What are the means of obtaining bliss?

Contents


1. Definitions of Bliss

  • A. Bliss is the favourable experience experienced by the embodied soul undertaking spiritual practice (jivatma), the God realised soul (Shivatma) or the soul in the state of union with The Supreme God (Shivadasha), when the functions of the five senses, mind and intellect have ceased.
  • B. यास्‍मिन्‌ स्‍थितो न दु:खेन गुरुणापि अविचाल्‍यते ।

    Meaning: When the mind does not get disturbed even by intense sorrow and remains Blissful is itself the Bliss of Self-realisation (Atmanand).

  • C. सुखं आत्‍यंतिकं यत्‌ तत्‌ बुद्धिग्राह्यं अतींद्रियं
         यं लब्‍ध्‍वा चापरं लाभं मन्‍यते नाधिकं तत: ।

    Meaning: After acquisition of that happiness which does not arise from the organs and which the pure intellect can realise to some extent, one does not desire to obtain any other type of happiness. This itself is known as the Bliss of Self-realisation (Atmanand).

2. Synonyms of Bliss

Spiritual Bliss, spiritual happiness, eternal happiness.

3. Confusion due to the usage of the words happiness and Bliss with various connotations

Refer point ‘Confusion due to the usage of the words happiness and Bliss with various connotations’.

4. Differences between happiness and Bliss

Refer point ‘Differences between happiness and Bliss’.

5. Bliss in relation to happiness and unhappiness

Refer point ‘Bliss in relation to happiness and unhappiness’.

6. Bliss and Serenity (Shanti)

Even Absolute Truth (Sat), Absolute Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (Anand) is not the real nature of Brahman as it is a spiritual emotion which has some attitude. Brahman means that devoid of an attitude (nivrutti), that is Serenity. In the nirvikalpa superconscious state (samadhi) one experiences Serenity. To simplify it, Brahman is a state of Bliss and Parabrahman that of Serenity. A quote from the Upanishads says ‘शांतं उपासितम्‌’ which means that in the state of union with The Supreme God one experiences Serenity whereas in the state of the God realised soul (Shivatmadasha), one experiences Bliss.

7. Types of Bliss, the amount of Serenity and the corresponding spiritual energy (kundalini) centre (chakra)

Type of Bliss Amount of
Serenity %
Spiritual energy
centre (chakra)*
1. Bliss (Anand) 10 No. 6: Adnyachakra
2. Parmanand 30 No. 7: Mahodadhichakra,
shrungachakra alias
dhvajanubandhchakra
3. Brahmanand 70 No. 8: Rutambharachakra
4. Serenity [The final
    Liberation (Moksha)]
100 No. 9: Sahasrarchakra

* Refer ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 38 – Path of Activation of Spiritual Energy (Kundaliniyoga)’.

8. Theoretical discussion on Bliss

Refer point ‘Theoretical discussion on happiness and unhappiness’.

9. Why does one feel like experiencing Bliss?

‘A vast multitude of Bliss is stored within one,
Waves of Bliss arise in the river of Bliss,
Blissful is the nature of Bliss.’

This is a quote by Tukaram Maharaj. Bliss is the basic nature, the very core of the embodied soul and the universe. Hence the embodied soul has an inherent tendency to return to its basic nature, that is to experience Bliss and on attaining it, tries to sustain it. (Refer point ‘Why is man interested in Spirituality ?’.)

10. Although the nature of the embodied soul is Blissful why does it not experience Bliss ?

यश्‍च मूढतमो लोके यश्‍च बुद्धे: परं गत: ।
तावुभौ सुखमेधेते क्‍लिशत्‍यन्‍तरितो जन: ।  –  भागवत ७-३

Meaning: In this world, only two types of people are happy – 1. Those who are totally ignorant and 2. Those who have transcended the intellect. The remainder in the intervening category experience unhappiness to a large extent. – Bhagvat 7-3

Refer point ‘According to the Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga)’.

11. Why does the embodied soul not feel bored of Bliss?

Because Bliss is its basic nature. This is akin to sweetness which is the quality of sugar.

12. Seven regions (loks) and Bliss

The Bliss experienced in one region (lok) is ten million times that experienced in the other. For instance, the Bliss in the nether world (bhuvalok) is ten million times that on the earth. For more information refer point ‘The seven regions (saptaloks) and happiness ’.

13. How to attain Bliss?

Bliss is already within oneself. One should not expect someone else to give it to one. ‘If one realises the eternal value of life then one will be able to obtain Bliss from impermanent things. However without understanding the permanent, no matter how hard one tries to obtain happiness or Serenity from the impermanent, it proves futile.’(1) ‘There is no permanent happiness in objects which are changing or have a limitation. That which is infinite and eternal is the true site of origin of happiness. It bestows everlasting Bliss and releases one from the bondage of unhappiness forever.’(?) The ways of realising the absolute value of life are as follows.

13.1 Observing Righteousness (Dharma)

सुखार्था: सर्वभूतानां मता: सर्वा: प्रवृत्तय: ।
सुखं न विना धर्मात्‌ तस्‍मात्‌ धर्मपरो भवेत्‌ ।
                                  – वाग्‍भटकृत अष्‍टांगहृदय, सूत्रस्‍थान २:१९

Meaning: The tendency of all living beings is to attain happiness (in this context the word happiness is used synonymously with Bliss), but they cannot expect to get it without following the ethics of Righteousness. Hence they should be observed. The righteous individual whether knowledgeable or ignorant, will definitely experience happiness. Ashtanghruday by Vagbhat, Sutrasthan 2:19

13.2 Spiritual practice

spiritual practice

Only when the impressions of desires and instincts, likes and dislikes, temperamental characteristics, etc. are wiped off from the subconscious mind, that is only when nescience is destroyed can one experience the Bliss lying dormant within oneself. This method of destroying impressions and nescience is called spiritual practice.

Repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name, attending spiritual meetings or remaining in satsang (holy company) of seekers or saints, service of the Absolute Truth (satseva), sacrifice and spiritual love (priti) for all are the main aspects of spiritual practice. Spiritual practice wipes off the impressions in the subconscious mind. Apart from this, the accumulated account of destiny decreases and the ability to withstand suffering due to destiny increases. Besides, by doing spiritual practice the sattvik (sattva predominant) nature is enhanced. As a result decisions made are more appropriate and errors in wilful actions are avoided.

Detailed information on spiritual practice is elucidated in ‘Science of Spirituality: Vol. 21 – Introduction to Spirituality and Individual Spiritual Practice’.

13.3 Company of saints

A. The Bliss that an ordinary man experiences in the company of a woman, is constantly experienced by the one who is liberated from the cycle of birth and death; hence he does not harbour any sexual desire. – Saint Eknath Maharaj

‘The less desires a person has the more enjoyable is his company. Inspite of the desires being present in a subtle form in children they are very lovable. Then why should one consider it impossible for one whose desires have totally been destroyed by The Lord’s grace to impart Bliss to others when in His company ?’ (2) Saints emit frequencies of Bliss. Every seeker experiences them once he is able to perceive the subtle dimension beyond the five senses, mind and intellect.

B. In the company of an evildoer an individual begins to consider unhappiness, for instance stealing, drinking alcohol, etc. as happiness. In the company of a saint however happiness appears like unhappiness. Actually this is detachment (vairagya). Saints destroy the very desire for happiness. Similarly in the company of a saint, due to the acquisition of strength to endure unhappiness even that appears like happiness. Hence no unhappiness is felt, only Bliss is experienced in Their company.

