Positive alternatives for youth
“What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
And when we bring what is within us, out into the world, miracles happen” – Henry David Thoreau
Imagine this scenario
The enemy is about to launch a fierce attack. Holding his rifle, our friend is ready for a combat. However having never used his gun for years, he tells the enemy to hold on for a while as he oils the greases, loads the bullets and prepares to shoot. How would you rate his chances for survival…..?
The situation might sound incredulous but most of us are in a similar predicament. While in youth, as we are fed on a diet of ‘just do it’, ‘I get what I want’, ‘just enjoy’ etc, we grow up chasing an illusory state of happiness and ignoring our real wealth that is within. As life unfolds one challenging chapter after another, the problems appear insurmountable. The youth, having had no training to face them earlier in life accept quick fix measures to escape suffering. These include getting hooked to drugs and alcohol, committing suicide, resorting to murders and becoming rebels. Sixteen-year-old Vijay Sharma kills his mother for paltry Rs 3000, being inspired by the film Vaastav. Thirteen-year-old Prabhakar Nair kills his playmate and dumps his body in the gutter. Desperate to impress their girlfriends, the trio of Girish, Ketan and Sanjay, all aged fifteen kill the neighbor and kidnap their classmate. As this new fearful trend grows, the psychiatrists reveal that the only difference between the western and Indian youth is that the former have easy access to guns while the latter although equally miserable are under equipped to give vent to their frustrations.
What ails the Youth?
A billionaire died leaving a treasure for his young son. Desperate to obtain the fortune, he searched for it all over the world. Sixty years later, unable to trace it, he died miserably. As his family members placed the coffin at the backyard of the house, they had a miraculous discovery. The treasure was lying in his own courtyard. The youth desperately seeking to be independent and happy are ignoring this vital principle. The secret treasure of fulfillment lies within. However through aggressive advertisement they are being brainwashed to acquire material possessions and blindly ape unnatural Western lifestyles. This vain search begins early on in life and soon they are victims. A Rolls Royce beauty gets value when the driver artistically maneuvers it. Similarly this body gets credence only when the activating energy, the ‘soul’ is present. Just like the ‘food’ for the car is different from food of the driver similarly our present aggrandizement of the body cannot nourish the ‘driver’, the soul. This search inward reveals our identity as separate from the body and helps us discover the treasure of real happiness. How to translate this knowledge into realization and actually discover the joy of the soul? How can a young boy/girl face competitive pressures and challenges of life and yet remain happy in all circumstances?. Thus a positive alternative to life style management is the need of hour. The time tested ‘ABC formula’ can help the youth make their real self-blossom and battle all negative factors.
Analyze – The Sword of Knowledge
Two patients are screaming in pain but only one of them is aware of his disease and has started the treatment. The treatment of other is only experimental. Naturally the first patient is better off. Similarly knowledge of our real identity as opposed to ignorance helps us combat uncertainties, tolerate painful experiences and overcome fear to a great extent. Regular and systematic study of spiritual subject matters helps us explore the inner world and provides answers to many haunting doubts. If a software novice attempts to set right the computer by opening up the machine, he will land up creating a bigger mess than before. The problem here is ignorance and the solution is knowledge. Similarly, being unaware of lasting solution to life’s problems we resort to reckless habits. This will only worsen the crisis. The sword of Bhagavad-Gita helped Arjuna dispel his doubts and act on the platform of real self. We too can find solace and direction through Srila Prabhupada’s presentation of the immortal ‘Bhagavad Gita As it is’.
Balancing through discipline
A teenager is naturally averse to rules and discipline because he suspects it impedes his enjoyment. However while working out at the gym, participating in Olympics or training for karate, dance, tennis, etc one voluntarily accepts discipline. Since he is aware of the prospective rewards he happily abstains from certain habits. A spiritual practitioner is a connoisseur of real happiness. He is not the one to be easily satiated by temporary and flickering happiness. Thus he abstains from illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat eating. These regulative principles keep the mind peaceful and assure freedom from worries.
The root cause of dissatisfaction and worry is the uncontrolled mind. A lantern gives light but if the wick is not properly controlled it gives a black soot. Similarly through the power of focus and concentration the mind can illuminate our existence. Unfortunately being unregulated it presently gives out soot like insecurities, fear and anxieties for the youth. Through the practice of spiritual discipline mind becomes resilient in the face of challenges. A natural outcome of this is clarity of thought and speech and strong self confidence.
Connecting to GOD through Chanting
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”. As the world attempts to convince us that we are the bodies and there is no soul or God, we squeeze happiness from temporary things of this world. We fail miserably because as a pure spirit soul, this material world is an unnatural setting for us just as for a fish, water is the most natural setting and land is artificial. The fish cannot be appeased by the temptations of land. The soul too is crying in the wilderness to be connected to GOD, Krishna. Being an infinitesimal part and parcel of Krishna, the soul can be happy only when he reestablishes his loving relationship with Him.
Every religion prescribes the chanting of God’s names as the best means to awaken this dormant love. The chanting of
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
is recommended for this degraded age. As people practice this simple process of chanting, the hankerings and lamentations plaguing millions today is dispelled. The material dust of greed, anger, lust, envy accumulated in the heart for millions of lifetimes gets immediately cleansed. As iron filings, free of dirt get instinctively attracted to the magnet, the living entity now purified and cleansed by the chanting is spontaneously drawn towards Krishna. This love and service then transmits to all of God’s children, and a devotee of Krishna promotes universal brotherhood. Then the youth, armed with knowledge and realization will rise as vibrant spiritual warriors, to vanquish the darkness of sufferings and blossom to be the beacon light for the whole world.
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