Spirituality & Happiness

Spirituality & Happiness

Lord Buddha says happiness depends on what we think and not on what we have. Aristotle says whether we are happy or sad depends upon ourselves. Swami Vivekananda says dependence is misery; independence is happiness. So, we must learn to be happy in ourselves.



Happiness & Misery Entwined Together

Happiness Springs from External Cause

What we see in life is that the experiences of happiness are followed quickly by experiences of misery if we let our happiness depend on external causes. Such happiness is a chain that binds us, a bondage.  So, the great mystics and philosophers say that we must be happy in ourselves, without any cause coming from outside to make us happy.

But how can we be happy in ourselves? This is a question of momentous spiritual importance.


Nature of Happiness Changes as Soul Ascends

Ascending Planes of Happiness

Animals are happy in the body, in the pleasure of the senses. And so are the human beings who belong to the lowest strata of humanity as they live more or less like animals, trapped in sense-snares, depending on the external stimuli to be happy.

But as humans rise in the scale of mental evolution, the character of happiness changes. They then begin to seek another plane of happiness, a higher plane of happiness in mind, in intellect: discerning and discriminating. The more they are developed mentally the less they are happy in the body.

And the God-seeker, who rises above the mental man with his vision opening inwards, finds happiness in his Self that is far above the physical/vital/mental self. Finding his Self, he lives contended in himself- living fully in the Self, quite indifferent to the happiness and miseries that come by turns in life.

Finally, there comes the god-realized mystic. He lives in a higher plane than the peacefully happy plane of the Self. This is the plane of spiritual ecstasy: the intense joy, delight, Ananda that springs from the oneness with God, oneness with all-the absolute Bliss of the Soul.


Beyond Gunas Lies Spiritual Ecstasy

Tamasic, Rajasic, Sattvic Happiness

Indian philosophy/psychology has classified happiness according to the predominant guna or attribute/tendency of our nature. There are three gunastamas, rajas and sattva. Either of these three is predominant in our nature. Tamas signifies pure materiality, dullness, inertia. Rajas means motion, energy, dynamism. And sattva denotes peace, calm, contentment coming from enlightenment. We will now see how happiness varies from one guna to another.

Those who are dominated by tamas are happy in idleness and stupor. They feel no urge to rise up, move and face life with courage, to change life, to leave their individual stamps on the face of life. They love to wallow in the physical pleasures of eating and sleeping almost like animals.

Those in whose nature rajas is predominant seek to snatch happiness through fight and struggle. They are dynamic, though imprisoned in desire self. They are ready to go to any length to gratify their desires, dreams, ambitions, undaunted by challenges, adversities, misfortunes.

Now let us come to those whose nature is sattvic.  They are enlightened beings. They have realized that pleasure-hunting with assertive ego in the lead is futile exercises. Instead, they seek the higher mind where they can live in a state of fullness, unperturbable peace, happy within. They are virtuous; they are mild; they love peace.

But sattva, though the highest of the gunas, is not the end of things, the final fulfillment, the completion of evolution, according to Indian Philosophy. A stage comes when the sattvic man seeks to transcend his sattvic nature, wanting something that far exceeds the happiness enjoyed in virtuous life. They seek the Divine Ananda, the vibrant ecstasy of oneness with all beings in the oneness with the Divine.


Delight of Existence the Secret of Creation

Joy of Living

Joy of living! Yes, this is what we have been pursuing mostly unconsciously. We seek happiness, joy every moment of our life because this joy is the drive of all existences, behind all motions in the universe.

Upanishad explains this beautifully.  Ananda or delight is the secret from which all things are born, by which all is sustained in existence and to which all can rise. We live because of this joy of living. Even the infirm, the old, the crippled, the devastated love to live.

All joys of life reflect the Joy of Existence. Even a tiny speck of joy we experience owes its origin to this underlying Delight of Existence. Even the vilest joy enjoyed by animals or animal-like men comes from the same universal Delight of Existence.  But it is veiled, obscured, messed up by the muddy passions, sense-desires and impulses of ego-driven life.


Pleasure & Pain

Now, the vital question is: why there is so much pain in life when life is meant to manifest the absolute Joy of Existence?

If we study our nature from the deep, it will be clear to us that pain is there in life because our secret self loves it: the ordeals, the sufferings, the challenges and the fierce experiences of life mixed with pleasures and pains. Without these, life is no fun; it is stale and dull. Pleasure is incomplete without its opposite-pain. So, pain is a disguised pleasure. They make the whole of life- the exciting life, the dramatic life changing now and then.

Pain and sorrow are immensely useful, spiritually. These force us to realize that the sense-pleasures, the ephemeral happiness are deceptive, keeping us away from the Spiritual Delight that is constant, unvarying, ecstatic. These prevent us from wallowing in the vaporous pleasures and goad us into diving deep into ourselves to find the fount from where comes the true delight-the Spiritual Delight – always calm though intensely vibrant, unconditioned by the vicissitudes of life.


Final Destination of Evolving Souls

Consciousness & Happiness

So, it is now clear that the happiness we enjoy in body, life and mind is not the ultimate happiness we can experience in life. There is a far greater happiness for us to enjoy if we are aroused in our Consciousness, Consciousness being released with the deep veils of our egoistic desire self torn asunder.

When we live awake in our Consciousness pain, grief, suffering disappear and we would be living in the Ecstasy the Upanishad defines as the ultimate stage of existence, the secret of all creations, the final destination of the evolving human souls.


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    Maya is life limited by form and name,

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