Chapter 5.4 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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5.4 JOY - BLISS

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"Happy are those who have purified themselves and remember the name of their Lord and pray."      Mohammed

"Joy it is to be virtuous until one's decay;
Joy it is to have faith so well and good within;
Joy it is to gain wisdom and joy it is to refrain from sin." 
    Buddha

"Incomparable is the joy that man finds in this world of a thousand wonders when he lives in communication with Nature."    Zarathushtra


FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

JOY AND BLISS ARE MY FOOD

The beaming joy on the faces of this vast multitude is the food that I live upon; I am refreshed when you are happy and content. My thirst is quenched by the joy which lights up your eyes. Your bliss (ananda) is My food (ahara) . I do not feel like talking to you at all, for I desire only to communicate to you My joy and to get into communion with your joy. This mutual fulfilment is the essential thing; talking and listening are subsidiary. Moreover, this visit was thought of just while we were starting from Kakinada and you have all gathered at this late hour of night; so, I am not quite pleased at this hurried affair. I shall certainly come again and be with you longer and confer on you more joy. (260365)

OUR TRUE NATURE IS BLISS

Man searches in the world outside but fails to find his true self therein, just as a person who looks for some article in a room is unable to see himself. Seek within, realise the Self which resides there, and then experience the Bliss of God.

Bliss or ananda is a divine characteristic. That is why it is said, "happiness is union with God". Your true nature is bliss. Know this and be cheerful always. The mind that is morose harbours nothing but malice and jealousy. Divinity cannot reside in such unholy minds. Cheerfulness is the first sign of spirituality. Therefore, strive to be happy always. Live in contentment and with cheer, and thereby qualify yourself for the experience of Divinity which is bliss supreme. (SSB 79,167)

Generally, man seeks only happiness and joy; under no stress will he desire misery and grief! He treats happiness and joy as his closest well-wishers and misery and grief as his direct enemies. This is a great mistake. When one is happy, the risk of grief is great; fear of losing the happiness will haunt the man. Misery prompts inquiry, discrimination, self-examination and fear of worse things that might happen. It awakens you from sloth and conceit. Happiness makes one forget one's obligations to oneself as a human being. It drags man into egoism and the sins that egoism leads one to commit. Grief renders man alert and watchful.

"So misery is a real friend; happiness spends out the stock of merit and arouses the baser passions. So it is really an enemy. Really, misery is an eye-opener; it promotes thought and the task of self-improvement. It also endows one with new and valuable experiences. Happiness draws a veil over experiences that harden a person and make him tough. So, troubles and travails are to be treated as friends; at least, not as enemies. Only, it is best to regard both happiness and misery as gifts of God. That is the easiest path for one's own liberation.

"Not to know this is the basic ignorance. A person so ignorant is blind; really, happiness and misery are like the blind man who must be accompanied ever by one who sees. When the blind man is welcomed, you have inevitably to welcome the man with eyes, for he is the constant comrade of the blind man. So too, happiness and misery are inseparable; you cannot choose only one. Moreover, misery highlights the value of happiness. You feel happy, by contrast with misery." Thus said Krishna to Arjuna, to teach him the insignificance of all duality.

Then Arjuna resumed: "Lord of the Universe! What is the profit if your advice is followed and if the necessary equanimity is cultivated. Forbearance is perhaps the only result. There is no benefit, isn't it?" Krishna replied "O Sun of Kunthi! The hero is the steady person who is not agitated to the slightest extent by ups and downs caused by roaring waves on the sea of life; who does not lose the poise which has become part of his nature; who keeps to his schedule of spiritual discipline whatever the attraction or distraction. The wise man is he, who is unaffected by the ever present dualism of the objective world. He is the person referred to as "Dheera".

'Dhee' means 'buddhi' or intellect; it is the quality that makes a person a perfect man. It is not the dress or the moustache that marks out the 'man'. Manhood comes with the rejection of the dual. To deserve the status, he ought to earn victory over internal foes, rather than the external. His exploit is to conquer the twin foes of joy and grief.

