“World Happiness Day” is a global observance celebrated annually on March 20th.Yesteday we observed that.
Let Happiness be forever:
The United Nations designated this day to promote happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of people around the world. The idea behind World Happiness Day is to recognize that happiness is a fundamental human goal, and that promoting happiness can help to promote social progress, economic growth, and sustainable development.
Let us look what is Happiness in the perspective of Vedanta?
Joy, Bliss and Happiness are all same. In Sanskrit, we say this as “Ananda”.
According to Vedanta, the goal of Human is ” Attyantika Dukshya Nibritti, Paramananda praptyachya”.
Our aim to increase happiness and well-being among individuals, communities, and societies can be achieved through ONENESS. For that, our activities may include gaining true knowledge, the Awareness along with practice mindfulness exercises, gratitude practices, community service, charity work, and other positive actions that promote happiness and well-being.
Vedanta teaches that the root cause of our suffering is our identification with the body-mind complex and our attachment to external objects and experiences. When we identify with the limited and impermanent aspects of ourselves and seek happiness through external means, we experience only temporary and fleeting pleasure, which is always followed by pain and dissatisfaction.
A small post on the basis of ancient Indian Philosophy.
According to Vedanta, happiness is not something that can be acquired from external sources, but rather it is an inherent aspect of our true nature. In Vedanta, our true nature is referred to as Atman or Brahman, which is the ultimate reality that underlies all existence. Happiness, therefore, is not a state that can be achieved through external means, but rather it is the natural state of being that arises when we realize our true nature.
The Taittiriya Upanishad, the Brahmananda Valli section, describes joy or Ananda as an aspect of Brahman, the ultimate reality.
According to this Upanishad, “Brahman” is not just the cause of the Universe(s), but also the source of infinite joy and bliss. The Brahmananda Valli explains that the experience of joy arises when we are in harmony with the divine essence of Brahman, and that this joy is not limited by time, space or circumstances.
The text describes different levels of joy, including the physical pleasure derived from sensory experiences, the joy of the mind derived from intellectual pursuits, and the ultimate joy of the soul that arises from union with Brahman. It suggests that the joy derived from sensory experiences and intellectual pursuits is fleeting and limited, while the joy of the soul is eternal and limitless.
The Taittiriya Upanishad emphasizes the importance of seeking this ultimate joy by purifying the mind and practicing spiritual disciplines such as meditation, self-inquiry, and devotion to Brahman. It suggests that the ultimate goal of human life is to realize our true nature as divine beings and experience the unbounded joy and bliss that comes with this realization.
Long back I published a post ” What is Joy” in three parts. The links are given below. You may have a look.
The ChAndogya Upanishad is part of ChAndogya Brahmana of the Sama Veda which is one of the largest important Upanishads with Eight Chapters (Prapathakas) with many verses including some stories as themes to gain Upanishadic knowledge. This Upanishad is placed in the 9th position in the list of Ten Principal Upanishads. The name of the Upanishad is derived from the word “Chanda” (Rhythm~ poetic meter).
**This Upanishad directly deals with the true nature of Brahman, the Supreme Self, without a second.
ChAndogya Upanishad consists of Eight chapters. The first five chapters forms the part of Karma Kanda and Upasana Kanda. Chapter- 6, 7 and 8 form the part of Jnana Kanda.
There are 24 sections in Chapter Seven. Here we will discuss on Chapter-7, Section-13 to Section-22 to learn profound knowledge through a dialog between: Narada (the disciple) and Sage Sanatkumar.
The essence of the Teaching is: – The Infinite Bliss ~ “Bhumaiva Sukham”
In this post we will start from Mantra-12.2.2: Is there anything above “Aakaashah”[Space]
Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Space”?
Sanatkumara:” Yes, there is something above”
Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”
After completing section-12, we have reached to the higher level of knowledge which is beyond Space. Now let us think beyond Time. The cause and effect. If creation of Universe is an effect, then there must be some Cause. What is that? Let us try to find it out prom following sections.
Our existence is essential for the existence of Space. Therefore, Consciousness of Self-existence is fundamental for determining factor of the Consciousness of this vast expanse that we call Space. Hence, the word “smara” has to be understood differently. It does not merely mean a kind of memory only. Here, the essence of the section is to teach the aspirant for attaining higher levels. It is to be understood that a person should meditate on the supreme self-Consciousness, which is above Space.
Section-13: ” Smarah”- Memory[2 Verses]
Our Self-Consciousness, the self-Consciousness of every being is above Space, which determines the character of Space.
Mantra-13.1.1: Memory is above Space.
Mantra-13.1.2 The greatness of Memory:
Take away memory from men, they no longer hear, think, or understand. Give back their memory, they hear, they think and understand. Through memory we recognise our children and cattle.
