Author Of The Absolutely True Story Of A Part-Time Indian Four Steps to Satisfy All Your Cravings to Achieve Happiness and Bliss

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Four Steps to Satisfy All Your Cravings to Achieve Happiness and Bliss

People are trying to achieve happiness at any cost. They are willing to pay any price to make themselves happy or to buy happiness for the future. If you ask a young professional slogging 18 hours why he is working so hard. He can attribute his hard work to achieving happiness. Even if his immediate goal may be to make money, his ultimate goal is happiness and money is only a means to that goal. Those who desire power also believe that power will bring them happiness. Those who thirst for physical and sensual pleasures do so to attain happiness. Yet all wealth, power and pleasure are not enough to make a person happy as his desires rise higher and higher. Gandhi rightly said,

There are enough resources in this world to meet the needs of every human being. Yet total wealth is not enough to satisfy one’s greed.

Are we like these fishermen?

So no wonder no one seems to be happy in this world because no one could fulfill his wishes. We all feel trapped in this story.

A poor fisherman used to catch fish to meet the basic needs of his family. Once he was very hungry and could not fish for many days. After much effort he caught a big fish. He was extremely happy and planned to take the fish home to feed himself and his family. However, the fish begged the fisherman to spare his life by showing mercy to him. The fisherman was kind, and he returned the fish to the water.

Then he saw that the fish had become a goddess. She told the fisherman that she was a goddess who became a fish due to a curse. The effect of the curse will be removed only if a kind person spares his life. So she thanks the fisherman for saving her life and making her a goddess again. He asked the fisherman to ask for a boon.

The fisherman was a simple man. He thought only of what he needed and asked the goddess to give him a suitable house, good clothes to wear and enough food to eat. The goddess granted his wish and promised that whenever he needed help, he could always come to the same place near the sea and she would appear again to give him another boon.

The fisherman returns to his house to find that the hut has disappeared and has been replaced with a beautiful house. He saw his wife and children dressed in beautiful clothes. The food was the best of the meals. His happiness knew no bounds.

Many months passed. Once he was walking in the market, when suddenly the king of the kingdom passed by and was asked to step out of the way. He was forced off the road. From a distance he saw the king riding an elephant, riding the road, majestic. He felt insulted by the king’s men. Then he remembered the Goddess and immediately wished to go to the same place on the seashore and see the Goddess.

Devi appeared and asked him to ask for another boon. He requested that he must be made the king of the kingdom. The boon was given. This time the man was very happy. All the power and resources of the state are in his hands.

After some years, once in the summer months he was riding around his kingdom on a golden elephant. The weather was hot and humid. He was sweating profusely. He looked up at the sky and saw the sun burning like a hot iron. He longed for cool air. Yet there was no wind. Desperate, he went straight to the seashore and asked to show the goddess.

Devi asked, what is needed now? He said that he wants the sun to shine as he directs and the wind to blow as he wishes. The goddess became very angry and contemptuously said, “O fisherman! I have made you king. Yet you are not satisfied. Go and become a fisherman again.”

human nature

At the end of the scene, the author asks the reader, “Who do you think is wrong? The fisherman or the goddess?” He then concludes that the man was right because it is human nature to want more. So the fisherman behaved like any other human being, behaved the same way. However, the goddess did not act like a goddess as she continued to fulfill the wishes of the man while it was within her power. But when the man asked for something that was beyond his power, instead of telling the man the truth of his limitations, he preferred to punish him by making him poor again by forgetting what he had done to give him a new life.

Although many of us would agree with the author’s conclusion that it is human’s natural desire to seek more in this world to fulfill this desire, yet in some corner of our hearts we too feel that we wish we were in that place. Fishermen, we would not have made such a mistake and asked for such a foreign groom. We also know that even if the goddess granted his wishes, he would return to her for more wishes. Thanks to the invention of air conditioning many of us have virtual control over the sun and wind. Yet even after fulfilling all the physical comforts, we do not seem to be happy. Although it is true that man has unlimited desires, it would be a mistake to conclude that man’s desires are only material.

Jesus was the true judge of human nature and rightly said, “Man is not for bread alone.” Bread is needed to feed the body, yet one cannot live only to satisfy his body. While an animal can remain satisfied after the satisfaction of its physical desires, man moves to the level of desires after the satisfaction of physical desires.

What are the different levels of desire? We can classify human desires into four distinct categories viz.

(1) Desire of the body

(2) The will of the mind

(3) Desire of the Spirit

(4) Desire of the Spirit

Thus an animal may spend its entire life in the gratification of its physical desires, but man has to satisfy higher level desires, which can only remain dormant until the lower level desires are satisfied. True happiness can only be realized when man is able to satisfy the thirst of the four levels of desire.