"Well, you might have another doubt also. (Your heart is a nest of doubts!). You might still question, what is the gain of victory? The gain is immortality, let Me assure you. Things of the world cannot confer that state of bliss. All that they can give is relative, not absolute bliss. When you rise above joy and grief, bliss is absolute, independent, full. Arjuna! You are Man among men. So, you have no need of this paltry victory over world enemies. you deserve the bliss of immortality." Thus saying, Krishna began telling him of the science of Atma and Anatma, the discipline by which one can discriminate between the two. (Geetha V 30)




JOY & SELF-REALISATION ARE WITHIN YOU

Thus, destructibility or impermanence is an inherent characteristic of the material world. So also, worldly objects and relations bring about sorrow along with joy. The same object may be the source of joy as well as the cause of sorrow. The shadow of sorrow haunts the experience of joy. One may feel happy when he receives the news of the birth of a son, but feels miserable when he receives the news of the death of the same son.

Krishna said to Arjuna, "the joy which you seek and the self-realisation which you aim at, are both within you. They cannot be found in the external world. You are as foolish as a person who begs for food on the street even though there are sweets and other delicate dishes in his own home. You think that this world and its objects confer happiness on you. This is an illusion created by your mind. It is only when you follow the intelligence that you will be able to enjoy real peace and joy."

Real happiness lies within you. A small illustration. Putting its thumb in the mouth and sucking it, the baby imagines that something sweet is flowing from the thumb although, in reality, the sweetness comes from the saliva in its mouth. Let us take another case. A street-dog snatches an old, dry bone but finds it very hard to break. Out of its anxiety and hunger, the dog goes on biting the bone with all its strength. Suddenly, the bone breaks and a piece of it pierces the dog's gum. As a result, blood begins to flow in the dog's mouth. The foolish dog keeps biting the bone and thinks that it is enjoying the blood flowing from the bone, while actually it is getting the blood from its own gum and not from the bone.

We eat different sweets made of different kinds of flour. Sweetness, however, comes from the sugar and not from the flour. Yet we say that the laddu or the Mysore pak is sweet. In the same manner, although the sweet Beatitude of the Atma is within us, we erroneously attribute the sweetness to the fleeting objects found in the world. Man (Nara) must pursue the path that takes him to God (Narayana). We must aim at becoming Lord Shiva (Pashupati) but should not revert to the life of an animal (pashu). One who follows his intelligence can become Divine (Pashupati), while one who follows his mind becomes an animal (pashu). It is natural for the mind to prompt and provoke but we must not translate them into action hastily. We should discriminate with our intelligence and implement its dictates. (SSB 79,76)



PERMANENT HAPINESS

No. I do not condemn worldly happiness. I feel glad when people are happy. But, please do not believe that this happiness is permanent. I want that you should study all the arts and sciences for acquiring worldly happiness. But, I want all to remember that this happiness is not everlasting.

Permanent happiness can be secured only through one knowledge, the Upanishad Vidya (knowledge of the innate Truth). That is the science of God-realisation, that is the teaching of the sages. That alone can save man and grant him peace. There is nothing higher than that; this is an indisputable fact. Whatever your joy and sorrow, whatever the subject you have specialised in for a living, have your eyes riveted on Brahma Vidya (knowledge of Truth). If intelligence alone is sharpened, without the growth and practice of virtues, and if mere information is stored in the brain, the world cannot progress and its welfare will be in jeopardy. (Prema V 26)



HAPPINESS IS MAN'S TRUE NATURE

Now for the third: Bliss. Even beasts and birds crave for joy without any prompting or persuasion from others. They make every effort to win it. Not one of them craves for grief or pain; they make every effort to escape from pain and grief and put an end to them, when they become unavoidable.

As for man, no further elaboration is necessary. He seeks unbroken joy at all times and in all acts and activities. At no time, at no place, at no stage of life, does he desire grief. He prays for the joy and happiness of himself and his kindred through whatever worship he offers, or whatever devotional singing he shares in, or whatever vows he fulfils or rites he performs, or pilgrimages he undertakes or gifts he makes for spiritual merit. Why? When the body suffers from any illness and the doctor prescribes a medicine to cure it and make him whole, man wants even that to be sweet, soothing and pleasant!