Mantra-13.1.3: Therefore, worship Memory.
Mantra-13.2: Beyond Memory:
Mantra-13.2.1: The Fruit gained by Worshiping Memory.
He, who worships Memory as brahman, attains the receptacles of light, free from sorrow, free from bondage, moves within the limits of Memory, as it may please him, provided he worships Memory as nothing but Brahman.
Mantra-13.2.2: Is there anything above “Smarah”[Memory]
Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Memory”?
Sanatkumara:” Yes, there is something above Memory”
Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”
Section-14: ” Aashaa”- Aspiration [2 Verses]
Mantra-14.1.1: Aspiration is above Memory.
Mantra-14.1.2 The greatness of Aspiration:
Indeed, kindled by aspiration, men recites the sacred words, does this or that, performs rites, desires children and property, longs for life here and thereafter.
Mantra-14.1.3: Therefore, worship Aspiration.
Mantra-14.2: Beyond Aspiration:
Mantra-14.2.1: The Fruit gained by Worshiping Aspiration.
He, who worships aspiration as Brahman, gets all he wants, never goes a blessing in vain, moves within the limits of aspiration, as it may please him, provided he worships aspiration as nothing but Brahman.
Mantra-14.2.2: Is there anything above “Aashaa”[Aspiration]
Narada: ” Sir, Is there anything above Aspiration”?
Sanatkumara:” Yes, there is something above Aspiration”
Narada: ” Sir, then please elaborate.”
Section-15: ” Praanah”- Life Force[4 Verses]
Mantra-15.1.1: Life Force is above Aspiration
Mantra-15.1.2: Life Force-As spokes fastened to wheel.
Prana (Breath)is verily the life of beings and hence it is called the Universal life. It is matter of common knowledge that life becomes possible only so long as the vital energy keeps the different organs of the organism alive. Though this vital life force makes the body animated and actions are performed but this is not the “Real Self”.
Mantra-15.1.3: Praanah~ as Mover, Life, and Giver
Everything is fixed in praanah. Praanah lives by praanah. Praanah gives for praanah. Praanah gives power.
“Praanah” is vital energy and invisible to us. It is like Electric Power ,which gives life to the machines and machines run, animates. Same way this vital energy “Praanah” animates us, the live bodies. It runs the 1st layer the Physical body. This praanah is external to further subtler energy which is Mind. The mind is so subtle and transparent, that mind can reflect consciousness.
Mantra-15.1.4: Praanah~ as Kith and kin
Praanah is the father.
Praanah is the mother.
Praanah is the bother.
Praanah is the sister.
Praanah is the Guru.
Praanah is the Acharya.
Mantra-15.2: Praanah~ Being cruel on living:
If a man speak cruel words to a father, mother, sister, brother, Guru, people say: “Shame upon you for such cruelty. You are indeed a slayer of your father; You are indeed a slayer of your brother; You are indeed a slayer of your sister; You are indeed a slayer of your Guru or Acharya!”
Mantra-15.3: Praanah~ Performing last Rites:
If, life once gone, somebody shoves them ( who are dead among kith and kin) back on to the funeral pyre with a poker, where is the cruelty? Surely no one would blame him: ” You are slayer of your father”; nor ” You are slayer of your brother”; nor ” You are slayer of your sister”; nor ” You are slayer of your Guru or Acharya”.
Mantra-15.4.1: “Ativaadi” the Realized Sage
Praanah, indeed, alone becomes all these. He indeed who sees thus (Sravana), reflects thus (Manana), and realizes thus (Nididhyasana) becomes an ” Ativaadi” the Realized Sage.
Mantra-15.4.2: “Ativaadi” The title becomes a complement:
If someone were to say to you: ” You are an Ativaadi, ” You should say, “yes, I am an Ativaadi” You should not deny it, It is a complement.
There are certainly some steps which are to be followed to become “Ativaadi”. The steps are to be considered as essential requirement (sadhana) to attend permanent happiness. The steps are listed below:
We will learn about the steps from the following sections:
Section-16: ” Satyam”- Truth[1 Verse]
Mantra-16.1: Who is an ativaadin?
Sanatkumara:” But he really is an ativaadin who speaks with Truth about the Truth “
Narada: ” Revered Sir, if that is so, I would speak with Truth about the Truth”
Sanatkumara:”But first, one must desire to understand the Truth”.
Narada: ” Revered Sir, I do desire to understand the Truth”.
**This earnest desire to know the Truth is called “Jijnaasa” [enquiry]
Section-17:”Vijnaanah”- Realisation [1 Verse]
Mantra-17.1: Who is a Realised One?
Sanatkumara:” Only when one is Realised, then one can declare the Truth”. Without realising, no one can declare Truth. But one must desire to understand what Realisation is!
Narada: ” Revered Sir, I do desire to understand Realisation”.
