Jollity that is a mile wide and a millimeter deep is not spirituality
When people hear that spirituality brings the supreme happiness, they may expect spiritual people to be constantly happy. And as their experience of happiness is often in terms of laughter, they may well expect spiritual teachers to exhibit the jollity characteristic of comedians.
However, the jollity of comedians is often superficial – even if it is a mile wide at the surface, it may be just a millimeter deep. Below the mask of cheer and laughter, they may have truckloads of anguish and anger.
To be authentically happy, we need to purge our mind of negative feelings and cravings. And the greatest negativity comes from the twin notions that we are physical beings and that material things are the gateways to pleasure. These notions condemn us to frustration and devastation: frustration when our desires collide against the unbreakable wall of the finiteness of worldly resources, and devastation when death strips us of everything we have slaved to accumulate.
Understanding the world’s distressful nature, spiritual teachers frequently exhibit the opposite of jollity: gravity. They focus seriously on spiritual reality and help others establish a similar focus. Focusing on spiritual reality means meditating on our own spiritual identity as souls and, more importantly, meditating on Krishna, the all-attractive supreme spiritual reality. Gita wisdom explains that he is the source of enduring happiness, and that we are his eternal parts who can find enduring happiness only in loving and serving him.
By the end of the Bhagavad-gita, Sanjaya relishes ecstasy at every moment (18.76). Significantly, his happiness doesn’t equate with uproarious laughter; it equates with absorption in Krishna, which floods the consciousness with higher happiness.
Rather than letting jollity become our sole criterion for discerning spirituality, when we focus on connectivity, staying connected with Krishna, we progress steadily towards enduring happiness.
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