C. Just as cancer cells are destroyed with certain radiations, so also dissolution of the mind and intellect occurs after exposure to frequencies of Bliss from a saint when in His company for a long time. In other words, the subtle and causal bodies and nescience are destroyed, and the individual experiences inner Bliss.

13.4 Sacrifice of happiness

One can acquire Bliss only by sacrificing happiness. Sacrificing all pleasures rather than indulging in them is of greater significance (प्रापणात्‌ सर्व भोगानांम्‌ परित्‍यागो विशिष्‍यते ।)

13.5 Avoiding loss of energy

That pure energy which is utilised in wishing for happiness, is itself Blissful in nature. Once this is realised, desires will not be generated at all.

13.6 Becoming loving

Our culture (sanskruti) teaches that an individual’s happiness and unhappiness depends on his actions (karma). All can never get the same amount of happiness. Although happiness and unhappiness are dependent on action, love is independent of it. Hence, one can express sympathy towards one who is suffering.This augments the individual psychological strength and he is able to tolerate the suffering. This itself is the special feature of our religion. Due to such a loving tendency, man’s attitude becomes sattvik (sattva predominant) and he learns to make greater sacrifices. Thus his requirements go on reducing and gradually he is able to attain Self-realisation.

13.7 Destroying ego

‘Righteousness (Dharma) proclaims that once one blends with the God principle (Brahman), one experiences eternal happiness. If this is true then from an individual’s viewpoint attaining the Final Liberation (Moksha), that is blending of the soul with the God principle itself is the supreme goal. One should certainly leave this body but should also destroy the awareness of ‘I’ness. Righteousness states that even thereafter one will experience happiness. If the one experiencing the happiness himself does not exist then he will acquire happiness, such is this strange concept (reality).’ (3) [When ‘I’ness ends only the God principle exists and as It’s nature is Absolute Truth (Sat), Absolute Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (Anand), one gets the spiritual experience of Bliss. At that time there is non-duality between the one experiencing it and the experience itself.]

13.8 Society experiencing happiness and Bliss if the Brahmans (priests) are righteous

‘The world’s happiness depends on the Brahmans being righteous and unhappiness lies in their unrighteousness. The foremost Adya Shankaracharya in the commentary on the Bhagvadgita has said, ‘ब्राह्मणस्‍यहि रक्षणेन रक्षितो वेदधर्म: ।’ which means that only if the Brahmans observe the code of Righteousness of a Brahman meticulously, then the code of Righteousness prescribed by the Vedas is protected. When none behaves unrighteously there is a lot of love among all the classes (varnas) and castes and consequently the world becomes happy. Thus, the happiness and unhappiness of the world certainly depend on the Brahmans alone’. – Saint

Reference:

1. Shri Shankar Maharaj Adbhut Charitra Va Alaukik Upadesh. First edition 1985, pg. 129. Anand Sane. Anjali Publishing House, Pune 411030.

Shri Brahmachaitanya Gondavlekar Maharaj Yanchya Hrudya Athvani. First edition 1979, pg. 85. Compiler: L.G. Marathe. Yashvant Publications, Pune 411030.
2. Pg. 85

Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10
3. Vol. 10, pg. 62.

 

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Why does one feel happy after seeing a vast ocean or the sky?

Contents


1. Theoretical discussion on happiness and unhappiness

1.1 Expectation of happiness and not of object pleasure

Man does not have expectations of getting object pleasure but of happiness or rather of Bliss. Supposing one is told that his trip abroad will be sponsored with enough money to enjoy worldly pleasures but that he will have to endure unhappiness, he will reply, ‘I want neither worldly pleasures nor unhappiness’.

1.2 Happiness derived from objects itself is Bliss

The peak of worldly happiness is sex. Hence it is called the ‘seat of Bliss’ in the Ayurveda (Sushrut Sanhita). Sex in this context refers to ejaculation. At that moment total activation of spiritual energy (kundalini) occurs. The ignorant person experiences happiness from object pleasure. The mechanism of object pleasure is as follows – Due to the firm conviction that happiness lies in objects, at least momentarily the pran and apan vital energies attain equilibrium, the individual loses awareness of his body and his inner Bliss manifests itself. Since he does not realise this due to ignorance, he considers that his happiness depends on some object, some tool which in this case is sex, and gets more and more entangled in it. Thus entrapped in the cycle of birth and death, he becomes unhappy. In Vedic terminology this happiness is termed as object pleasure. As it is dependent on a cause it is relative to time, space and objects.

When one eats to one’s content the vital energies pran and apan become steady, the individual forgets the attachment to his body and thus his inner Bliss surfaces. But the person attributes it to the food. ‘The spouse, children, etc. are for the sake of one’s own happiness. One experiences one’s own Bliss through them. Though that happiness is inner Bliss itself, it is considered to be happiness derived from objects namely the spouse, children, etc. In short, real happiness lies within oneself (and is termed as the inner ocean of Bliss).’ (1)

1.3 Vast objects bestow happiness

One feels happy when one sees the vast sprawling ocean or the sky. However, if one sees a part of the ocean or sky through the window then one does not feel happy. That is why a quote from the Chandogya Upanishad [chapter (adhyay) 7, Vol. 23, mantra 132] says,

    ‘यो वै भूमा तत्‍सुखं नाल्‍पे सुखं अस्‍ति भूमा एव सुखं भूमातु
     एव विजिज्ञासितव्‍य इति भूमानं भगवो विजिज्ञास इति’

[Meaning: That which is infinite itself is true happiness. There is no happiness in small objects (that is limitation). Expansiveness is itself true happiness; hence one should acquire knowledge about the infinite.]

Hence if one’s mind becomes all pervading, the Bliss too will be limitless. This point will become clear from the following experiment.

First look at the small circle in figure ‘A’ and then the large circle in figure ‘B’, for one to two minutes each and note whether you feel pleasant or distressed. Only then read further on. There were thirty-five seekers attending a satsang (spiritual meeting). Their spiritual experiences are given below.

subtle experiment

Experience Figure ‘A’ Figure ‘B’
1. Pleasant 8 26
2. Distressing 12 2
3. Nothing 15 7
Total 35 35

The majority felt better looking at the larger circle in comparison to the smaller one.

The spiritual level of an average seeker is 35%. During a spiritual meeting it can rise upto 40% to 50%. The spiritual level of an average person is 20% while that of one who has attained the Final Liberation (Moksha) is 100%. The former will not be able to perceive anything if he participates in such experiments.

An individual who is inspired by a specific objective like the welfare of the society, nation, humanity or animals experiences more and more happiness and does not feel much about worldly happiness and unhappiness. For instance, Tanaji Malusare, a warrior from Shivaji Maharaj’s army said, “First the wedding of the Kondhana fort, then that of Rayba.” (First I will fight the enemy and capture the Kondhana fort and only then celebrate my son, Rayba’s wedding.) Similarly, those motivated by the desire for Self-realisation are affected neither by pleasures and pains of worldly life nor the happiness and unhappiness of living beings. On the contrary, one who thinks only about one’s own family or only of oneself becomes more and more unhappy.

1.4 Absence of desire means happiness

The happiness experienced through objects is not obtained when actually experiencing the object, but due to the contentment arising from it when one feels fed up of the object. One enjoys the first ladu (a sweet delicacy), if offered more the enjoyment decreases and later one does not feel like eating any more. This proves that happiness does not lie in objects like sweetmeats, it is in the state beyond objects.

