Home Wisdom Articles Pujya Gurudevshri Pujya Gurudevshri Insights Do I Need to Give Up Happiness to be Religious?

Do I Need to Give Up Happiness to be Religious?

Absolutely not. Pujyashri Gurudev responds, “I am not asking you to give up happiness. I simply wish to show you a greater source of happiness.”

Happiness is your True Nature. It is your right to be happy. Religion teaches you how to be happy. Only if your life is a celebration, full of love and joy; if you dance with happiness will you be religious.

The ignorant however are unable to comprehend the essence of religion. They fail to grasp the simple truth that religion means to be happy and to spread happiness. Much ignorance prevails regarding religion.

Ignorance About Religion

Do you harbour the belief that religion means suffering, inflicting pain on yourself? Just as the belief that happiness can be attained from external things is not true, so also the belief that one should suffer to become religious and attain happiness in another lifetime, is not true. ‘Religion means suffering,’ if that is your belief, you must correct it immediately, because in this way you will only create a society of masochists, rooted in sorrow. All your so called religious activities in life will revolve around unhappiness. To respect unhappiness can never be religion.

A fakir named Zusia was lying on his deathbed. Someone asked him, “Did you observe your austerities and practise your vows properly? Will you be able to face God?” He replied, “I know God very well. He is not a wicked person who will ask, ‘How many days did you remain hungry?’ He will ask, ‘How happy were you? On how many occasions were you able to remain unaffected by situations, revelling in the bliss within?’”

For one who has found boundless joy within, thoughts of food and other things no longer bother him. He is the one who practises true austerity. Appreciate such a practitioner of austerity, honour him with grand processions, prostrate yourself at his feet. Such a person can truly be called religious. But you worship an unhappy person and one who is unhappy, is not religious. Why then, do you honour such a person? In fact, he should be pitied. By praising those who are ignorant, you are exhibiting your own ignorance! By believing that those who make themselves and others unhappy are religious, you are associating religion with unhappiness and committing a grave mistake. That is why unhappiness is the goal of your life and unhappiness is where you end up.

Your false beliefs about religion are so strongly rooted that you are not willing to budge, even by an inch. You are willing to be unhappy, but not to change your perspective. You cannot see a religious person being joyful, nor can you accept that a joyful person is religious. You have linked religiousness with unhappiness. However, religion is undoubtedly the ultimate destroyer of all suffering. Religion is the art of being in a state of happiness. If you become religious in the true sense, you will inevitably become joyful. One whose life is full of joy is dear to God. Such a person remains happy in any situation. The characteristic of a happy person is contentment.

What is True Religion?

Religion shows you a greater source of happiness. It tells you to dive deep within and know your True Self. This is not a difficult task, in fact, it is very simple. If you ask a rose in full bloom whether the process of blooming was difficult, it will say, ‘when I did not have to become a jasmine, why should it be difficult? I only had to bloom. There was joy in blooming and joy even after blooming.’ Blooming is a natural phenomenon. How can that which is natural be difficult? Being natural is being normal, and being normal is always simple. Religion is to become steady in one’s own nature. How can that be difficult?

Do not keep wandering outside aimlessly. Your treasure is hidden within you and yet you beg elsewhere. Your kingdom lies within and yet you look for riches outside. Just change the direction of your search, look within and your life will be revolutionised. Why is it that you never undertake the journey within? You wander far away and count misery. You make preparations to go to the moon and stars, but not within. You turn a blind eye to that which is close by. The Self is the closest, but you believe it to be very far. The first thing therefore, is to realise that it is the closest. Then efforts should be made to become steady in it.

When one’s discriminative faculties are awakened and one sees that the external world cannot bring real joy, the inward journey begins. If you start the inward journey you will turn to your Self. And if you turn within, you will come close to that which will never leave you. Moreover, as you turn within, fountains of joy will spring forth. Not only will you be full of joy, you will also make the world joyous. The one who is happy also makes others happy. What else can he radiate but happiness?

If you are unhappy, then you have turned your back on God. The pursuit of religion is not escapism, is not cowardice, nor a matter of helplessness or weakness. If your heart overflows with joy, know that you are on the path of true religion and a religious person remains untouched, joyful and fragrant wherever he is!


View All
#SadguruWhispers You are short-sighted if you can only plan for this life but cannot envision beyond death.