The illusion of happiness in material things

We spend our whole life in a futile chase to earn more money, hoping that one day we will have it all.  But that is not the answer.
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Date: 28th June 2015

Jim Carrey, the famous American Hollywood star, once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”  When such a thought provoking statement comes from a celebrity who seems to have it all, we are all impelled to re-look at our own modern-day aspirations for happiness.

In the Bhagavad Gita, 5000 years ago, Shree Krishna told Arjun to move beyond the quagmire of delusion. What was the illusion he was talking about?  He was talking about the illusion of material energy, Maya.  The material energy creates an illusion that there is happiness in the material things.  In fact, one of the word meanings of Maya is, “that which is not what it appears to be.”  Hence, you see everyone in the world running after material things for happiness, yet if you ask somebody, “Have you found happiness?” They invariably reply, “I am not there yet.”  We all just keep telling ourselves that we are not happy right now but we will be happy in the future.

The Vedas describe different categories of happiness in ascending order, right from the earth planet up to the abode of Brahma.  The Brahma Lok is known to have the highest amount of material comforts and luxuries, countless times more than the most exquisite pleasures on earth.  Yet, the Vedas say that the residents of even Brahma Lok are subject to the cycle of birth and death.  So, what to speak of true happiness on planet earth, when up to the highest abode of material existence there is not a trace of happiness to be found.

Maya has created an illusion in the world.  The illusion is that, “There is no happiness in my category, but there is happiness in the next category.”  Those who own a bicycle think they will become happy when they own a scooter, but those who own a scooter eye a car for happiness.  The car owners think a bigger car will make them happy and luxury car owners think a private plane will make them happy.  This illusion that there is happiness in material things keeps all running after the proverbial mirage in the desert.

We spend our whole life in a futile chase to earn more money, hoping that one day we will have it all.  But that is not the answer.  We came empty handed and we will go empty handed.  In between birth and death we should not reduce our life to a mere exercise of hoarding that falsely promises happiness.  There is a purpose to our life and that is to seek divine bliss of God, not illusory material happiness.

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Preeti Malhotra
Preeti Malhotra
28/06/2015 1:15 pm

Very true Swamiji. Our true wealth is spiritual in nature, consisting of true knowledge, and our level of love for God. All material acquisitions will be left behind, but our spiritual wealth will carry over with us.. Thank you for such illuminating articles.

28/06/2015 9:26 pm

If we are journeying now for epochs in the wrong direction in our thirst and hunger for real happiness, we should be most grateful for the one who is helps us cross this barren desert of Maya that may on the surface seem like happiness and delight but is only filled with sufferings and tribulations.

We don’t want to see it as a short cut to real happiness to follow the scriptures and live accordingly but how valuable this knowledge is that Swamiji is dispensing freely and lovingly to us. It can drastically reduce the time it takes for own God realization and true eternal happiness.

I cannot express my gratefulness to have this true compass for navigation through this treacherous and challenging and ever illusive worldly life.

Rohini Ramakrishnan
Rohini Ramakrishnan
16/08/2015 3:55 am

Our true happiness lies in God alone. We have to realize the true purpose of our human life. Thank you, Swamiji, for your wonderful words of wisdom.

Mona Leesa
Mona Leesa
16/08/2015 5:48 am

Swamiji, once the realization dawns on us that we are seeking happiness in the wrong place, its truly a wake-up call to re-direct our energy towards the correct source, God Himself! Swamiji’s priceless teachings and words of wisdom are a great inspiration to seeking souls like me and I am so grateful.

17/08/2015 1:35 am

Something that Kripaluji Maharaj and Swami Mukundananda Ji have mentioned, has always stuck in my mind – if there was even a negligible amount of happiness in the material world, then everybody would experience it and it would be experienced all the time. But, this is simply not our observation or experience.

Nobody pointed out the fallacy of looking for happiness in the material world, to me, until I became a devotee of Maharajji and Swamiji. I am immensely grateful to them for pointing me in the right direction of my own welfare.

Raj Singh
Raj Singh
03/09/2015 12:21 am

In this article, Swamiji explains how the illusion of material energy impacts our mind, hoping that there is an ultimate happiness in the material world; and we souls keep running after it as a mirage in the desert. Swamiji suggests that we must comprehend the purpose of our life and seek spiritual happiness that is the Divine bliss of God. Thanks Swamji for pointing out the material conception of life and its nature of false happiness that we are chasing since eternity.

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