On the evening of July 14, 2015 Radhanath Swami spoke at Golden Bridge Yoga in Santa Monica, California. He was given a very warm welcome by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa the co-founder and director of from Golden Bridge, who asked him to speak on the topic of ‘The Search for Happiness’.
Radhanath Swami began by thanking the audience and expressing his special gratitude to Gurmukh and Gurushabd. He then recounted his early days as a small boy in Northern Illinois shoveling snow off the driveway in the brutal cold hearing the Beach Boys singing about surfing in Southern California. California sounded like a heavenly planet, where people came to enjoy. He went on to explain how the Brahma Sutras state ‘The common feature of every living being is they want to experience pleasure and avoid pain’. The Brahma Sutras also answer the question : What is the origin of that pleasure?
He narrated the story of Sridhar, who was a poor banana leaf seller. “In spite of Sridhar’s poor condition, he never asked for anything. One day he was asked by little Nimai, ‘Why do you worship Krishna? What is Krishna doing for you? You live in a small straw hut and you wear rags on your body as clothing. There are so many holes on your clothes that you have to tie twelve knots.’ He answered, ‘In my observation, I have seen kings with so much luxuries and a bird who wears the same feathers everyday. There is no difference in their quality of lives. They are both struggling in their own ways. I am happy within myself in whatever situation.’ This is the origin of happiness. It is in our very own nature, our spiritual nature.”
“The purpose of yoga, religion, and dharma is to reconnect our consciousness to the source. When that connection is made, we understand our natural connection with the environment, Mother Nature and our actual relationship with all living beings. When we realize and awaken love of God within us, we feel God’s love for us, then we naturally extend that love to everyone. Just like a man in a dream is horrified of a leopard chasing him, the eternal soul forgets its own real identity and experiences pain and pleasure. Real happiness is within our hearts; if we cannot find it there, we cannot find it anywhere. If we find it there, we can find peace and happiness anywhere, with anyone, and in any situation. When you find happiness within, your whole perspective of life changes. You realize that true joy of life is in serving, by being an instrument of God’s love in whatever your occupation and your role in society.”
Radhanath Swami concluded his talk by sharing three principles we can use to balance our life: satsang, sadhana and sadachar. Satsang means to associate with people who inspire us spiritually. Sadhana is the spiritual practice of excavating the great spiritual treasure in our heart. Sadachar is to live with purity and integrity. By adopting these three principles in our lives, we can experience what is truly valuable and realize what real happiness means.