(1) To satisfy the cravings of the body

Like other animals, the first need of every human being is to satisfy the body’s thirst. The desires of the body can be satisfied by food, water, shelter, clothing; and by satisfying sensual needs. However, the physical needs are satisfied only for a short time and after some time the cravings return. Therefore, we want to ensure the satisfaction of physical needs for the future by accumulating wealth and creating rituals like marriage that fulfill sensual needs. All human institutions are created from the point of view that man can satisfy all the physical needs of his life so that he can advance to the next level of greed.

(2) Satisfying the cravings of the mind

We all see that people acquire more wealth than they need. Often such people are called greedy or filthy rich. Yet the reality is that wealth accumulation is not for physical needs but for emotional needs because wealth gives them recognition and respect in society. People gain respect and honor that seems to be related to their salary or wealth. Bill Gates must have been respected by many because he was the richest man in the world. Yet in reality it is not the wealth that is respected in the society but the wealth created for the mind?

Imagine, you have won a billion dollars by chance through lottery or inheritance. Or you have acquired wealth by killing a rich person or looting a country. Do you feel happy? Do you get people’s respect? The answer seems to be negative.

The fact is that people do not respect wealth or prefer the rich for wealth. After all the owner of wealth only enjoys the wealth. Yet they love and respect the market of mind and create that wealth. Wealth is only a measure of a person’s mental or intellectual capacity in this material world. If in a company, different people are paid different salaries, chances are that the higher paid person is likely to be more intelligent or knowledgeable than the lower paid person. So people respect a person with higher salary because they believe that he will have more mental capacity. Many writers and leaders like Gandhi and Mother Teresa were respected even though they did not have wealth. They also had the potential to create wealth, which they chose not to do.

Men want people’s respect when they become rich or powerful. This can be done only when the individual fulfills his emotional desires and develops intellectually. So a rich man has to prove his mental worth to the society. All self-made men have already done that. Others have to do so by investing well in business and acquiring more wealth, thereby proving themselves smarter than others. If they fail to do that, they also fail to realize happiness.

(3) Satisfying the thirst of the soul

Most people prove themselves smarter than others by acquiring wealth or power. So most successful people should be happy because they are able to satisfy their body and mind. Yet they fail to find happiness as their next level of desire begins.

People realize late in life that they have unique personalities and abilities in this world. It is an intentional design of nature because every human being is designed for a purpose. Thus every successful person at some point in his life, when they fail to realize happiness, “Who am I?”, “What is my goal?”, “What is the purpose of my life?”

Identifying oneself is the greatest mystery for man. Once a person realizes this, he can understand the goal and purpose of his life. All great men like Gandhi, Buddha, Newton and Einstein realized their purpose in life and created a new world by satisfying their soul. There is no reasoning why they did things that were quite offbeat for “normal” people.

A man is able to satisfy his soul, only if he knows himself correctly and follows the voice of his consciousness rather than the logic of the world.

(4) Satisfying the cravings of the soul

The ultimate goal of man is to attain divinity by knowing God within and without. Once a man fulfills his soul’s desire, he realizes that all the worlds are one and everyone is connected to each other by the common soul which we often call God or Supreme Power. After this realization, the human soul becomes one with the soul. So the individual works for the satisfaction of every creation in the world. All his wealth and power are used to fulfill the desires of Atman or God by serving everyone in this universe rather than as a means to fulfill his desires.

Happiness is the only goal of life

Many people do not feel the desire of the soul because their lower level needs are not being met. Yet it is because of this lust that people like Bill Gates donate all their wealth to the welfare of society. Buddha also left his kingdom to satisfy the thirst of his soul and spirit.

Indian philosophy believes that once a person fulfills his soul’s desires, he becomes one with God and is freed from the bonds of life and death. He attains his salvation by becoming one with God. However, a person who fails to fulfill his soul’s desires must return to this world again and again until he is able to fulfill all his desires. The state of satisfaction of all thirsts is also called Paramanada (Supreme Bliss).

So, the natural desire of man is to progress from body to mind to soul to spirit. It is like a treasure hunt where, after the satisfaction of the lower level desires, the clues to the higher level desires are found. The reward for every treasure discovery is happiness. Walking in this direction is the source of happiness and walking in the opposite direction is the source of all sorrow, pain and misery.

Thus every man can attain salvation or God or enter into the kingdom of God not by suffering pain, but only by fulfilling the desires of his desires which reward the person with feelings of happiness.

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