five million. But if you have nothing and you come across five million, you will be mad with joy and happiness. Although both of us will be in the same situation financially -- we have five million each -- I will be beating my head against the wall and you will be dancing and celebrating. But also remember, your celebration will not last long, because someone who comes to own five million will also be faced with the fear of losing it. In the same way, my sufferings will soon wither away, because one who loses five million soon becomes engaged in recovering that loss -- which is quite possible for him.

Strange are the ways of life. My happiness cannot be your happiness, nor can my suffering become your suffering. Even my happiness of today can not be my happiness for tomorrow. I cannot say if my happiness in this moment will continue to be my happiness in the next. Happiness and suffering are like clouds passing through the sky. They come and go.

Both happiness and suffering are there, and they are facts of life. In fact, it is wrong to call them two, but we have to, because all our languages divide things into two. Really it is one truth, sometimes seen as happiness and other times as suffering. In reality, pleasure and pain are just our interpretations, psychological interpretations. They are not real situations, they are largely interpretations of them. And it depends on us how we interpret something. And there may be a thousand interpretations of the same thing. It all depends on us.

If you know that both happiness and sorrow are true and are together, then you will also know that Buddha's statement that life is all suffering is fragmentary, and that it suffers from over-emphasis. This statement, however, is going to work; it will appeal to people. Buddha can have tens of thousands of followers, but not Krishna. Charwaka will attract millions to his fold, but Krishna cannot have that appeal.

Buddha and Charwaka have made choices, and they have both chosen one of the two polarities of truth. One says life is all suffering and the other says life is indulgence. And they make their statements clearly and emphatically. And whenever you find your own situation conforming with their statements you say Buddha is right or Charwaka is right. You will not agree with Buddha in every state of your life, you will only agree with him when you are in suffering. When you are not in any pain you will not say Buddha is right. A happy person, one who thinks himself to be happy, will ignore Buddha, but the moment he is in pain again, Buddha will become significant for him. It is, however, a case of your own situation occasionally approximating the statement of Buddha; it does not testify to its significance, to its meaningfulness.

But Krishna will always remain incomprehensible. Whether you are in pain or you are happy, it does not make any difference. You can only understand Krishna when you accept both happiness and misery together and at the same level. Not before. And do you know the state you will be in when you say an unconditional yes to both, when you know pain as the precursor of pleasure and pleasure as the precursor of pain, when you receive them without being agitated in any way, with equal equanimity, when you refuse to interpret them, even to name them? It will be a state of bliss. Then you will be neither happy nor unhappy, because you will have stopped interpreting and labeling things. The person who accepts things without judging them, without naming them, immediately enters the state of bliss. And one who is in bliss can understand Krishna. Only he can understand him.

One's being in a state of bliss does not mean that one will not be visited by suffering now. Suffering will of course visit you, but now you will not interpret it in a way that makes it really suffering. Bliss does not mean only happiness will visit you now. No, bliss only means that now you will not interpret happiness in a way that makes you cling to it and desire it more and more. Now things are as they are; what is, is. If it is sunny, it is sunny; if it is dark, it is dark. And as life is, it is going to be, by turn both sunny and dark. But you are not going to be affected by either, because now you know that things come and go but you remain the same. Pain and pleasure, happiness and sorrow, are like clouds moving in the sky but the sky remains untouched, the same. And that which remains the same, untrammeled and unchanging, is your consciousness. This is Krishna-consciousness. This Krishna-consciousness is just a witnessing: whatever happens to you, pain or pleasure, you simply watch it without any comment, without any judgement. And to be in Krishna consciousness is to be in bliss.

For Krishna, there is only one meaningful word in life, and that is bliss. Happiness and unhappiness are not meaningful; they have been created by dividing bliss into two. The part that is in accord with you, that you accept, is called happiness, and the part that is discordant to you, that you deny, is called unhappiness. They are our interpretations of bliss, divided -- and as long as it agrees with you it is happiness and when it begins to disagree with you it is called unhappiness. Bliss is truth, the whole truth.

It is significant that the word bliss, is anand in Sanskrit, is without an opposite. Happiness has its opposite in unhappiness, love has its opposite in hate, heaven in hell, but bliss has no such opposite. It is so because there is no state opposed to bliss. If there is any such state, it is that of happiness and of misery both. Similarly, the Sanskrit word moksha, which means freedom or liberation, has no opposite. Moksha is the state of bliss. Moksha means that happiness and misery are equally acceptable.


Next: Chapter 2: Krishna is Complete and whole, Question 4


Energy Enhancement           Enlightened Texts            Krishna            Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy



Chapter 3






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