|Throughout the Vachanamrut, Shriji Maharaj has revealed that true and eternal happiness is possible only by a full understanding of the nature, form and glory of God in numerous ways.
Every person on this earth has but one agenda in life. Everyone aims to be happy. The route and degree of fulfilment vary, but the target is the same. Through wealth, power, knowledge and many other sources, all try to achieve their life's objective. To a greater or lesser extent, people do attain happiness. But with the fluctuating nature of life, this experience of happiness is often all too brief. Moreover, the happiness experienced is tainted with a feeling of incompleteness. It is not 100% happiness. There is always an element of fear or misery mixed in with it. Why is this? The answer is that the source of happiness is itself perishable and temporary, so naturally it follows that the resulting happiness will also be only temporary and fade away. Thus, it leads us back to square one and forces us to search again to find a lasting source of happiness. Through the use of vivid and practical analogies, Shriji Maharaj has explained the need to develop factors such as faith, knowledge, etc., to experience this inexhaustible source of bliss.
Relativity of Happiness
Shriji Maharaj says in Vachanamrut Vartal-9, "When one attains samadhi of that form, then even if one experiences it for only a moment, the person who is engaged in worship feels, 'I've enjoyed the bliss of God in samadhi for thousands of years.' This is how one experiences the nirgun bliss of God's form. On the other hand, even if one indulges in mayik pleasures for a long time, ultimately one feels as if it was momentary. Therefore, the nirgun bliss of God is eternal and imperishable, whereas the mayik pleasures are perishable."
When one experiences the happiness - or bliss - of God, everything else pales into insignificance. Such is the potency of the bliss that God can bestow. The experience of such bliss is possible when one shuns the enjoyment of the perishable objects of this world and opts for the bliss of God. It is necessary to forsake an object of lesser value to gain the object of greater value. Thus, Shriji Maharaj says in Vachanamrut Gadhada II-10, "If while listening to talks about God, the bliss related to God is realised, then everything that has evolved from mãyã will appear worthless. For example, a man with a copper coin in his hand will lose affection for it when someone offers him a gold coin in exchange. In the same way, when one realises the bliss related to God, one develops vairagya towards all worldly pleasures, and one develops love only for the form of God."
The message is clear: to experience the everlasting bliss of God (gold coin), one has to give up the desire for temporary happiness from materialistic pleasures.
The Waxing Moon
Once the target is fixed, one's efforts can be directed in attaining the bliss of God. In so doing, attachment to the world gradually declines, the veil of maya is slowly removed and one increasingly realises the infinite glory of God. Shriji Maharaj describes this process of gradual evolvement in Vachanamrut Sarangpur-17, "From here, the full moon appears like a small plate. But as one approaches it, it appears to get increasingly larger. Then, when one comes extremely close to it, it becomes so vast that one is unable to see its limits. Similarly, as obstacles in the form of mãyã are overcome, and one increasingly attains the proximity of God, one realises the unlimited greatness of God, and one's sense of servitude towards Him is increasingly strengthened."
To enjoy the bliss of God, one has to have a clear concept and understanding of His divine nature and form. That is, since God, as the source of infinite bliss, is our life's goal, it stands to reason that one must have as much knowledge and understanding about Him as possible. This important point is explained by Shriji Maharaj in Vachanamrut Gadhada III-36. He says, "Wishing to see the atma and Brahma without upasana is like attempting to lick the sky with one's tongue; even if one tries for a hundred years, one will never be able to taste it as sour or salty. Similarly, the ãtmã and Brahma simply cannot be seen without the upãsanã of the form of God - regardless of the efforts one may resort to." Thus, any attempt to enjoy the bliss of God without a proper understanding of His true nature is futile and unproductive. It is like attempting to hit a bull's eye blindfolded and with both hands tied behind one's back! In short, experience of the bliss of God is only possible with a knowledge of His true, divine nature.
The true nature of an object can be learnt only by a proper study. Scriptures describe the nature of God, but no one scripture is comprehensive. Thus, only by study of all the major scriptures does a complete picture of God become clear. Shriji Maharaj explains this in Vachanamrut Vartal-2, "Only one who realises God through these four scriptures can be said to possess total gnan. For example, only when one sees with one's eyes does one come to know that milk is white; only when one smells with one's nose does one come to know its smell; only when one touches it with one's finger does one come to know whether it is hot or cold; and only when one tastes it with one's tongue does one come to know its taste. In this manner, only when milk is tested through all of the indriyas can one totally know its nature; it cannot be totally known through one indriya alone. Similarly, one realises God's nature totally when one realises it through the four scriptures, i.e., the Vedas, etc. To have such knowledge is called total gnan."
With this comprehensive knowledge, one realises the divinity of God and His magnetic appeal to all who have developed faith in Him. In Vachanamrut Vartal-13, Shriji Maharaj reveals how engaging in the darshan of the murti of God with faith and understanding leads to an experience of divine bliss, "By appearance, God's form appears similar to that of any human; however, it is an exceptionally divine form. For example, a magnetic rock appears similar to all of the other rocks on the earth; yet there is a natural magical property in it - when a ship sails past a mountain of magnetic rock, then all of the iron nails of the ship are drawn towards the magnetic rock. Similarly, when a person does darshan of God's form with shraddha, be it the form of a king or the form of a sadhu, his indriyas are drawn towards God. Then one attains samadhi."
The Torch Gets Brighter
As one's knowledge and understanding of God's divine form develops and as proximity to God increases, one experiences a higher level of bliss - both quantitatively and qualitatively. Shriji Maharaj illustrates this using the analogy of a burning torch in Vachanamrut Panchala-1, "Consider the following example: The light from this burning torch which falls a short distance away is not as intense as the light in the vicinity of the torch. Very far away, there is no light at all. In the same way, elsewhere there is only a little bliss, but absolute bliss is only available in the vicinity of God. The further one is away from God, the less bliss one experiences."
In Vachanamrut Gadhada I-1, Shriji Maharaj says, "There is no spiritual endeavour more difficult than to continuously engage one's mind on the form of God." However, by perfecting the guidance of Vachanamrut Vartal-13, noted above, one attains continual samadhi - and continually experiences divine bliss. As if this in itself is not enough reward for one's efforts, Shriji Maharaj further explains the glory of God, saying, "The scriptures state that there is no greater attainment for a person whose mind's vrutti is constantly focused on the form of God, because the form of God is like a chintamani. Just as a person who possesses a chintamani attains whatever he desires, a person whose mind's vrutti is constantly focused on the form of God can instantly see, if he so wishes, the forms of jiva, ishwar, mãy- and Brahma. He can also see Vaikunth, Golok, Brahmamahol and the other abodes of God."
With this gift, all one's wishes are satisfied. A devotee who has attained this state is free of any materialistic desires. So, all his wishes are God-centred.
The desire to claim the highest prizes requires certain sacrifices. Since the ultimate success is of topmost value and more elusive, considerable more effort and sacrifice are needed.
Consider the effort required to win the World Cup Final, an Olympic final or a Superbowl. Success in these events comes only to a privileged few and that too, only as a result of continual, sincere efforts and much sacrifice.
Similarly, to reach the ultimate source of bliss - God - one has to forego the attraction of materialistic happiness. Sincere and persistent efforts in this direction will eventually lead one to experience eternal and infinite bliss.