How to remain young and strong in spite of age and unhappy circumstances?
Ah! For that you must remain happy, always happy, truly happy under all circumstances of your life.
It sounds impossible. The world is full of misery and suffering, life around us is full of pain and evil, the entire humanity around us seems to groan with agony; and in the midst of all this unhappiness, to remain happy? Even if by a rare piece of luck you have a peaceful, contented life for yourself, what of others? And unless you are wholly self-centred, how can you help being unhappy?
The arguments seem rational, but nevertheless they are not true. How?
Well, true happiness does not depend on outer circumstances. It belongs really to your soul; the soul radiates it, it is the illumining warmth of the divine spark in you. You are happy when you are in contact with it. That is the truth, and that is why some are happy by nature, by temperament, and some are unhappy. You are happy because happiness is a part of your own self, a quality of your consciousness, a radiation from your inmost soul.
And just as you cannot dissolve darkness by putting out your own light — you only increase it — even so, the best way to heal others’ unhappiness is to radiate your own happiness, to kindle your own lamp and let it shine forth. This is not the method of the philanthropists: they try to chase away misery or dispel it by giving alms; but they never succeed. You know the story of the film Monsieur Vincent: the more he gave alms, the more the number or miserable people increased.
You must go to the root. The real source of the ills in human life is man’s loss of contact with his soul. Re-establish that contact, and problems are seen and experienced in a different perspective, and solved too in the way they should be. Misery and pain and sorrow change their faces and become circumstances and occasions for progress and development. You experience them but are not overwhelmed, and in spite of them you are happy and even in joy. The Buddha tried this in his own way. Christ also wanted to do the same thing; it is said that he came to India, and this is typically an oriental method — to awaken your soul, to rediscover and establish it as the governor of your life. And that is the supreme secret.
Published February 1983