„Welcome to our event which we call: „Chant and be Happy“! In the ancient Vedic scriptures it is said: „Om ananda maya`bhyasat“ by nature the Absolute is composed of happiness. 1 As part and parcel of the Supreme, we are also originally full of ananda, bliss, but do we always feel blissful? No, our consciousness is covered and we misidentify ourselves with the body. Searching for happiness is very natural because it is our original constitution to always be blissful. However, when searching for happiness outside of ourselves we are like a poverty-stricken farmer lamenting about his misfortune, not knowing that there is a big treasure underneath his piece of land. True satisfaction and peace are to be found within. Chanting Mantras is a powerful method to enter into a divine consciousness where spiritual happiness can be found, but as long as we try to find happiness outside in the world we are searching at the wrong place…“
These were, more or less, the first sentences of a short speech I gave this week at a Mantra Yoga program organized by the local devotees of the Harinam Ashrama Zurich. After an introduction to Mantra Meditation, a pranayama exercise and a wonderful Kirtana, I was requested to speak on the topic of happiness. Besides a poem by Herman Hesse and two Gita verses, I narrated the following story:
Once upon a time, there was a king who was very much attached to his daughter. He made all possible arrangements to please her. On the princess’ birthday, the king gave his daughter a very valuable and beautiful necklace. It was made of pure gold and adorned with many jewels, emeralds, and other precious stones. The little princess was thrilled and everyone enjoyed the beauty of the fine piece of jewelry.
A few days later the princess somehow lost the gold necklace during an outing in the forest! „I'll give you a new gold necklace," the king immediately told his daughter. "No! I want the one you gave me on my birthday and not another one!” "Well, do not worry, we'll find the necklace," reassured the king.
Dozens of soldiers were sent into the kingdom to search for the necklace, but with no success. Unable to bear his daughter's dissatisfaction the king announced: „Whoever finds the princess' gold necklace will be rewarded with half of the kingdom!“ We can easily imagine what happened next; everyone became obsessed with searching for the necklace.
One of them was a simple farmer boy. While wandering through the forest he found the necklace on the bottom of a small pond. He immediately jumped into the water but was unable to get the necklace out of the pond. The message spread and more and more people came to the small pond to try their luck. For some reason, no one was able to catch the necklace. Finally, the king himself appeared on the spot, jumped into the pond but came out of the water empty-handed just like everyone else before him.
At that time, the great sage Narada Muni appeared. With keen eyes, he looked over the scene and asked "What's going on here? I travel all over the universe and know all the important places of pilgrimage but I do not know this holy pond! Can you tell me something about the importance of this place? "
Somewhat ashamed, the king clarifies the situation to the saint.Narada Muni laughed and said, "Oh, you are looking at the wrong place! The gold necklace is not at the bottom of this pond. What you see is just a reflection. In fact, the gold chain hangs up there in the branches of this tree!“
Moral of the story: If you are looking for happiness in the outside, you are looking at the wrong place. Happiness and satisfaction can be found in the relationship with the eternal, in our relationship with the divine within ourselves and not in the temporary pleasures of this world.
Knowing the power of the Maha Mantra and the secret of how to find true happiness Srila Prabhupada`s slogan for spreading Krishna Consciousness was: „Chant and be Happy!“
1 - Vedanta Sutra 1.1.12