‘When desire is generated in man he digresses from the state of happiness. No matter what the reason is for absence of desires, their fulfillment, their sacrifice, absence of their generation or obscurity due to concentration of the mind, that state devoid of desires proves to be that of happiness. In other words happiness is not in objects, it is in the subconscious mind. Absence of desire is of two types.

  • A. Absence of desire during sleep: Though there are no objects involved with sleep one acquires Bliss from it. If man is deprived of sleep for two days he becomes restless. The Chandogya Upanishad (6.8.1) states that there is absolutely no difference between the happiness acquired during deep sleep and that obtained with the attainment of the Final Liberation (Moksha). Both Shri Shankaracharya and Vidyaranya have accepted this concept. According to the Bruhadaranyak Upanishad (14.3.21) happiness obtained with the attainment of the Final Liberation, that in deep sleep and with sexual intercourse is the same in intensity. Thus every individual experiences this happiness for 5-6 hours everyday. Then the precept that the one who is attracted towards the Final Liberation (Moksha) finds other happiness inferior becomes meaningless because despite experiencing this happiness everyday, man is still in search of other happiness. [The reason for this is that man does not know how to acquire the same happiness (Bliss) in the waking state so he tries to acquire happiness through other means.]
  • B. Absence of desire in the waking state: Absence of desire in the waking state is better than that during sleep. It is true that happiness is experienced during sleep but at that time the embodied soul is unaware that ‘I am happy’ unlike the happiness in the waking state when the embodied soul is aware that ‘I am happy’. Hence the happiness in the waking state is of a higher quality than that during sleep.

The Shrimadbhagvadgita states that ultimate happiness (Bliss) is extrasensory but can be realised with intellect. Three states are present in this state of ultimate happiness – 1. absence of desire, 2. the waking state and 3. the subtle proportion of ego which is required for this waking state.

The one who desires ultimate happiness or the Final Liberation should renounce the world is the final doctrine of the sect of renunciants. The path of renunciation advocated by Shri Shankaracharya in the Kaliyug and that described by the Smruti texts is based on this very principle.

All happiness stems from overcoming unhappiness such as that from desire. Lokmanya Tilak however, did not accept this. The gist of what he has described in his book, the Gitarahasya is as follows – desire is the feeling of wanting to experience something which has bestowed happiness, once again. Not acquiring a desired object results in unhappiness. However, if the desire is fulfilled before the unhappiness is alleviated then one cannot say that the happiness obtained was on account of overcoming the unhappiness arising out of desire. If one gets something good even when not desirous of it, then the doctrine that the happiness derived from it is out of desire is disproven. For example, if one suddenly puts a cube of sugar into a child’s mouth one cannot say that the happiness that it is experiencing is due to elimination of desire. If one sees a beautiful garden or hears the melodious singing of a nightingale then one experiences happiness even without harbouring the desire to experience them. From this one can conclude that since the sense organs have the natural ability to experience pleasant and distressing objects, one experiences happiness or unhappiness without the desire for them. Hence the Gita (2.14) quotes that, by contact with objects, that is external objects from Nature, one experiences sensations such as hot, cold, etc. and acquires happiness or unhappiness. The Gita also states (3.34) that all happiness is not in the form of elimination of unhappiness and that the affinity and repulsion between sense organs and objects of sensation like speech, touch, etc. are separate entities altogether. The Gita considers happiness and unhappiness as two opposite and separate attitudes.

There is a vast difference between the happiness acquired after experiencing unhappiness and that acquired after remaining engrossed in object pleasure everyday because the ability of the sense organs diminishes by experiencing happiness everyday. However in the Mahabharat (1.75.49) Sage Vyas has preached what is given below, to King Yayati. The following verse (shloka) is also in the Shrimadbhagvat.

नात्‍यश्‍नतस्‍तु योगोऽस्‍ति न चैकान्‍तमनश्‍नत: ।
न चातिस्‍वप्‍नशीलस्‍य जाग्रतो नैव चार्जुन ।।१६।।

Meaning: (But) O Arjun, if one eats voraciously (or) scantily, sleeps excessively (or) hardly, then there is no possibility of accomplishing yoga.

युक्‍ताहारविहारस्‍य युक्‍तचेष्‍टस्‍य कर्मसु ।
युक्‍तस्‍वप्‍नावबोधस्‍य योगो भवति दु:खहा ।।१७।।

Meaning: He whose diet and travel is within limits, who regulates all his actions and whose sleep and wakefulness are balanced, can mitigate all (worldly) unhappiness by practising this yoga.

1.5 Concentration of the mind means happiness

Due to the conviction that happiness lies in objects, once the object is obtained, to experience it fully, the mind goes into concentration. The vital energies pran, apan, saman come to a standstill and at least momentarily breathing ceases (kumbhak). At that very moment inner Bliss manifests. Thus, when concentration of the mind is achieved happiness is experienced. The happiness which is acquired through objects does not occur while experiencing the object but when the subconscious mind becomes steady, after its fulfillment. At the time of ejaculation and after a meal too, the mind becomes blank. Hence one feels happy.

‘The intellect which believes that happiness lies in the soul itself is called the intellect of the soul. Based on this intellect if the mind concentrates on anything then it becomes the cause of happiness. The other synonyms for it are happiness of the soul, sattvik (sattva predominant) happiness and permanent happiness. When the mind gets steadied due to contact with objects even for a moment and there is a marked reduction in ego, that happiness is called rajasik (raja predominant) happiness, object pleasure, etc. In case of happiness arising from the soul as there are no objects involved, it is experienced whenever the mind is free of desire. Hence happiness from the soul is superior to object pleasure.’ (3)

1.6 Thoughtless state itself is Bliss (Anand)

When one attains the thoughtless state in meditation, one experiences Bliss. When one drinks alcohol, thoughts are suppressed. At that time one is able to experience Bliss in the thoughtless state between two successive thoughts. The one drinking alcohol however attributes this happiness to drinking alcohol. (Refer point ‘Happiness derived from objects itself is Bliss’.)

1.7 Stability means happiness

The gaze of a child is never steady but constantly shifts. After its gaze becomes steady it smiles due to Bliss. The onlooker feels that the child has smiled at him !

1.8 Forgetting attachment to the body is equivalent to happiness

When concentration of the mind is achieved, one forgets one’s attachment to the body and experiences Bliss. That is why with spiritual practice when one forgets oneself, the mind achieves concentration and the spiritual experience of Bliss is obtained.

1.9 Spontaneous cessation of respiration induces happiness

Brahman is Bliss itself. Brahman is steady; hence when Bliss is experienced there is steadying and spontaneous cessation of breathing (that is automatic cessation of respiration is a sign of Bliss). Contrary to this when automatic cessation of breathing occurs, Bliss is experienced. This occurs by itself at the time of ejaculation, when one belches feeling gratified after a meal and when the eight sattvik spiritual emotions (ashtasattvik bhav) are generated. Hence as one undertakes spiritual practice, breathing gradually decreases and finally stops. It is through this that real Bliss is obtained. No Bliss is experienced through voluntary stoppage of breathing.

2. How to acquire at least a small amount of true happiness?

Though man constantly strives to attain happiness, mankind is becoming increasingly unhappy with the passage of time. The number of psychiatric patients the world over is also on the rise. Though the aim of modernisation based on today’s science and research is to improve the quality of life, man cannot acquire happiness through them. Hence they have no value. It is impossible for a living being to be happy with happiness and yet not to be unhappy when suffering comes. The following paths indicate how to acquire real happiness at least to some extent.

