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Question to Radhanath Swami :How can one be happy regardless of external situations?
Radhanath Swami narrates from the Vedic Text, Srimad Bhagavatam
The Srimad Bhagavatam speaks of a great king named Yadu. Once when he was travelling through a forest he saw an Avdhut, a person who apparently was a social outcaste. He was laying in the forest like a python. From a material and from a social consideration, he was a failure. But Yadu, being a religious man, could see the person was bright faced and happy, more happy than anyone he had ever met. So he asked, “How is it that despite the poverty, you are so happy? Who is your guru? Where did you learn this from?” The answer spans over several chapters in theSrimad Bhagavatam.
He replied, “ My dear king , I am completely satisfied with whatever I have , with whatever I am , and with whatever is happening around me. Why? Wherever I look, I see God teaching me.” When we look at the things of this world in terms of our own selfish enjoyment, it’s only enjoyment that we can see. But if we have no selfish ego, we can always hear a message of God from everything in this world.
The Avadhut continued, “I have learned from 24 gurus who have instructed me.” There are different types of gurus . One guru is the guru who introduces us to the spiritual path, another type of guru is the diksha guru, who gives us initiation into mantra, and another guru is siksha guru , whose words and example is inspiring and enlightening our lives . So the Avadhut said that he had many siksha gurus.
The Avadhut said, “One of my gurus is the earth. I have learned from the earth the spirit of selfless service. Even though mother earth is harassed and plundered by so many people, she continues to serve. Greedy people are drilling oil from the earth, they are polluting the earth, they are soaking the earth with the blood of innocent animals, they are soaking the earth with the blood of military soldiers, and they are cutting the lush forests and making them into wastelands to make money from wood, to grow tobacco, or to grow grains for alcohol. Although subjected to untold abuse and harassment, our mother earth continues to provide all necessities for all living beings. I learned this spirit of selfless service from her.
He said that he learnt the same principle of selfless service from the mountain. The mountain carries a huge burden, but with everything on the mountain, it is simply providing for the happiness of others: the flora and the fauna on it. And he also learned that principle from the trees. How many times do you see the earth? How many times do you see trees? Do you ever learn something? But every time he sees a tree, he is enlightened, he is illuminated.
Let us examine the tolerance and the charity of a tree. The tree is standing in the burning sun to give us shade. And the same tree is standing in freezing ice cold to give us wood that we can burn to keep ourselves warm. The tree is giving flowers and fruits. And it never complains.