Being AksharRup — The Highest Spiritual State
A book by Ketul Chauhan
We do everything, every day, every time of our precious life in the race to remain happy! From waking up in the morning, to hitting the bed or even beyond, all our actions are geared towards getting higher happiness!
Would you like to live a happy life? Who doesn’t want to? We may all have a definition of happiness in our minds. At a certain period of life, let us assume our definition of happiness is to get a favorite car. A car is happiness! We buy the car and feel it for the first time by holding the steering wheel in the hands! That is the moment! It may give us goose bumps and then we shift into first gear! Wow! “Happiness” Right? We experience many other forms of such “moments of happiness” in life. Life is full of such moments of happiness.
However, five years later, when we drive the same car, will we get the same goose bumps? What about the feelings ten years later of the same moment of shifting gears? Will it give us the same magnitude of happiness? Say if we are experiencing physical pain and we sit in the same car will it give the same happiness? Where has the happiness gone then?
Well, an individual’s happiness is majorly relative! It is majorly derived out of comparison with others around oneself or with one’s own previous experiences of happiness.
Yes, Happiness is relative.
For example, if someone who walks daily to the office observes a man travelling to the same destination on a bicycle, he feels that the guy on the bicycle must be happier than he is. The person on the bicycle would wish he had a motorbike as he feels the person on a motorbike is happier than he is. The guy on the motorbike may feel that the guy in a car is happier, the guy in the car feels the guy with a better car is happier, the guy with a better car feels that the guy having his own airplane is much happier and so on.. No end!
Such comparisons mostly define our happiness! Mostly the happiness that is perishable, never satisfying and rather never ending, as it is derived from relative comparison. We can relate the above example with any worldly or materialistic goal and we could conclude the same. The reason and answer are also the same, happiness is relative! How? Let us try to understand.
Briefly, there are two types of happiness:
1. Temporary Happiness: The happiness that vanishes once the source of happiness which is external gets disconnected.
Example: (A) We enjoy food only when we eat it, we do not experience the same joy a few minutes later. (B) We cannot keep eating our favorite food all the time as we have a limited stomach size — digestion takes its own time. ( C) We will never feel fully satisfied or fulfilled eating our favorite food item repeatedly.
One of the highest forms of worldly happiness is defined as success! However, we do not enjoy success all the time. Let us try to evaluate our individual moments of happiness and determine whether they come under any of the above mentioned points? If it matches or connects, it is temporary happiness.
Temporary happiness is dependent on the five senses (eyes to see, ears to hear, tongue to taste, nose to smell and skin to feel) and the antakaran (the inner faculties: the mind, intellect, consciousness and ego) which is an illusion of happiness and is perishable.
2. Permanent Happiness: The happiness from within.
(A) The happiness that lasts for eternity. (B) The happiness that always remains with us until we die and even after that. © The happiness that remains even when there are no external sources of happiness (i.e. it is not dependent on the senses, and antakaran or others around us).
Permanent happiness remains constant irrespective of difficulties in life. It is the happiness derived from within! Well, if we are looking for higher happiness relatively, then why stop at the happiness from the senses and antakaran? Why don’t we go further within when we can? Why don’t we strive for the highest form of happiness? Is there a further level of happiness above this temporary happiness? Yes, there is a further higher happiness which we usually ignore, or at times are not even aware of. Looking for example of permanent happiness? Figure it out at the end of the book.
The thought provoking details about the gradation of happiness is mentioned in the shloka (phrase) of the Katha Upanishads 3/10 & 11.
It states that the five senses (sound, touch, sight, flavors and smell) are above the five sense organs (ears, skin, eyes, tongue, and nose). The mind is above the five senses; the buddhi (brainpower, consciousness or intellect) is above the mind; the atma (soul, jiva) is above the buddhi. Aksharbrahma is above the atma. Parabrahma (the supreme) is above Aksharbrahma — the highest eternal entity and source of happiness.
Let us try to understand this with an example: The joy of success, which is felt in the mind (part of the antakaran), is above the happiness of the five senses (sensory happiness — like the sweet taste of mango which is felt on the tongue only).
The happiness of wisdom is the happiness of the intellect. It gives more happiness than success (the happiness of the mind) as wisdom helps us to remain stable in success and failure.
