Coverage by Bhat Dittakavi of Variance.AI on “Be Blessed” by SA. Sreedharan of Vedanta on 22nd April 2020
What comes out is what you fill in. I made an experiment on myself at the beginning of this session. You can try it too. Speak as many positive words as possible at a stretch without giving a pause. Utter them out as if you are reciting a basic math table. Stop it the first time you give a pause. I could only do three in the first attempt. Then four. I repeated the experiment at the end of the session about bliss. This time, I could say so many positive words in a row and that felt really good. What comes out is what you fill in.
“Positive thinking may not give you success, but negative think will give you failure.” I remember this famous quote from the last session by today’s speaker. S.A. Sreedharan of Vedanta is an eloquent speaker who gradually builds up the momentum with his pearls of pure wisdom. First, he defined blessing, then discussed various levels of bliss and the mindset needed to have a blessed life.
Listen to this song “Top of the world”. When you are down, you listen to the words of the song. When you are happy, you listen to the tune that you hum along.
What is a Blessing?
Blessing is a favor done by an individual to you for bringing you happiness. Blessing is a thought that strengthens gratitude. The thought behind this free video conferencing idea is a favor done by an individual to us so we can have this session. The thought of charity is way more important than the act of charity. Both go hand in hand. Blessing is a gift bestowed upon you by the divinity that creates peace and tranquillity.
Bliss is uninterrupted happiness. A continuous flow of happiness. There is a poet who highlighted “I have been blessed by the effect life had on me. I simply accept the graciousness showered on me.” He is one of God’s good own men who said this. The poet adds further. A child said, “Glowing from within. Beaming bright joy on everyone I meet”. That is uninterrupted happiness.
Check your environment. Check where all your mind visits. A study says 15 minutes of exposure to the news has an enormous impact on the way you think. Wherever your mind transacts in the world, it will have an impact on the equanimity of the mind. Psychiatrists have the highest suicide rate of any profession. These mental health professionals are doing greater good for the mentally challenged. Here it is their environment that gives them hardship. Rather than listening to others and growing in life, they give up their life.
You don’t need to change anything. You just plant a thought. Think of Brutus who betrayed Julius Caesar. The whole drama will eventually take place. Mandara planted a thought in Kaika. Ravana’s sister planted a thought in his mind about Sita. Ramayana happened. Mahatma Gandhi planted a thought of peaceful freedom in others. It starts from the thought within.
What can you do with the enemies within? It is essential to look at life in the right away. When you look at the negativities in life, you can’t do well. If you focus on the 40% that is not going well in your life, that 40% becomes 60%. Remind yourself what you are capable of so you will never be short of your greatness. Till such time you gain such a level of self-sufficiency, create an environment that helps you focus on positive aspects of your life.
Levels of Bliss
Lockdown during this pandemic has been a blessing. We can focus on a topic at length without distraction. Lockdown is life-altering for us.
All of us pursue bliss. At the material level, it is satisfaction. At the physical level, it is a pleasure. At the emotional level, it is joy. At the intellectual level, it is fulfillment. At the spiritual level, you align your thoughts with the highest spiritual consciousness. Those at the material level might get stuck there itself. If bliss is uninterrupted happiness, you get uninterrupted satisfaction at the material level but it fades away. You can’t have continued satisfaction as once you get that luxury car, you lose that satisfaction. Trying to pursue uninterrupted satisfaction at the material level eventually falls short. The same is the case with the bliss at the emotional level.
You experience bliss when you bring in the quality of giving. When you develop the capacity of renunciation, called giving in the layman’s term, you experience bliss. Everyone including a selfish person is a giver. Giving has three stages. Caring, sharing, and giving. A selfish person is also into giving. He focuses on himself. He cares for himself, he shares with himself and he gives to himself. Bliss seems to improve when your circle of identification enhances. The fundamental requirement in a relationship is caring, sharing, and giving. When a person entertains emotions for another, caring for another person happens and that leads to sharing, and then he can give to the other person. The circle grows from self to another person. Many are stuck at this level. Some people entertain further emotions for others, they care for others, share with others, and give to others. Then they have a larger circle of identification.
Initially, it is you and your own ego, now you have spouse and kids and you manage all these egos. Unselfish ones understand the needs of many others. Doctors lost lives in the effort of saving others. In the process of saving lives, doctors lost their life. Because they care for others and give even their own lives in the process, the health care workers community is in a greater circle of identification.