Section-18:”Matih”- Reflection [1 Verse]
Mantra-18.1: Who is qualified to Reflect?
Sanatkumara:” Only when one Reflects, then does one Realise”. No, without reflecting, one can not Realise. Only he who reflects, Realises. But one must desire to understand what Reflection is!
Narada: ” Revered Sir, I do desire to understand Reflection”.
Section-19:”Shraddha”- Faith [1 Verse]
Mantra-19.1: Who is full of Faith?
Sanatkumara:” Only when one becomes full of Faith, then can one reflect. Without Faith, no one can reflect. He who has Faith only reflects. But one must desire to understand what Faith is!
Narada: ” Revered Sir, I do desire to understand Faith”.
Sanatkumara:” Only when one becomes full of steadfastness (devotion), then can one be full of faith. Without Steadfastness, no one can have faith. He who has steadfastness can only have faith. But one must desire to understand what Steadfastness is!
Narada: ” Revered Sir, I do desire to understand Steadfastness”.
Section-21:”Kritih”- Activity:[1 Verse]
Mantra-21.1: Who is truly Active?
Sanatkumara:” Only when one is given to Action, then can one be full of Steadfastness. No, without action, one can not have steadfastness. He who acts can be steadfast. But one must desire to understand what Activity is!
Narada: ” Revered Sir, I do desire to understand Activity”.
Section-22:”Sukham”- Happiness:[1 Verse]
Mantra-22.1: Who is truly Happy?
Sanatkumara:” Only when one expects to obtain Happiness, then does one Act. Without expecting Happiness, one does not Act. Only to obtain Happiness does one Act. But one must desire to understand what Happiness is!
Narada: ” Revered Sir, I do desire to understand Happiness”.
Section-16 to Section-22 primarily teaches about three stages which are very essential for progressing in the path of acquiring Happiness. Three stages are as below:
1.Sravana : Knowing the Truth: Listening to the teachings of the sages on Vedanta. Now instead of Sravana, we can use the word Study of Vedanta, because Sravana was the practice during early Vedic period as no method of writing existed.
2.Manana :Reflection is necessary:This stage is the reflection on the teachings. This means thinking about what has been heard and subjecting that into a reason based on experience gained.
3.Nididhyasana : “Faith and Steadfastness”: Stageof meditation on the Truth. It is the culmination of the practice of Sravana and Manana. We may see what BRRihadAraNyaka Upanishad says on Nididhyasana. ” The Self , my dear Maitreyi, should be realized-should be heard of , reflected on and meditated upon; by the realization of the self, my dear”.
Sravana, Manana, Nididhyasana leads us to intuition (aparoksha Anubhuti). In this way, “Brahma Kara Vritti “ is generated from “Sattvic anta Karana”. This “Brahma Kara Vritti” destroys the Mula-Avidya or primitive ignorance which is the root cause of all bondage, births, and deaths. When this ignorance or veil is removed, Brahman which is Self effulgent reveals itself in its pristine glory and splendour.
The thirst for happiness is universal. It is the driving force behind all aspirations of human being.
Now, the question is: Where lies the happiness?
By mere empirical analysis it is difficult to find out where happiness lies, because no scientific analysis of mind can pinpoint the object of happiness. Whether it is outside or it is inside. It is neither in mind nor in any object of sense.
The answer to this question is given by the great Master Sanatkumara. Happiness neither lies in mind nor in any object, because if it is considered to be a property of mind, then it becomes finite. Same thing applies if we consider happiness as a part of object, since objects are also finite. Happiness cannot be regarded as finite because we are not satisfied with limited happiness. We are not happy with finite pleasure of this world.
In the next section: Section -23, we will learn what the Sage sanatkumara is teaching about happiness. Sanatkumara says to Narada: “Happiness is not anywhere and yet, it is everywhere. It is in a completeness of Being that you can find happiness”.
Final part of 7th Chapter “The Infinite Bliss” will be published very soon !!!
Back to the Truth: 5000 years of ADVAITA by Dennis Waite. **
THE TEN PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS: Translated by Shree Purohit** Swami and W.B.Yeats
Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sankaracharya: Translated by Swami Gambhirananda.**
Commentary of ChAndogya Upanishad: By Swami Krishnananda.
ChAndogya Upanishad:By Swami GuruBhaktananda.
EIGHT UPANISADS -VOL-1 with commentary of Sankaracharya, Translated by SWAMI GAMBHIRANANDA.
THE TAITTIRIYA UPANISHAD: SHIKSHAVALLI-ANANDAVALLI-BHRIGUVALLI with Sri Shankara’s Commentary By Sri Swami Satchidanandera Saraswati.
A-U-M Awakening to Reality: By Dennis Waite***
Panchadasi: Swami Vidyaranya:
Information available on internet.
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