WHERE HAPPINESS COME FROM?
extract from the book 'Vivekachudamani'
The scriptures declare that all that is subject to change cannot be ultimately real and bring abiding happiness. A careful analysis of our experience regarding the objects of our desire shows that nothing that is created is permanent or stable. Everything we desire—name, fame, wealth, and success--are subject to change and consequently, sooner or later, brings misery and grief in its wake. Thus our experience tells us that hankering after what is transitory and unstable cannot bring us lasting happiness. The more we discriminate thusly the more we realize that the true abiding joy cannot be found in transient sense objects. So, we should stop running after false goods. The practice of discrimination between the real and the unreal frees us from the bondage of ignorance and delusion and thereby spares us from much existential agony.
Further analysis of our experience with getting the objects of our desires reveals that even when we seem to obtain happiness externally through the fulfillment of our desires, the real happiness actually comes from within us.
Sri Krishna Menon (aka Sri Atmanada, 1973, pp. 1-2) explains this fact as follows:
|Sri Krishna Menon|
Why you seek happiness? Because the urge comes from the deepest level, your real Nature. But because your sense-organs are having outward-going tendencies, you seek that happiness in the outside world. You desire an object, you obtain it, and you get the happiness that you seek. But you have never examined where that happiness comes from. If you will allow your mind to examine it in the right manner, I am sure you will find that that happiness which you suppose you derive from sense-objects is not derived from sense objects but is your real nature.
I will prove to you how it is so: If happiness were intrinsic in sense object, it must always be giving you happiness, from babyhood up till death. But that is not your experience….The object which gave you happiness in the childhood and when you were a young man, ceases to give you happiness when you grow old. Something else takes its place. Thus you find that happiness is not intrinsic in the sense-objects….Likewise, if happiness were in the mind, it must be possible for you to enjoy that happiness without the help of sense-objects, but you do not get it that way. And therefore it is not residing in the mind either.
Even when we are able to satisfy our desires, the repose we get is due to the fact that it puts us in touch with our inner calm. Real Happiness is our natural state--that is why whenever we are in pain or distress, we want to get out of the pain or stress as quickly as possible and get back to our natural state of peace and comfort. Whereas when we are happy and peaceful, we do not want that state to ever end. Another proof that happiness is innate to us or lies within us is the fact that during deep sleep—devoid of the awareness of our body, mind, senses, and external possessions—we feel deeply peaceful and happy.
Thus, happiness that we seek from outside is our real nature, something intrinsic to our very being. Sri Atmanada (1973) goes on to explain it, thusly:
When you desire an object your mind is restless and continues to be restless until you get the desired object. When the desired object is got, mind comes to rest for the time being and you get happiness. Well, that happiness, as I have already told you, is your real Nature. It shines—or, at any rate, it is shinning always, but it is taken note of—only when the mind comes to rest. Therefore it is your real nature that shines when you get a desired object. (p. 3)