Satisfaction comes by knowing ourselves, not by making ourselves known
Suppose we see someone who turns heads wherever they go. We may naturally want to be similarly well known. Given the world’s hugeness and crowdedness, we may feel insignificant and worthless, unless we do something that makes us known.
Consequently, we long for some special talent or some special break – anything – that will give us our shot at fame. Most of us struggle through life, never becoming famous. Some of us, however, discover a talent, get a break and become somewhat famous. But the craving for fame is like an insatiable fire – no matter how much it is fuelled, it keeps burning more, making us crave for more fame.
And if we do become hugely famous, we face a poignant irony. That very fame often becomes the cause of annoyance, even distress. Celebrities often crave anonymity, struggling to do some normal human activities like going out for a walk without attracting unwanted attention and getting mobbed.
A healthier way to satisfaction is by knowing ourselves. Knowing ourselves begins by understanding that there are many layers to our being; we exist not just as our physical bodies or our subtle minds, but essentially as souls. We are characterized by pure consciousness that radiates through us and is meant to connect with the all-attractive supreme, Krishna.
The Bhagavad-gita (06.20) declares that we restrain our mind’s frantic search of outer pleasure and turn our consciousness inward by the practice of yoga. By such practice, we perceive ourselves as blissful parts of the blissful Whole, Krishna. Being thus situated in inner joy, we use our talents and interests to contribute devotionally in this world without needing the world’s acclaim.
When we thus know ourselves, we know happiness, whether the world knows us or not.
Think it over:
- Why do we long to be famous?
- Why does the longing for fame not lead to happiness?
- How can knowing ourselves lead to happiness?
06.20 In the stage of perfection called trance, or samadhi, one’s mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one’s ability to see the Self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the Self.
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