We can experience the above types of happiness of the senses and inner-self only due to the soul (atma) present within. The five senses provide us with most of our day-to-day happiness, which is due to the presence and power of the soul which processes the various types of input (such as the ears to hear, nose to smell, eyes to see, tongue to taste and skin to feel). Now imagine how much more the happiness of the soul itself would be! Thinking even higher, imagine the happiness of Aksharbrahma and Parabrahma (the Supreme)!
Let us understand this with an example of the relative happiness of sensory happiness and the happiness of the Supreme: A king can plant several trees to provide shade and shelter for his countrymen from the heat (which serves as relief hence happiness for the body). Imagine how much more happiness and luxury would be present in the king’s palace. It does not make the happiness of sitting under the tree less but it illustrates the higher level of happiness in the palace. “Happiness is relative!” There are different levels of happiness.
The next question is how can we get that higher happiness? Well, if we want to enjoy the happiness of a car, we need to forego the bicycle. If we want to enjoy the happiness of an airplane, we need to forego the car. In the same way, if we want to achieve the ultimate happiness of the soul and the supreme, we must forego the happiness of the body, senses, mind and intellect. If we continue to pursue only up to the happiness of the senses and mind — we cannot go higher. It is an individual’s choice.
Why should we strive for the happiness of the soul rather than that of the body, senses, mind and intellect? The answer to this can be understood by the following example of a question — why would someone driving in a car consider walking on the road?
Why stop and settle at temporary and perishable happiness? Why not go further? Especially when working towards inner happiness gives a meaningful purpose to human life. Climbing the ladder of happiness is not just outwardly, but inwardly. When we realise the happiness of the soul and the supreme, the highest happiness, we can remain happy regardless of our external circumstances. We can be happy even with a bicycle or walking on the road. Indeed much happier than the person in the airplane! Then why not try it?
There are different levels of happiness that we can strive for within us and the highest level is being AksharRup! The highest spiritual state! Attaining the virtues of Aksharbrahma is being AksharRup and this is all about experiencing the ultimate possible happiness within.
The highest spiritual state is stated by Bhagwan Swaminarayan in the scripture Vachanamrut — Section Loya 12: “Finally, one possessing the highest level of ‘nirvikalp faith’ (faith in which one sees only God and no doubts or distinctions remain whatsoever i.e. a state of perfect realization) one realizes that countless millions of universes, each encircled by the eight barriers appear like mere atoms before Akshar. Such is the glory of Akshar, the abode of Purushottam (Parabrahma) Narayan. One who worships Purushottam realizing oneself to be AksharRup can be said to possess the highest level of nirvikalp faith — the highest spirituality state.”
That is the highest spiritual state that one can ever achieve. Being AksharRup is about realizing our true self as Akshar or the soul rather than the body.
Once upon a time, a lion cub was somehow lost and stranded. While passing through the fields, a shepherd saw this cub. Seeing that the endearing cub was lost, he decided to take care of him.
The cub started growing older along with other baby goats the shepherd looked after. Over a period of time, the cub too started behaving like the goats as he began to believe he too was a goat. He never roared but instead lived and behaved as the other goats.
One day the lion, the father of the cub went out in search of his lost cub. During the search, the lion saw his cub playing with other goats. He roared loudly. Hearing the roar, all the goats started running away for safety and so did the lion cub. The lion rushed to the cub and caught him! The cub cried for help to let him go. Seeing this, the lion was surprised as to why the cub feared the lion.
He asked the baby why he was afraid. The cub said that he was a goat and feared the lion would eat him. Though surprised by this statement, the lion laughed and took the baby cub near a lake. The lion asked the cub to see its own face in the lake to see who he really was!
The cub saw that he was actually a lion but by staying with the goats, he believed himself to be a goat and always behaved in that way. By meeting the lion, he identified his true self. He then roared like a lion and realized his true self and true power!
Our soul too believes the self to be the body and so behaves as the body which leads to unhappiness and miseries. When we meet a true Guru who makes us realise our true self as the soul or Akshar, we too start realizing our true self, power and happiness.
We are pure at the core but because we have never realized this we have fallen into a trap of false identity and have behaved in that incorrect way. Being AksharRup is about realizing the self as pure, like Akshar and blissful.
Read the complete book to know more.
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