Everyone wants to be happy, right? Oh, how we enjoy the simple pleasure of an ice cream on a hot summer day and sweet dessert after a satisfying meal. Millions enjoy soaking up the sun’s rays on the beach, while others thrive on the rush of driving a sports car while still others enjoy the tranquility of hiking among picturesque mountains. We work hard year after year so we can vacation in the tropics, buy a comfortable home, and give our children what they need and desire. We look for love and happiness in another person. But do any of these temporary pleasures really bring us true happiness? Many spiritual seekers and self-realized souls have already said a resounding ‘no’. They observed that, while these pleasures give us temporary relief from misery, they enslave us. They create the false impression in us that we need them in order to be happy. These great souls have set their sights far above this physical world as they aspire for final liberation, reaching towards the heavens, seeking release from what enlightened beings call this mundane worldly existence.
These devout souls have lost interest in all temporal pleasures provided in this physical world, including the sense of financial security, and are going for gold – discovering the eternal and transcendental Self, which, they say, is eternally free. In the Self they discover bliss, over and over, to which there is no opposite, to which there is no end.
“The search for enlightenment is synonymous with the aspiration for liberation from everyone and everything, including ourselves. We are from freedom: from freedom we have come and towards freedom we are headed. Freedom resides as much in our origin as in our destination. It is not something one achieves, but something one is becoming.” (Prabhuji, excerpt from Yoga… Union with Reality)
There are endless ways to strive for spiritual liberation, to discover who we really are, with different religions offering various paths such as devotion, surrender and scriptural study. But in the core of all these different paths there is one substance: the burning fire for liberation, the urge to discover our freedom.
“Desire enslaves, whereas aspiration liberates. The latter constitutes the sublimation of the former. Although the destruction of desire is impossible, it can be radically transformed, or sublimated, into a sincere aspiration for freedom…
…It is this spiritual longing which leads us to give ourselves in body, mind and soul to religion and the search for God. It involves changing our addictive attitude towards misery, which is clearly not just an intellectual decision. Mumukṣutvā (desire for liberation) means the complete renunciation of our chains. Any desire for worldly pleasure is diminished by the aspiration for the Self, which is an essential requirement for enlightenment. May every moment of our life become filled with this highest aspiration.” (Prabhuji, Yoga Union with Reality).To read more on what Prabhuji has written on various paths for liberation such as bhakti yoga, jnana yoga (Vedanta), hatha yoga, tantra yoga, japa yoga and raja yoga, click here. Trust me, you won’t want to put this free online book down. Keep reaching higher!