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Duties and austerities - the ideal life

(Amy Harilal) #1

As devotees we are often asked the question; “what do you enjoy in your life?”

I know I’ve been asked this on more than one occasion.

Let’s not kid ourselves as to what they mean.
Everyone knows.
Don’t they?
We’re losers and have nothing to enjoy in our lives.

It moves even me, the author, to read the above sentence. Yet I know the path of executing our prescribed duties and completing the austerities given by the spiritual master constitute the ideal life. A life worth living. The only life worth living in my opinion.

People are always chasing after enjoyments and a ‘good time’ in this world. How successful are they? Do they end up happy? Or do they end up more miserable than before? Look around and see for yourself. How many drug addicts, how many alcoholics, sex workers and king pins of crime there are in this world. Abominable people. And then there are the people who are trying to be better- the devotees.

Without undertaking our prescribed duties one cannot even live with food and shelter in this world. Without doing austerities one cannot make a better future and earn pious credits in one’s life.

For devotees life is a purification and a lifetime of learning and service after one comes to the lotus feet of Shri Guru. We do things because we know they are right. We avoid the call of non-devotees for so called “enjoyment” because we know it’s detrimental for us, against the order of Shri Guru, and displeasing to the Lord.

An austere life is a pure life. If you want purity then a devotional life is what you seek. It’s not all about pain. There are pleasures. And as devotees we can all recount some blissful experience in our lives. However, we shouldn’t become even spiritual thrill seekers. I was guilty of this but I learned. I learned that I have a responsibility to myself; my mantra was “As far as I’m concerned, I matter”. If you care about yourself you’ll make those steps to improve your life, because none of us are perfect. And you’ll keep making those steps…until you get to…
…that part I don’t know.