  • A. Devotion with expectation (sakam bhakti): The universe is within the control of the deities. If the deities are appeased then they endow happiness but if displeased, they bestow unhappiness. One can please them through devotion and thus attain happiness.
  • B. Company of saints.

3. Overcoming unhappiness completely

If one never wants to be unhappy then one has to go beyond the duality of happiness and unhappiness. Unhappiness does not vanish by denying it and joy does not come by merely wishing for it. Hence it is best not to think about happiness and suffering. The state beyond happiness and unhappiness is called the ‘balanced state of mind’. In this state the individual experiences neither happiness nor unhappiness based on worldly objects. That is, the individual does not become happy with joy and is not aggrieved with unhappiness; on the contrary, he is engrossed in enjoying inner Bliss.

3.1 Happiness and unhappiness, the materialistic (average) individual and the spiritually evolved

A. The materialistic individual experiences both happiness and unhappiness because he is influenced by the anadi (one without a beginning) illusion by means of which he considers the Great Illusion (Maya) to be the truth. This illusion can be eliminated by spiritual practice.

B. The spiritually evolved with a spiritual level of more than 70% in the stage of Self-realisation experience only sattvik (sattva predominant) happiness. There is no physical and psychological suffering as only the adi (one with a beginning) illusion persists. Due to this illusion one believes that ‘the Great Illusion is fake’. This illusion is overcome by the grace of the Guru. In other words, the Brahman in the Great Illusion is realised and the seeker attains non-duality. Those at a spiritual level of more than 90% like the knowledgeable ones, ascetics, devotees, the spiritually evolved enjoy only Bliss because they are rid of the adi illusion.

C. Peaceful and restless: One who has gone beyond happiness and unhappiness is peaceful while one who experiences happiness and unhappiness is restless.

D. Mahavir attained liberation through penance (spiritual practice). Penance means acceptance of unhappiness.

3.2 Class (varna), spiritual practice, happiness, unhappiness and Bliss

Class Spiritual
practice
%
Proportion
of happiness
and
unhappiness
Happiness %
+ unhappi-
ness % =
Bliss
%
State
beyond
happiness
and un-
happiness %
Total
%
Brahman
(priest)
70 Approaching
the level at
which one is
beyond both
happiness and
unhappiness
Sattvik
(sattva pre-
dominant)
happiness
20+10=30
20 50 100
Kshatriya
(warrior)
50 Happiness
more than
unhappiness
Rajasik (raja
predominant)
happiness
40+20=60
0 40 100
Vaishya
(business-
man)
30 Both happi-
ness and
unhappiness
are equal
Rajasik
happiness
35+35=70
0 30 100
Shudra
(labourer)
10 Unhappiness
more than
happiness
Rajasik
happiness
30+50=80
0 20 100

3.3 Happiness, unhappiness, Bliss and the spiritually evolved

  Happi-
ness %
Unhapp-
iness %
State of absence
of happiness and
unhappiness %
Bliss
%
Total
%
1. Average
    individual
20 50 30 0 100
2. Saint of 70%
    spiritual level
20 5 20 55 100
3. Saint of 80%
    spiritual level
10 2 10 78 100
4. Saint of 90%
    spiritual level
5 0 5 90 100
5. Saint of 100%
    spiritual level
0 0 0 100 100

3.4 Natural state of communion with God (sahajavastha)

The spiritually evolved do not dissociate from their inner self when experiencing Bliss in external objects. They are always immersed in Bliss irrespective of whether they are experiencing an object or not. This state is termed as the natural state of communion with God.

3.5 Righteousness (Dharma)

The Vedanta and the Sankhya philosophies (Darshans) consider the overcoming of unhappiness completely and the attainment of ultimate happiness (Bliss) as the zenith of Spirituality.

3.6 Need for philosophy

दु:ख त्रयाभिघातात्‌ जिज्ञासा तदपघातके हेतौ ।
दृष्‍टे साऽपार्था चत्‌ नैकान्‍तात्‍यन्‍ततोऽभावात्‌ ।। – सांख्‍य करिका

Meaning: Curiosity for elimination of unhappiness arises after one experiences physical (adhibhautik), divine (adhidaivik) and spiritual (adhyatmik) suffering. If this desire is fulfilled with visible remedies then what is the need for remedies from philosophy which are invisible? – Sankhya Karika

As this does not happen, philosophy is necessary.

Reference:

Kalpavrukshatali (Swami Muktanandanchya Sahavasat). First edition 1986. Gurudev Siddhapith, Ganeshpuri, Thane district 401206.
1. Pg. 34

Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10
2. Vol. 10, pg. 59-62
3. Vol. 10, pg. 59

 

In spite of soul being part of Blissful Brahman, why does one experience unhappiness?

Contents


Causes of happiness and unhappiness

1. According to psychology

  • A. Restlessness (no peace of mind): ‘अशांतस्‍य कुत: सुखम्‌ ।’ means how will a restless soul find happiness?
  • B. ‘Worrying nature’ as a defect in personality: The following example illustrates how a person with a worrying nature can become unhappy even after knowing the prediction of future happiness. A woman was worried about the future of her 15 year old son and 11 year old daughter. In order to get rid of her anxiety, she was told that her son’s life would be thrice and her daughter’s twice as happy as an average person and that they would be educated abroad, would be well-off, the daughter’s in-laws would be good, etc. After she was told all this she felt better for a short while, but soon became depressed. When she was asked the reason for feeling sad she replied, “I do not have to do anything for my children. They are going to be happy by their own destiny, thus I will not get the satisfaction of doing something for my children and shaping their lives. Because of this feeling I have developed this void within me and am feeling very sad.”
  • C. Many a time there occurs a conflict among the tongue, mind and intellect, whether to eat a tasty dish or not and consequently psychological stress is generated. If there is a harmonious co-ordination between the body, sense organs, mind, intellect and the soul then one will enjoy good health and happiness. However if this is not so, it will result in illness and unhappiness.
  • D. सर्वं परवशं दु:खं सर्वमात्‍मवशं सुखम्‌ । – मनुस्‍मृति

         Implied meaning: Dependence itself is unhappiness and independence is happiness. But independence does not mean immorality or promiscuity. That is not independence but dependence on the sense organs. – Manusmruti

  • E. ‘The educational system commenced by the British in India destroyed the loyalty to Righteousness (Dharma) and increased the desire for wealth. This led to the development of the purpose of education to earn wealth. The concept generated from education, that knowledge (Sarasvati) and wealth (Lakshmi) are the by-products of following Righteousness became extinct. Our culture (sanskruti) says that happiness in this world, the subtle regions and that of Final Liberation (Moksha) are dependent on following Righteousness. Contrary to this, due to the Western concept that “happiness depends on wealth”, man became eager to acquire happiness. Consequently, the physical sciences made vast progress and thus man was further attracted to object pleasure. Immorality became rampant in the West. Today, there is nowhere more immorality and unhappiness than in the U.S.A. which is famous for its riches’. – Saint

2. According to the science of Spirituality

Unrighteousness induces unhappiness.

अधर्म एव मूलं सर्व रोगाणाम्‌ ।

Meaning: The origin of an ailment, that is unhappiness lies in behaving unrighteously.