How long can one experience unlimited joy from a limited source? One can’t be happy with one particular person and hence the mind seeks more. If you are selfish, you care, share, and give yourself. If you are unselfish, you care for others and share with others. When you are selfless, only giving to others come into place. All of us are givers. The choice is yours. Do you give to yourself, only to your family or give to the rest of humanity. The quality of giving quality is there in everyone. Bring in that bliss. You could be that person who planted the good thought. You could be that person who does a favor to others for their happiness.
You can only give what you have. You can’t give what you don’t have. In this challenging situation of the pandemic, if you reacted with jealousy, anger, frustration, and insecurity, that is what you have. If you respond with kindness and love in these difficult times, that is what you have. When you squeeze an orange, you get the orange juice, when the life squeezes you whatever is within you comes out. If you have insecurity within you, insecurity comes out. Life squeezed Jesus Christ, forgiveness came out. Life squeezed Nelsen Mandela, working for the community came out. Let us not react with anxiety, fear, and insecurity. React with kindness, compassion, charity, and love.
The mindset required for the blessed life
1) Draw a line to the past. You might have gone through big difficulties. How long can you bask under the memories of yesterday? If you carry the past even now, who is going to suffer? You are carrying a “poor me” syndrome. Why do you carry the past in the present? If you look back, you are a helpless victim. When you make the right choice in the present, you could be a history maker. Whether you are a helpless victim or a history maker, it depends on how well you tackle history.
2) Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing. Our emotions are influenced by education, parents, religion, nationality and the language you speak. Rigid mind and strong ego due to the belief systems that you have acquired from the early stage of your life won’t allow you to be open. Rumi said, “Sell your cleverness and purchase wonderment.” Be open to everything but be attached to nothing. There are three stages of attachment. The first stage of attachment is “mad about each other”. When you are mad about each other, every two hours you have to call each other. The next stage is “made for each other”. The last stage is “mad because of each other”. This summarizes the attachment. Your mind needs to be open to everything but attached to nothing. You can slowly experience a blessed life.
3) Embrace silence. Sit in a “do nothing” and “think nothing” mode. If you take unconditional responsibility and control over life, bliss comes to you. Be still. When you are calm, you get access to the intellect. Then you will have clarity in your thinking and purity in emotion. You will gravitate to meditation where a single thought drives your mind. You don’t have to do meditation. Just embrace silence. Sit there in your balcony or nature. It will have a phenomenal impact.
Some thoughts to ponder
24 hours are equal for all. Do you look at this as a blessing or a difficulty? In Singapore, the lockdown is extended till May 31st. How do you look at it?
Have this thought of “I am blessed”. It helps you to see the positive aspects of life. I know someone who lost a job. His attitude is that he has food at home and he has access to technology to meet people whenever he wants. He feels blessed.
Have the conviction that the future would be wonderful. This thought has to be there. I don’t want to know the entire script of life. If I know when I am going to die, my life will totally change. If I don’t know the script of my life, my life is more interesting.
Let devotion be the emotion and humility as a response. Devotion is a feeling of expressing thankfulness at the place of your prayer. Then you are blessed. You will have the ability to transcend life.
Here is a beautiful poem by Swami Vivekananda.
When I ask God for strength, he gave me a difficult situation to face.
When I ask God for happiness, he showed me some unhappy people
When I ask God for wealth, he showed me opportunities to work hard.
When I ask God for peace, he showed me how to help others.
God gave me nothing I wanted. He gave me everything I needed.
If you have such a mindset that God gave you nothing that you wanted but gave you everything you needed, consider yourself as blessed.
When life is squeezing us through a pandemic, whatever is there within us comes out. Improve your inner constitution so what comes out changes. Have a mind and intellect that is open to everything and attached to nothing. No one knows enough to be a pessimist.
Till you handle your internal environment well, make sure you deal with your immediate and external environments. Experience uninterrupted happiness in a very limited space. What money can do money alone can do. If many become wealthy, it is better. If you try to experience unlimited happiness at the material level, that’s the problem. Bliss is directly equated to giving which has caring, sharing, and giving as its constituents. When a selfish person entertains emotions for others, she becomes unselfish. When she enhances her circle of identification to a much larger community, her potential to experience bliss is far greater. Bliss is an absolute possibility.
I simply accept the graciousness showered on me and blessed by the effect of life that I had on me. This is how a blessed person thinks. Life is squeezing us. Let us improve what is within us. Let us respond with compassion. Your presence is a blessing. The way you live your life is a blessing. Being born as a human being is the greatest blessing ever.