The atma is the embodiment of joy, yet how many of us can say we are always joyful and happy? If we are not, where does the fault lie? It lies with us, said M.K. Srinivasan, in a discourse.
One reason for our sorrow is our wrong notion that the atma is independent. The second reason is our assumption that the atma and the body are not different.
The third is our tendency to do our karmas selfishly, and not as service to the Lord. While it is important that we do our prescribed karmas, we should not do so with the narrow goal of obtaining some good for ourselves or our families. We should do every karma as something to be submitted at the feet of Lord Narayana.
We should not spend our time in trivial pursuits. We should give up that which the Vedas are opposed to. While sacrifices like Aswamedha or Rajasuya are spoken of in the Vedas, these too are trivial, in the sense that they only confer temporal benefits on people.
A man may become king, if he performs these sacrifices, but of what use is being king? A king’s life is not necessarily a happy one. A king is bound by many rules, and in any case, no one rules for eternity. Even heaven (svarga) is not to be desired, because our stay in heaven is not permanent. It is a sojourn that will last as long as our punyas last. The moment they have been used up, we will back on this Earth.
We should not seek that which comes to us through our senses. These give temporary pleasure. We should seek God through bhakti or surrender. Our thoughts, words and deeds must synchronise.
Four Purusharthas are spoken of — Artha, Kama, Dharma and Moksha. Of these, the first three should not be thought of as important. While we need to earn money for our living and while the desire to have progeny is also understandable, we must seek these in a dharmic way, keeping our desires focused on attainment of moksha. We should think of ourselves as the servants of the Supreme One.
To be His servant is something to be proud of and to be happy about. If one had this knowledge, happiness will automatically accrue to one.