सुखं न विना धर्मात्‌ तस्‍मात्‌ धर्मपरो भवेत्‌ ।
                            – वाग्‍भटकृत अष्‍टांगहृदय, सूत्रस्‍थान २:१९

Meaning: Without following Righteousness (Dharma) one cannot experience happiness (and Bliss); hence each one should follow it. Ashtanghruday by Vagbhat, Sutrasthan 2:19

2.1 According to the Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga)

Devotion unto God is happiness and forgetting Him is unhappiness.

2.2 According to the Path of Action (Karmayoga)

A. The Adhyatmaramayan [Ayodhyakand, sarga 6, verse (shloka) 6]: Lakshman tells the boatman named Guha ferrying Rama across the river,

सुखस्‍य दु:खस्‍य न कोऽपि दाता । परो ददाति इति कुबुद्धिरेषा ।
अहं करोमि इति वृथाभिमान: । स्‍वकर्मसूत्रै: ग्रथितोऽहि लोक: ।।

     Meaning: No one can give one happiness or unhappiness. Only the ignorant feel they have acquired happiness or unhappiness because of someone else. Similarly, thinking that one will achieve happiness or get rid of suffering with one’s own efforts is vanity as finally one is bound by one’s accumulated account and destiny.

B. Wilful actions, destined actions and physical and psychological suffering: Life events occur in two ways – wilful and destined actions.

willful and destined actions

  • 1. Wilful actions: In some incidents, thoughts, actions and behaviour are totally within one’s control. One uses one’s mind or intellect and acts accordingly. These are called wilful actions. In this period of Kaliyug, 35% of all actions are wilful.
  • 2. Destined actions: In some incidents, thoughts, actions and behaviour are beyond one’s control. They occur automatically. They are called destined actions. Nowadays, they contribute to 65% of all actions.

    The proportion of destined and wilful actions varies with time as follows.

  First birth Present birth Last birth
1. Destined
    actions %
0 65 100
(life is like that of a puppet)
2. Wilful
    actions %
100 35 0
  • 3. Inability to distinguish between wilful and destined actions: Only when one progresses spiritually and perceives the subtle dimension beyond the five senses, mind and intellect is one able to determine whether an action is wilful or destined. Since an average individual cannot distinguish between the two, he attributes everything to wilful actions. Due to this inability, instead of blaming someone for an action, it is ideal for a seeker to observe all events with the stance of a spectator (sakshibhav). The Lord too, inspite of being omniscient and omnipotent observes almost all events as a spectator.
  • 4. Physical suffering due to wilful and destined actions

    a. Wilful actions: Suppose ‘A’ is warned that water from a particular area is polluted and needs to be boiled before drinking, yet due to overconfidence about his physical fitness he says that he can digest all kinds of germs and drinks that water. If thereafter he develops diarrhoea it can be said to be self-induced and thus becomes a wilful action.

    b. Destined actions: Now if ‘A’ is destined to get diarrhoea then based on the principle that intellect operates according to destiny, although otherwise he is not overconfident about his physical fitness, at that moment, he will suddenly become overconfident or will not meet someone who will tell him that that water is polluted and needs to be boiled. Thus he will suffer from diarrhoea.

  • 5. Psychological suffering due to wilful and destined actions: Marrying an incompatible partner and experiencing psychological distress may also occur either due to a wilful or a destined action, just like the above example. Marrying someone without heeding anyone’s advice is a wilful action whereas consenting to marry an incompatible partner because of faulty judgement due to destiny, when choosing the partner, is a destined action.
  • 6. Physical and psychological suffering due to spiritual causes: That which occurs due to destiny is due to spiritual causes. If due to destiny one accidently steps across a lime charged with distressing energy thrown on the roadside, then one may be affected adversely. At times spiritual, that is events beyond the purview of the intellect occur due to wilful actions. If one who has no faith in such things proudly ventures there inspite of being warned that the place is haunted, the distressing energy there could trouble him.
  • 7. The proportion of physical, psychological and spiritual events occurring on account of wilful and destined actions.
Action Event Total
Physical Psychological Spiritual
1. Willful % 0 10 15 35
2. Destined % 10 55 (The other two
are also spiritual)
65
Total % 20 65 15 100

C. Desire for happiness itself is the cause of unhappiness: ‘There is only one path to escape from the cycle of unhappiness and that is obliterating the desire for happiness; as due to the very desire for happiness, man while attempting to generate merits ends up creating sins and thus the cycle of birth and death continues perpetually. At the time of dissolution of the universe (pralay) as Lord Brahma is asleep, new creation is not generated. It is only during this period that the embodied soul (jiva) gets some rest. But what is the use of this rest? After Lord Brahma wakes up He once again causes us to be born according to our actions (karma). As long as desire (i.e. desire for happiness) exists one will continue to be born. In the destruction of the desire for happiness itself lies true happiness. The desire for happiness itself is the basic cause of all unhappiness. Thus, the desire for happiness is a sin’. – Saint

कालार्थकर्मणाम्‌ योगो हीन मिथ्‍याति मात्रका ।
सम्‍यक्‌ योगश्‍च विज्ञेयो सुखासुखस्‍य कारणम्‌ ।।

    Meaning: ‘The inadequate, wrong and excessive usage of time, sense objects and action (karma) is responsible for generation of unhappiness and their balanced usage, that is proper utilisation yields happiness.’ – Saint

2.3 According to the Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga)

A. Nescience (avidya): The word avidya (अविद्या) is derived from ‘a (अ)’ meaning absence and ‘vidya (विद्या)’ meaning knowledge. It is thus the absence of knowledge. The three qualities of the soul are Absolute Truth (Sat) which is permanent, Absolute Consciousness or Knowledge (Chit) and Bliss (Anand). [How these three qualities are one and the same is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 28 – Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga)’.] This implies that spiritual knowledge is without a beginning or an end. It is eternal and Blissful. Nescience is the absence of Knowledge, the absence of Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness and Bliss. Happiness and unhappiness occur because of nescience.

composition of subtle body

The main component of the subtle body is the soul which is a fraction of Brahman with the qualities of Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness and Bliss. The soul is Blissful in nature. The covering of the Great Illusion surrounding it is called nescience (avidya). Nescience is the root cause of unhappiness. Man gets attached to money, his own house, family, city, country, etc. The greater the attachment to any individual or object, greater is the likelihood of unhappiness arising from attachment. Even an ideal social worker or a saint may become attached to the society or his devotees respectively. The greatest attachment that each one has, is for himself, that is his own mind and body. Even a slight discomfort or illness can make one unhappy; hence everyone should gradually become detached about oneself and accept pain and illness in one’s stride.

The soul and nescience together constitute the embodied soul. Nescience has nineteen components in all – the five subtle sense organs, the five subtle motor organs, the five vital energies, the mind, the subconscious mind, the intellect and the ego. Since the functions of the components of the subtle body go on continuously, the attention of the embodied soul is drawn to them instead of the soul, that is away from spiritual knowledge to nescience. Consequently though the Blissful Brahman is all pervading yet one experiences happiness or unhappiness. Examples of how happiness or unhappiness is caused when the attention of the embodied soul is drawn to the physical and the subtle body are given below.