What is at the root of this desire? Man is fundamentally happy-natured. Bliss is his very personality. He is not of the nature of the body he occupies. He is the Atma. Happiness is the nature of the Atma. That is why no one is surprised when you are happy; they are not inquisitive about your happiness, for it is something natural to you. Surprise arises only when you observe something that was not there before. What you see every day does not arouse your curiosity. It comes only when something unnatural happens or is observed.

Take this instance. A child is in the cradle. It playfully laughs at either the jingling of bells or some toy or perhaps some sensation which is pleasant enough to make it bloom; no one is surprised or worried at all this. No one loses his peace of mind as a result of this. Now, let the child that was playing and laughing, start shrieking and weeping - every one within earshot will run towards the cradle and frantically search the bed and bedclothes to discover the causes of all this commotion. This is the experience of all who have something to do with children. No one was worried to find out the reason why the child was happy; but all sought for the cause when it wept. Why? Because bliss or joy is its nature; grief is unnatural, against its inner composition.

This is not the entire point; there is something more. Let us take another example from experience. When some friend or kinsman of yours is happy and affluent, no one takes the trouble to inquire from him why he is so happy; they ignore him and do not harry him with questions regarding himself. But when grief strikes him and he is unhappy, you start worrying him and yourselves. Why? Happiness is natural, it is to be expected, it is nothing surprising. For it is the nature of the Atma, which every one is. That is why one is craving for constant happiness, bliss.

The above three, Being, Awareness, Bliss (sath, chit, ananda), we see in every being as the very core of its very existence, as its reality itself. So it is the Lord Himself who has assumed the individual soul pose and plays as an individual, in that role. It is this inner meaning that Krishna elaborated upon, so that the relationship of the Universal Absolute and the individual "I", that is to say, the identity of both with him, could be understood by Arjuna. (Geetha V 132)


DESIRES

It is said that all that is visible to our eyes does not exist in truth and will disappear in due course. That which is bound to disappear cannot give us happiness. When we acquire the worldly things, we get momentary happiness and when we are separated from them, we also get sorrow. When money and wealth come to us, we feel happy; but when they go from us, we feel unhappy. All these things are such that they bring us happiness when they come, but bring us sorrow when they go. By association, we get happiness and by dissociation, we get sorrow. We should attempt to seek only the divine aspect of love because it has neither association nor dissociation. This kind of divine love has no reason. This is the natural form of Divinity in man. This is indeed man's real wealth. One is very fortunate to get a human birth but because we are filling such a human life with various material desires, we are filling our life with sorrow. If we have no desires, we cannot get sorrow at all and there can be no one more happy tan one who has no desires. All this sorrow is our own creation. Worry has no form at all. It is simply your own creation. The form of worry is nothing. Our own desires are responsible for our sorrow. You should keep illusory troubles at a distance and lead a happy life. (SSB 78,77)

Joy and peace do not inhere in external objects; they are in you yourself. But people in their foolishness search for these outside themselves in a world from which, today or tomorrow, they are bound to depart. Therefore, awake soon. Try to know the essence of everything, the eternal truth. Try to experience the love which is the Universal Soul itself. Discriminate at every turn, accepting what is true and discarding the rest. So long as one has worldly desires in view, he cannot escape sorrow. (Prema V 22)



SOURCE OF HAPINESS IS WITHIN US

When the mind is controlling the senses, you have lasting joy; when the senses are masters, you are dragged in the dust. This is the most tragic result of devaluation. Every act which lowers the authority of discrimination and honours the siren-call of the senses devalues man. Intelligence must be the lord, the master. Whenever the senses demand anything, intelligence must start discriminating, asking the question, "Is this an act in keeping with the Divinity immanent in me?" That will prevent devaluation.

To accept that man is related to the apes or that he is an animal made of mud or matter is to devalue him. Man or manava, as he is called in Sanskrit, is a spark of Madhava or God. He can blossom into God. He is born to be perpetually happy, but is everywhere in misery. This is a tragedy; it is like the washerman who died of thirst though he was standing knee-deep in the running stream; or like the man who closed his eyes and stumbled along in the darkness. The source of happiness is in him; the source of light is in his eyes. Real education has to teach man how to tap this spring of joy and light. If this task is not undertaken by schools and colleges, it should be performed by parents and elders and all who are keen to prevent this devaluation. (181266)

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