Jiva Soul – A poem from 1874

Back in in 1874, Bhaktivinode Thakura wrote this sublime poem that gives us the formula for Supreme Spiritual Success! Jiva Soul, from Saragrahi Vaishnava

This is a poem by the great saint Bhaktivinode Thakura… from his 1874 work, “Saragrahi Vaishnava”

The Jiva Soul:

Alas for those who spend their days
In festive mirth and joy.
The dazzling, deadly liquid forms
Their hearts fore’er employ.

The shining bottles charm their eyes
And draw their heart’s embrace;
The slaves of wine can never rise
From what we call disgrace.

Was man intended to be
A brute in work and heart?
Should man, the Lord of all around,
From common sense depart?

Man’s glory is in common sense
Dictating us the grace,
That man is made to live and love
The beauteous Heaven’s embrace.

The flesh is not our own alas;
The mortal frame a chain;
The soul confined for former wrongs
Should try to rise again.

Why then this childish play in that
Which cannot be our own;
Which falls within a hundred years
As if a rose ablown.

Our life is but a rosy hue
To go ere long for naught;
The soul alone would last fore’er
With good or evil fraught.

How deep the thought of times to be!
How grave the aspect looks!
And wrapt in awe become, O, we,
When reading Nature’s books.

Man’s life to him a problem dark–
A screen both left and right;
No soul hath come to tell us what
Exists beyond our sight.

But then a voice, how deep and soft,
Within ourselves is left;
Man! Man! Thou art immortal soul!
Thee Death can never melt.

For thee thy Sire on High has kept
A store of bliss above,
To end of time, thou art O! His–
Who wants but purest love.

O Love! Thy power and spell benign
Now melt my soul to God;
How can my earthly words describe
That feeling soft and broad.

Enjoyment, sorrow — what but lots
To which the flesh is heir?
The soul that sleeps alone concludes
In them it hath a share.

And then, my friends, no more enjoy
Nor weep for all below;
The women, wine, and flesh of beasts
No love on thee bestow.

But thine to love thy brother man
And give thyself to God.
And God doth know your wages fair–
This fact is true and broad.

Forget the past that sleeps and ne’er
The future dream at all,
But act in time that are with thee
And progress thee shall call.

But tell me not in reasoning cold,
The soul is made alone
By Earth’s mechanic lifeless rules
And to destruction prone.

My God who gave us life and all
Alone the soul can kill
Or give it all the joys above
His promise to fulfill.

So push thy onward march, O soul,
Against an evil deed
That stands with soldiers Hate and Lust–
A hero be indeed.

Maintain thy post in spirit world
As firmly as you can,
Let never matter push thee down–
O stand heroic man!

O Sharagrahi Vaishnava soul,
Thou art an angel fair;
Lead, lead me on to Vrindavan
And spirit’s power declare.

There rests my soul from matter free
Upon my Lover’s arms–
Eternal peace and spirits love
Are all my chanting charms.

How to be unhappy

What is the best way to be unhappy? It is the fastest, and the most effective way. And what’s more, we’re past masters at this game of unhappiness.

The easiest way to be unhappy, which most of us have mastered, is to strive for happiness here. What do I mean? Isn’t it the right of every individual to strive for happiness? Shouldn’t one strive to make things better, more comfortable, and more convenient? Isn’t this what life is all about, the search for happiness?

The great little-boy-saint Prahlada spoke these words to God.

सुखाय दु:खमोक्षाय सङ्कल्प इह कर्मिण: ।
सदाप्नोतीहया दु:खमनीहाया: सुखावृत: ॥ ४२ ॥

sukhāya duḥkha-mokṣāya
saṅkalpa iha karmiṇaḥ
sadāpnotīhayā duḥkham
anīhāyāḥ sukhāvṛtaḥ

In this material world, every materialist desires to achieve happiness and diminish his distress, and therefore he acts accordingly. Actually, however, one is happy as long as one does not endeavor for happiness; as soon as one begins his activities for happiness, his conditions of distress begin.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/7/7/42/

The most unfortunate reality is that when we start this search, we completely forget that we are already happy to start with. The definition of the living entity, spirit soul, is “anandamayo ‘bhyasat” or “one who is accustomed to be always in the highest bliss. And what is that bliss? The bliss of spiritual satisfaction “brahma saukhyam tvanantam“, that spiritual happiness which is never-ending and unlimited.

This world is certified as a place of misery by the Creator:

मामुपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दु:खालयमशाश्वतम् ।
नाप्‍नुवन्ति महात्मान: संसिद्धिं परमां गता: ॥ १५ ॥

mām upetya punar janma
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/15/

Specifically, the words “duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam” above mean duḥkhaālayam — place of miseries; aśāśvatam — temporary.

In this place where misery is abundant, this world which is designed for misery, who can find happiness? Ah, maybe not now, maybe later? If only I do this, or that, or that?

The key problem here is to focus on the happiness derived from the material senses. The moment we ask the senses, are you satisfied, the senses, rejoicing in the attention they get, immediately ask for more. The senses are compared to a raging fire. Gratification of the senses is compared to fuel. When you have a raging fire, you cannot extinguish it by supplying more fuel.

The world is full of people who are striving to increase the gratification available to their mind and senses. They will never be satisfied, they will ever be unhappy.

Even perfectly happy spiritualists can fall into this trap – instead of asking, how may I satisfy God with my thought, word, and deed, they can ask instead “hey, what is this spiritual thing doing for me, what am I getting out of it“. The moment they ask this question, in the name of “self love”, they fall down into crass material sense gratification, and proceed into the deepest darkest misery. In fact, their misery is even greater than the ignorant materialist, because that misery is meant to bring them back to their true position, in harmony with God.

Ask God, no matter what tradition you come from, go and ask God, “what can I do to please you right here right now?” And because the beginner often cannot distinguish between the ranting of the mind and the voice of the Super Soul inside the heart, please check your answer with your mentors, your friends in spiritual life, and the scripture you follow. Triangulating in this way will ensure that you are not making the mistake of assuming your own sense gratification to be the will of God! And it will ensure that you are not unhappy.

Just go deep inside, serve the Supreme with your every thought, word, and deed, and be happy here and now. You already have everything you need. All the other stuff, they are demands of the body and the mind, and you are neither your body, nor your mind.

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