  • Physical body: One feels unhappy when one is physically ill. When walking in the hot sun in summer if one gets a chance to walk in the shade, one feels happy. One also feels unhappy if one’s basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter are not fulfilled.
  • Subtle body: It is made up of four constituents of nescience – the mind, subconscious mind, intellect and ego, that is the four fold antahkaran (antahkaran chatushtay) and the soul. Ego is the feeling that one is separate from The Lord. How happiness and unhappiness occur because of intellect and impressions of previous births on the subconscious mind is explained with examples below.

    functional diagram of subtle body

    1. Subconscious mind:

    • a. Desire center:
          मनसो दु:खमूलं तु स्‍नेह इत्‍युपलभ्‍यते ।। – महाभारत ३.२.२७

          Meaning: It is found that attachment alone is the main cause for unhappiness. – Mahabharat 3.2.27.
      Since for several births one is habituated to object pleasure, no matter how much one studies Spirituality, due to the attitude and firm belief that object pleasure means happiness, it becomes very difficult to divert the mind from objects. One is used to keeping the mind steady in objects, so if one attempts to divert one’s mind from objects temporarily even for a moment, one is aggrieved. This is because the mind feels at rest with object pleasure and an effort is being made to keep the mind away from it. In this context Samarth Ramdas Swami has said, ‘The embodied soul becomes restless in the absence of objects’. The unfulfillment of desires, wishes, ambitions, expectations, the desire to live (pranaishana), to have a son (putraishana), to have sex (kamaishana), to be righteous (Dharmaishana), to attain the Final Liberation (Mokshaishana) is unhappiness. When one acquires happiness due to the fulfillment of some desire a faulty impression that ‘fulfillment of desire is happiness’ gets reinforced in the desire and instinct centre and then the individual tends to drift away from Bliss.

    • b. Like and dislike centre: When a favourable event occurs one feels happy and when something which is disliked occurs one feels unhappy.
    • c. Temperamental characteristic centre: Unhappiness is experienced due to defects in personality and happiness due to qualities.
    • d. Talents centre: When achieving expertise in art, sports, etc. one experiences happiness; if not it results in unhappiness.
    • e. Give and take account centre: This contains the accumulated account and the list of destined actions. One has to experience the unhappiness that is accounted for in this centre.

    2. Intellect: When one’s curiosity is satisfied there is happiness. If not, there is unhappiness. One who does not even realise that he does not know anything experiences happiness even in that ignorance and one who realises it feels unhappy.

    3. Ego: Basically all unhappiness stems from considering oneself as distinct from The Blissful Lord. One experiences happiness and unhappiness due to attachment. If one breaks off the bondage of attachment, then one does not experience happiness and unhappiness.

B. Desire for happiness itself is the cause for unhappiness: ‘The Lord’s nature itself is one of Bliss. Therefore it is but natural that the creation which has originated from Him will be Blissful. Just as it is not possible for an ornament made from gold to appear as that of iron. In the holy text, Ganapati Atharvashirsha it is said that all living beings originate from the singular Bliss, sustain on it and finally blend into that Bliss. Yet one experiences unhappiness in the creation. The cause of experiencing this unhappiness is termed by philosophers as an illusion, ignorance, the Great Illusion (Maya) etc. all of which are synonymous.

No one feels that ‘he should be unhappy’. Everyone ‘desires happiness’. This feeling is generated as one’s basic nature is that of happiness. If our basic nature was unhappiness then would one not have felt that ‘one should be unhappy’? When one’s basic nature is of happiness having a desire to be happy itself is ignorance. This itself is the beginning of unhappiness. When the desire to be happy ends, that is where happiness lies. When this state is achieved then one has no reason left to be unhappy. This is the state of saints. Righteousness (Dharma) is meant for us to be released from the ignorance of happiness and unhappiness. – Saint

C. Expectation and attainment of happiness: When attainment is less than the expectation, there is unhappiness. However when it is equivalent to or more than the expectation, there is happiness.

  • 1. Just as electric current yielding both hot and cold water is the same, so also is the happiness or unhappiness that individuals experience from God, due to varying constitutions.
  • 2. Just as images of objects get distorted with the use of concave and convex lenses, so also due to desires and instincts, likes and dislikes, temperamental characteristics, sins and merits, the proportion of the three components, the five cosmic elements, etc. Brahman instead of being experienced in Its form is experienced as the Great Illusion (Maya) and consequently there is happiness or unhappiness.
  • 3. When a student who has fared excellently in an examination goes out to distribute sweets to his well-wishers wearing a new but tight shirt, instead of feeling happy about his success, his mind gets diverted to the tight shirt. The same occurs with the embodied soul and instead of the inner Bliss its attention gets focused on happiness and unhappiness due to the covering of nescience.
  • 4. A person in bondage is unable to eat, even if food is placed in front of him. Thus he remains hungry. Similarly, a person in bondage is unable to quench his thirst even if a river is flowing ahead of him and remains thirsty. An individual is deprived of the Bliss within him due to the bondage of nescience. This point will become clearer from the following example.

    ‘Once a person built a palace of mirrors and kept a beautiful blooming rose at its centre. The mirrors enhanced the beauty of the rose. Then he set a pigeon free in the palace. Seeing the numerous reflections of the rose, the pigeon started swooping onto them and began pecking at each mirror. Finally exhausted with the fluttering about, it collapsed and landed straight on the rose. Now that it had got what it wanted, it was satisfied. Man’s state too is the same. Although “happiness is within”, he keeps on searching for it in the enchanting mirage of external objects.’ (1)

D. Three components (trigun) and happiness and unhappiness: The three components sattva, raja and tama are from the Great Illusion (Prakruti). The sattva component imparts happiness; hence as the human mind becomes more and more sattva predominant, the creation too becomes proportionately happy and as the sattva predominance declines and is replaced by predominance of raja and tama components, proportionately the creation becomes unhappy. As the sattva component increases, love for others increases and consequently an attitude of sacrifice develops. Due to this attitude of sacrifice, one’s attitude becomes expansive day by day and one learns the art of blending with the unhappiness of others. This art itself is active compassion.

E. A resolve and happiness and unhappiness: The creation, sustenance and dissolution of the universe depend on a resolve. Then is all the suffering of the entire creation due to a resolve? How is this possible? Because each one makes a resolve for happiness and not sorrow. Then why do we experience unhappiness when we make a resolve for happiness? Its answer lies in the fact that we have lost our sattva predominant nature and have become raja and tama predominant. Therefore we have lost the ability to make our resolve come true. As The Supreme God’s resolve is of the Absolute Truth (Sat), He is able to create infinite universes within a second by His resolve. Hence, the creation will become happy in proportion to the number of people who shall attain an attitude conducive to His resolve of sustenance.

F. The Yogadarshan has classified unhappiness of living organisms and its causes into four divisions, namely hey (हेय), hetu (हेतु), han (हान) and hanopay (हानोपाय). All unhappiness and object pleasure in the world should be rejected.

Hey : Worth forsaking (unhappiness and pleasure)
Hetu : Cause (of unhappiness)
Han : Destruction (of unhappiness)
Hanopay : Remedies to eliminate unhappiness

All unhappiness as well as object pleasures (which also culminate in unhappiness) should be forsaken.

G. The entire creation has originated from the steady (samyak) word (from the Vedas). Its sustenance depends on the word and its dissolution too occurs with the word alone. As the word gradually becomes unsteady, that is as human behaviour becomes contrary to that prescribed by the Vedas, the creation too becomes likewise.

