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.