To be happy in one’s own happiness and sad in one’s own sadness is beastliness, while to be happy in others’ happiness and sad in others’ sadness is humanity. Therefore, as long as, a man does not develop the nature of becoming happy in others’ happiness, and sad with others’ sadness, he does not deserve to be called a man. His appearance may be like a man, but in fact he is not a man. So long as a man is happy in his own happiness and sad with his own sorrows, it means that he has not developed humanity in him.
He who harms others for his own happiness and pleasure, does not deserve to be called a man. A man is he who having renounced his selfishness, does good to others or at least does not in the least cause any suffering to others. Therefore the lesson that needs to be learned is that let no one experience any pain or suffering, in the least bit through our actions. Besides trying to relieve the people of their sufferings, we should aim at their welfare, keeping in the forefront, how they can be benefited? May all beings be benefited! “Sarvabhootahiteh rataah.” “Remain engrossed in the welfare of all.” (Gita 5/25; 12/4). We are only responsible for the welfare of others to the extent of our ability, power and resources. No one can make everyone happy. Even all the men in the world pulling all their resources together, cannot make a single man happy. The reason is that as a man’s desire for prosperity, pleasures, honor and praise etc., are fulfilled, the more they are strengthened. In the Manasa, it is mentioned, “Jimi pratilaabh lobh adhikaayi,” “The more a man gains, the more greedy he becomes.” Even on acquiring an abundance of riches, the man can’t be satisfied. When the entire world together cannot make a single man happy, how can then one man relieve all people of the world of their suffering? However, all can adopt the feelings and sentiments, of wishing well for other’s welfare, i.e. “How can all be happy?”, whether he is a brother or a sister, young or old, rich or poor. No one is deprived of this right.
He who does good to others according to his power, God does good to him according to His power. If he applies all his power to do good to others, then God also applies all His power to do good to him. When God applies His powers, then how can he remain unhappy? No one can ever make him unhappy; and such a person attains God. The Lord declares- “Te praapnuvanti maameva sarvabhootahite rataah.” “Those who are engrossed in the welfare of all beings attain Me.” (Gita 12/4). We should wish –
Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah;
Sarve Santu Niraamayaah |
Sarve Bhadraani pashyantu,
Maa kaschid dukhabhaagbhavet ||
“May all be happy, May all be free from diseases, May all attain benediction and May no one suffer in the least.”
He who wishes everyone to be happy, healthy and totally free from all sufferings, deserves to be called a human being. As long as he is not saddened by the sufferings of others, till then he cannot be considered to be a man. Second point is that, he who empathizes and identifies with the suffering of others, does not grieve from his own grief. You all pay attention! Only he, who does not have compassion for the joys and sorrows of others, has to suffer. Only he who is a pleasure seeker, and hankers after riches, experiences the void of and lack of happiness. But he, who is happy with the happiness of others, never has a shortage of happiness. How? His desire for enjoyment and pleasures perishes.
The desire for pleasures and prosperity is the main obstacle to God Realization. Sense pleasures and hoarding, will not permit man to realize God. The reason is that when he hoards, he does this with his body, and when he enjoys pleasures, he does so with his body. So if a man is attached to the body, an effigy of bone and flesh, if he is a slave to these, how can he attain spiritual enlightenment? But he, who is happy in the happiness of others, ceases to have the desire for happiness or pleasure, while he who is moved and distressed in the sadness of others ceases to have the desire for hoarding.
On being moved with the sufferings of others, man thinks of relieving the sufferers of their sufferings. Just as we spend money to relieve ourselves of our pain, similarly, we will be willing to spend money to relieve others off their sufferings. We will not be able to hoard too much money! Even if it is accumulated, we shall not remain attached to it, by thinking that it belongs to others. It is therefore mentioned in the Bhagawat (7/14/8) –
Yavad brhiyeta jatharam taavat svatvam hi dehinaam |
Adhikam yo’bhimanyeta sa steno dandamarhati||
A man is authorized to possess only the bare necessities of life. It means that the food which satisfies your hunger, the water which quenches your thirst, the clothes and house which are necessary for the bare maintenance of your body, are yours. One who lays a claim to anything else besides these bare necessities of life is a thief and will be punished. You may say that you have not got these from somewhere else, these are your own. But how are they yours? Did you bring even a single thing with you when you were born? Will you carry even a single coin with you when you die? Therefore all the extra things with us belong to those who have a shortage of these. He who is sad with the sadness of others, never hankers after pleasure and prosperity. His heart is filled with compassion which provides him with such a relish or joy which cannot be provided by mundane pleasures.
If you amass riches, it means that within there is cruelty, lack of compassion. Where there is compassion, there is no amassing of possessions for one’s pleasure. Why? Because he is naturally joyful! The happiness that comes from hoarding is of the modes of passion and ignorance. The happiness which is derived by being happy in the happiness of others is not changed into pleasures and prosperity, but it is a kind of bliss! A very joyful feeling!
He whose nature and inner sentiments (bhaav) are to share in the sufferings of others, can never ever enjoy pleasures while others are suffering. A person with a noble heart can’t cook and relish delicious dishes, if his neighbour is starving. Under such circumstances, he can’t relish food at all. But those people who cause suffering to others, will they suffer on accord of other’s sufferings? Such people who cause suffering to others for their own happiness, dishonour others for their own honor, blame others for their own praise, dismiss others for their own position, don’t deserve to be called human beings. They are not human beings at all. They are animals! Animals that are so lowly, that they have neither horns, nor tails. They possess human body and beasty nature. Birds and beast are purified by reaping the fruit of their sinful actions. But vile persons, who cause sufferings to others, pave the way to hells by committing new sins. In the Ramcharitramanasa Lord Rama says to Vibhishana–
Baru bal baas narak kartaataa |
Dusht sang jani deyi bidhaataa ||
O’ dear friend, it is better to live in hell, but let providence not give us the company of vile persons (Manasa 5/45/4)
It is vile to be happy and sad with one’s own happiness and sadness. Our stay in hells will expiate our sins and purify us, while company of the vile will lead us to different kinds of hells.
Animals don’t incur sins by causing suffering to others because the ordinance of sins and virtues is applicable to human beings only. Birds and beasts cause suffering to others in order to satisfy their hunger, rather than for pleasure and prosperity. But a millionaire or a multi-millionaire that goes on hoarding wealth by causing suffering to others does not deserve to be called a human being. He is worse than an animal. This human life aims at purification. Those who cause suffering to others commit sins and they will have to reap horrible fruits.
The inner sense of those who don’t feel happy in the happiness of others and compassionate with sorrow of others is impure. Their impure inner sense paves the way to hell for them. The inner sense of animals is not so much impure because they don’t kill beings for pleasure. They satisfy their hunger with the kill. Men are free to perform new actions while animals have to reap the fruit of their past actions. Men prepare delicious dishes and relish them and thus they incur sin. True humanity consists in being happy with others’ happiness and sad with others sadness. So every human being should have the sentiment how can all beings be happy and how canthey be relieved of their sufferings?
From “Ease of God Realization” by Swami Ramsukhdas ji.