H. व्‍दितीयाव्‍दै भयं भवति । – बृहदारण्‍यकोपनिषद्‌, मंत्र ४१,
                                             चतुर्थ ब्राह्मण, अध्‍याय पहिला

     Meaning: Fear is generated by a foreign object. – Bruhadaranyakopanishad, mantra 41, Chaturth Brahman, chapter 1)

     Explanation: In non-duality, as everything is one there is no fear.

2.4 According to the Path of Activation of Spiritual Energy (Kundaliniyoga)

Saint Shri Vasudevanand Sarasvati, in His holy text ‘Dattamahatmya’ says – Until the vital energy (pran) enters the Sushumna channel, that is until the vital energies, pran and apan achieve an equilibrium with each other and the vital energy enters the Sushumna channel from the Muladharchakra (spiritual energy centre situated at the base of the spine) till then, it may be said that the efforts of spiritual practice are in vain. The Bliss (Anand) experienced when the spiritual energy (kundalini) ascends to the Manipurchakra (spiritual energy centre situated at the level of the navel) is akin to that experienced by an ordinary person during orgasm. This itself is referred to as the peak of worldly happiness; but this Bliss (happiness) is tama predominant while the Bliss experienced in the Manipurchakra is sattva predominant.

2.5 According to science of frequencies (spandanshastra)

Happiness and unhappiness depend on the frequencies generated from sensation, thought and imagination. If these frequencies match with the natural frequencies of the body, five sense organs, five motor organs, mind or intellect then happiness is generated from them. If these frequencies are incompatible, then they prove to be distressful. These frequencies vary according to the individual and change from time to time in the same individual. The soul principle or Brahman (God principle) has no frequencies. But when the knowledge of Brahman manifests through various media then frequencies of various intensities are generated. As the production of frequencies in us which are compatible with natural frequencies is less, generally unhappiness is experienced more often than happiness. The traversal from gross frequencies to subtle ones and finally to realisation of the supreme knowledge and the state of Bliss wherein all frequencies are destroyed is termed as spiritual progress. In such an evolved state, frequencies are not generated from any other sensations and the state of Bliss remains unaltered.

2.6 Concept of happiness and unhappiness according to various paths of Yoga

  Path of Devotion
(Bhaktiyoga)
Path of
Action
(Karmayoga)
Path of
Knowledge
(Dnyanyoga)
1. Happiness Remembering God or
pleasing Him
Merits There is no such
thing as happiness
or unhappiness.
Everything is The
Blissful Brahman
(God principle).
2. Unhappiness A lower level devotee:
God is testing me by
endowing me with it.

A higher level devotee:
Unhappiness is
forgetting God

Demerits

Reference:

Kalpavrukshatali (Swami Muktanandanchya Sahavasat). First edition 1986. Gurudev Siddhapith, Ganeshpuri, Thane district 401206.
1. Pg. 34.

 

Why should one aim for attainment of the Moksha rather than heaven?

Contents


1. Types of happiness and unhappiness

1.1 When alive

A. According to the scriptures: Physical (adhibhautik), divine (adhidaivik) and spiritual (adhyatmik) are the types according to the scriptures. These types are classified according to the cause of happiness or unhappiness. We will understand this better with an example. Let us take the example of the sun.

  • 1. Physical (adhibhautik): The sun being of the form of radiance, it has a tremendous amount of heat. The warm sunlight feels pleasant in winter but the same proves distressful during summer. Thus, the happiness or unhappiness experienced from the various objects created from the five great cosmic elements (panchmahabhuta) are termed as physical (adibhautik). The happiness and unhappiness from fire, drought, excessive rainfall, so also from animals and man are included in this type.
  • 2. Divine (adhidaivik): The deity Savita regulates all the activities of the sun. This deity is appeased by one who repeats (chants) Her Name and blesses him. Hence, such happiness is termed as divine (adhidaivik) happiness. However, should this deity get enraged it curses the person who consequently has to experience unhappiness. In short, the happiness and unhappiness arising from the grace of the deities or their rage, those from ghosts, spirits etc., unhappiness experienced after death are included in this category.
  • 3. Spiritual (adhyatmik):

    Physical: Due to an imbalance of the three humours (dosha), vata (wind), pitta (bile) and kapha (phelgm).

    Psychological: Due to the six foes of the soul (shadripu) namely, desire (kam), anger (krodh), greed (lobh), vanity (mada), attachment (moha) and jealousy (matsar). These defects too are dependent on the three humours vata, pitta and kapha.

        To overcome the unhappiness arising from physical and divine causes, generally external measures need to be employed. Thus, this unhappiness is curable with external remedies. Psychological unhappiness on the other hand need internal measures for their amelioration.

B. According to the terminology used in the holy text ‘Science of Spirituality’: Physical and psychological.

1.2 After death

One experiences unhappiness on not obtaining those objects which gave oneself happiness when alive. Refer ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 13 – Death and After’.

1.3 Worldly, in other worlds and spiritual

  • A. Worldly: Relative to objects
  • B. In the subtle worlds: Relative to objects
  • C. Spiritual: Unrelative to objects

1.4 Relativity

  • A. Relative to unhappiness: One feels happy after recovering from an illness. If one who is unhappy due to ignorance is enlightened with knowledge the unhappiness vanishes; this can be called happiness relative to unhappiness.
  • B. Relative to happiness: When a well-to-do person procures a huge fortune, he feels happier.

If the reverse is true, one gets unhappiness relative to happiness and unhappiness.

1.5 Individual (vyashti) and for the sake of society (samashti)

‘Like every individual the target of society too should be happiness. Happiness of the society is the happiness of all or most of its members. Despite keeping this as the objective, society has to remain content with psychological happiness. With respect to physical happiness it is observed that if an individual begins experiencing excessive happiness then he begins to encroach on the happiness of another. Food, clothing and shelter are the basic needs of man. But it is not possible for society to provide them in abundance to the entire population. It is assumed that every individual will be given a minimal share of food. However if one tries to acquire an extra portion, another is deprived of it. Psychological happiness differs in this aspect. As an individual begins to experience more and more psychological happiness, he becomes the cause for others’ happiness, for instance by painting beautiful pictures, writing exquisite novels and plays, giving wonderful dance and vocal recitals, etc. Consequently others too acquire happiness from all this and as a result the artists become famous. Fame is a very luring psychological happiness. Just like sandalwood which imparts its fragrance to others, by reducing one’s physical happiness man should sacrifice oneself for the sake of others and be praised by society. This proves to be favourable for both and so the society too makes progress.’ (1)

2. Types of happiness

‘प्रापणात्‌ सर्वभोगानां परित्‍यागो विशिष्‍यते ।’ means true happiness lies in the sacrifice of pleasures than in indulging in them.

2.1 Sattvik (sattva predominant), rajasik (raja predominant) and tamasik (tama predominant)

  • A. Sattvik: Giving happiness to others without thinking about one’s own happiness or suffering. Giving happiness to others does not reduce one’s happiness, as actually it is 100% happiness. This is happiness arising from the mind.
  • B. Rajasik: Trying to acquire happiness without causing any unhappiness to others. The happiness obtained from the sense organs and the motor organs is called rajasik happiness, eg. eating a delicacy. In this case, happiness or contentment is obtained instantly but ultimately it culminates into unhappiness for the reasons given below.

    1. One cannot experience a lot of happiness, eg. one can get a stomach upset by overeating a sweet dish.

    2. One cannot obtain the objects the moment they are desired, e.g. the sweet shop may be closed or a particular sweet may not be available in the shop.

