Success in life begins with knowing, "Who am I? What is the purpose of my life?" Knowledge of the self exists; but sincere seekers are rare. More rare are the great teachers of such wisdom. Since time immemorial, wise men have described our wonderful nature: spiritual, primeval, ever-existing, undying, unchangeable, imperishable. This selection of the writings of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa (Chris Butler) shares that timeless wisdom — inspiring, challenging , practical.
Everybody is seeking a place where there are no material miseries. But wherever you go in the world there are material miseries. The body alone comes with its material miseries. Thus, the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu made the point that we should accept suffering as inherent. Why? Because as long as the body exists, there’s going to be misery. It’s inherent in it. So it’s natural that you’ll experience suffering. You should accept that suffering is the intrinsic nature of the material body as well of as this material world.
Love for the Supreme Lord does not mean that I don’t love others. I can love my spouse, my children, and my friends. But that’s different from the longing we speak of. When we speak about love for the Supreme, we’re speaking about a longing that transcends and is infinitely greater than our longing for anyone else.
I got a letter recently from a person in prison. Obviously, he is very unhappy that he is in prison. He expressed how much he is longing for his wife and children. Being in prison is like semi-death. You’re alive but you’re separated from the world, from all the things you’re attached to. You’re not allowed to live with your spouse, your family members, or your friends. You’re not allowed to eat where you want to eat. You’re not allowed to do what you want to do. That’s the punishment. So you start to long for that which you don’t have and for those to whom you are attached. So I told him, “This is good for you because it gives you the opportunity, before you have to actually leave this world, to see where your attachments really are and who you’re attached to more than anyone else.” I asked him, “Are you longing for the Supreme Person right now? Are you longing for the opportunity to be able to hear and chant His names, to meditate upon Him, to think of Him, or to read His words or hear of His pastimes? Is that what you are longing for? No, because after all, you can still do that even though you’re in prison. So what or who are you longing for? You get to realize who you’re attached to more than anyone else.”