Translation of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s discourses in
Gujarati printed in Swaminarayan Prakash, July 2015
“Harijan thaine, harijan thaine,
Hãn-varadh sukh-dukh manmã nav dhãrie.”
Meaning: “Being a devotee, do not be affected by damage or growth, happiness or misery in one’s mind.”
The above verse is from a bhajan by Muktanand Swami. In the entire bhajan, Muktanand Swami mentions about the virtues of patience and tolerance in devotees. He describes the pains and difficulties that some devotees had faced, yet they displayed forbearance. Muktanand Swami explains that a devotee, no matter what amount of destruction, pain, material growth or happiness comes his way, he should not become miserable or overjoyed.
Many times we question that we are devotees of God, satsangis, deliver spiritual discourses, do bhajan and seva, yet why do we have difficulties and problems? We believe in our mind that there should be no difficulties for one who does bhakti. But when we look at the examples mentioned in this bhajan (by Muktanand Swami), we find that devotees have to undergo trials and tribulations.
Who or what is tested? Is brass ever put to the acid test to check its validity? No, but gold is! Though gold is gold, yet it has to face the test! And brass is brass, but it is never put to the test. Similarly, those who are good or righteous in the world are put to the test. You look at the stories of people (in history) and you will find that God’s devotees and good people have faced problems and trials in their lives. Even great sages and divine incarnations have faced miseries.
In short, we will also face problems and trials in life or issues and hurdles will arise. At that time be patient and do not lose courage. Do not be confused and frustrated when miseries and pain befall us; remember God. When we face losses or problems at work or in our activities, believe it to be God’s wish.
Bhagwan is the all-doer. Gunatitanand Swami says in his discourses that Bhagwan is the all-doer. With this understanding enjoy whatever happiness comes our way, and also accept whatever misery befalls us. Be firm about the belief that whatever God does is for our good.
The nature of sansar (the world) is such that no matter how spiritually knowledgeable, meditative or worshipful we may be, all experience problems and miseries. But the devotees of God take God’s strength, remain patient and keep doing their work.
Muktanand Swami explains by giving a wonderful example. He says, “Juo Pandav Prabhu ne ati pyãrã!” The Pandavs were very dear to Bhagwan Krishna. They all lived with him and followed whatever he instructed. Despite all this, they had to roam in the forest for 14 years. If Bhagwan had so wished, couldn’t their miseries have been solved? But in spite of Bhagwan being with them the Pandavs had to bear the miseries. What a devastating war they had to fight and how much pain and suffering they had to bear?
This is known as a trial!
In such testing situations if our understanding and bhakti remain robust, then know that God is pleased with us. When we are firm in this way, God takes care of us. Shriji Maharaj has spoken in the same vein and Nishkulanand Swami similarly writes in the Bhaktachintamani:
“Sukh dukh ãve sarve bhelu, temã rãkhjo sthir mati,
Jãlavish mãrã janne, atishe jatan kari.”
“Keep your mind calm when joys and miseries come together, I will take great care of my devotees.”
We must understand that there is misery in worldly happiness. Gunatitanand Swami says, “Whatever happiness lies in maya is not without misery.” Muktanand Swami has written in another verse, “Rãjã bhi dukhiyã, rank bhi dukhiyã, dhanpati dukhit vikãr me…” – “A king is unhappy, a pauper is unhappy and a wealthy person is also unhappy in worldly things…”
In the past, the kings in India had vast kingdoms, but they were still unhappy and miserable. The reason being their desire to expand their kingdoms. Subsequently, they were always engaged in conflicts and wars with others.
The poor, who don’t have anything, are also miserable. Their conundrums are about where to stay, what to eat and what to do? Thus, they spend their whole lives in misery and pain. And those who have lots of wealth are also miserable.
You may wonder how a rich man is miserable. It is not true that when a person gains large amounts of money he becomes very happy. He, too, worries about where to deposit it, how to invest it, what if thieves come and what if the government takes it away? So, in spite of having money the rich are plagued by many such thoughts and remain miserable and unable to enjoy whatever happiness they have. Some, in spite of having money, are unable to use it for good purposes. I have seen many millionaires and billionaires appear outwardly happy, but unfortunately they suffer from some misery related to their sansar, family or society.
Then who is happy? Those who are renunciants or saffron-clad? Muktanand Swami says, “Binã vivek bhekh sab dukhiyã” – “Without vivek [discrimination between right and wrong] even renunciants are unhappy.”
Those who have renounced the world are unhappy if they do not have vivek. One who has renounced home, wealth and everything, but if he desires, “It would be nice if I get this,” then he will not be happy. Furthermore, when an ascetic starts amassing property and other things even after having renounced everything, then, is he not inviting problems for himself? From possessing a mere needle he creates his own sansar. The reason behind it is that he lacks vivek. One who has vivek never seeks for something he has renounced. When one has understood all worldly things to be temporary and destructible then how can one have desires for them? Without vivek countless have become miserable and unhappy. An ascetic who has nothing has no fear of being robbed, however one who has possessions, fears.
Himda and Khimda were two ascetics who wore only loincloths. While they were travelling from one place to another they arrived at a village. They lay down to sleep at night at the village square. However, there were lots of mosquitoes harassing them, so they tried to ward them off by waving their hands. At that time a thief came, thinking that the ascetics had valuables to steal. So, he started searching Khimda. Then, Bhimda told Khimda, “Send the thief to me so that he can get rid off the mosquitoes troubling me.”