    3. Sometimes it so happens that, the happiness gets converted into a necessity, e.g. after enjoying travelling by car it becomes a habit. Thereafter, if the car is unavailable for even a day, one feels unhappy.

  • C. Tamasik: One derives happiness by inflicting others with unhappiness and running away from the hardships of life, e.g. drinking alcohol, taking narcotics, harassing others. This may also be termed as happiness arising from ignorance.

Generally happiness experienced by the intellect is sattvik, that by the mind is rajasik and that by the body is tamasik in nature. The happiness derived after the intellect acquires spiritual knowledge is merely due to the elimination of ignorance which is gross. When the mind experiences happiness, its grossness too is decreased.

2.2 A pleasurable feeling, a pleasurable sensation (mod) and happiness (pramod)

When one sees an object which endows happiness a pleasurable feeling is generated in the mind. When that object is procured there is a pleasurable sensation and when experiencing it there is happiness.

2.3 According to the organs

All types of happiness arises from Brahman (God principle)

  • A. Brahmanand (Advaitanand): Happiness in its pure form is termed as Brahmanand or (Advaitanand), i.e. Bliss arising from Brahman or non-duality (advait).
  • B. Vidyanand (dnyananand): Happiness obtained from the intellect is termed as vidyanand or dnyananand, i.e. happiness obtained from knowledge (dnyan).
  • C. Vasananand: Happiness obtained from gratification of desires and aspirations, so also of anger, egoism, jealousy, etc. is termed as vasananand, i.e. happiness obtained from desire (vasana).
  • D. Vishayanand: Happiness (worldly happiness or object pleasure) obtained from the sense organs is termed as vishayanand.

Happiness other than Bliss obtained from Brahman (Brahmanand) are all of an impure nature and cannot grant complete contentment. Although all types of happiness arise from Brahman (God principle) yet the quality of happiness depends on the purity of the person experiencing it. Just as a reflection of an object is clearly seen in clean water but is not at all seen in muddy water, similarly only if the ego (aham) is pure does one experience the supreme Bliss of Brahman and not otherwise.

3. Climax of happiness and unhappiness

The peak of happiness is orgasm and that of unhappiness is when a seeker gets dejected when he does not find God. Since the happiness obtained during intercourse is physical, it is tamasik in nature, while the unhappiness experienced by the seeker is sattvik.

4. Efforts to obtain happiness and alleviate unhappiness

4.1 Efforts to obtain happiness

In schools, colleges, etc. one is taught history, geography, mathematics, etc. but not how to find Bliss. Hence living beings try to find as much happiness as possible with the five senses, mind and intellect. Man marries to obtain sensuous pleasure. Later he tries to get sexual pleasure to forget the unhappiness. With sensuous pleasure, suffering is only temporarily forgotten; it is not completely abolished.

4.2 Efforts to reduce unhappiness

यन्निमित्तं भवेच्‍छोकस्‍तापो वा दु:खमेव च ।
आयासो वा यतो मूलमेकाङ्‌गमपि तत्त्यजेत्‌ ।।
                                                                      – महाभारत १२.१७४.४३

Meaning: That which causes grief, stress, unhappiness or pain has to be sacrificed even though it may be an organ of our body. – Mahabharat 12.174.43

Instead of trying to acquire happiness man makes more efforts to reduce suffering, for example by going to a doctor when ill, getting the radio or car repaired when it breaks down, etc. Very few people regularly exercise to remain healthy, get the car serviced periodically, etc. The efforts made to alleviate suffering are not always successful. For instance, an incurable illness, old age and death are things about which an ordinary person can do nothing to reduce the consequent suffering.

In short, since one does not know how to obtain Bliss, the life of the majority of people is spent in trying to find small pleasures and in overcoming unhappiness.

5. Quantity of happiness obtained through various bodies

वेदनानां अधिष्‍ठानं मनो देहश्‍च सेंद्रिय: ।
केशलोम नखाग्रान्नमल द्रवगुणैर्विना ।। – चरक शारीर १

Meaning: The hair on the body, tips of the nails, sweat and faeces do not experience unhappiness. Charak Sharir 1

5.1 Happiness obtained through the physical body through the medium of the five senses

Eating one’s favourite dish, listening to music, watching a movie, etc. are pleasurable initially but if one repeats the act over and over again the happiness obtained from it goes on decreasing and ultimately the same thing causes unhappiness. Hence in the holy text, Shrimadbhagvadgita (2:14) it is said,

मात्रास्‍पर्शास्‍तु कौन्‍तेय शीतोष्‍णसुखदु:खदा: ।

Meaning: Cool and warm responses of the sense organs with objects give happiness or unhappiness respectively.

If a person begins eating a favourite dessert like ice cream, then he will relish the first three or four plates. He will eat the next three or four plates with less enthusiasm and finally will refuse more. If he is forced to eat it, then it will make him unhappy. The same occurs if one listens to the same song or watches the same movie over and over again. That is why the holy text, Adhyatmaramayan teaches that ultimately every kind of happiness culminates in unhappiness.

5.2 Happiness obtained through the subtle body (desire body, mental body)

The quality and quantity of happiness obtained by the mind, for example by loving someone is higher than that obtained through the five senses. Its duration is also longer. Later when love successfully culminates in marriage, the happiness obtained from it decreases.

5.3 Happiness obtained through the causal body (intellect)

Although the happiness obtained by the intellect by studying a particular subject, understanding it, solving a difficult mathematical problem, discovering something after doing research, etc. is of a higher quality and quantity than the happiness obtained through the mind, yet that too is transitory.

5.4 Quantity of happiness derived from various organs

Organ Quantity of
happiness %
1. Sense organs 10
Ears  2
Skin  0.9
Eyes  4
Tongue  3
Nose  0.1
2. Motor organs 10
Hands  2
Legs  2
Speech  2
Genitals  2
Anus  2
3. Mind 30
4. Subconscious mind 20
5. Intellect 30
Total 100

This table clarifies that one who has a handicap in a sense or a motor organ, like one with total deafness or one crippled in both the legs need not get dejected because in reality he is experiencing only 2% less happiness than a person who does not have these deficits. Inspite of this, several people develop an inferiority complex due to their handicap and make themselves unhappy.

5.5 Physical and psychological happiness

Physical happiness can affect health adversely. This does not occur with psychological happiness.

5.6 Various bodies and the quality and quantity of happiness and unhappiness

There are differences in the quality and quantity of happiness and unhappiness obtained through the physical (five sense organs), subtle (vital energy and mind) and causal (intellect) bodies. To cite an example, the pain in the physical body is localised to the site of the injury whereas in the mental body it is generalised. The diagram below illustrates the amount of happiness in various bodies.

happiness in various bodies

6. Happiness experienced by animals and man

In case of animals, fulfillment of the sense organs and motor organs means happiness. In case of man, emotions and intellect carry out their natural functions in every happiness generated from the organs, e.g. despite a delicious dish being pleasurable, if it is given to one whose close relative has expired, he will not enjoy it. Intellectually, if one is given one’s favourite sweet dish he will experience happiness but a diabetic will not derive happiness from it, although he may like sweets. ‘The happiness experienced by Lord Indra during sexual intercourse with his consort, Indrani in heaven is the same as that experienced by a dog with its partner on the earth. This happiness is experienced equally by all higher and lower animals.’ (2)

7. The seven regions (saptaloks) and happiness

seven regions

The maximum limit of happiness that a man can experience is one unit. A healthy, strong and righteous young adult who has all types of worldly gadgets at his disposal and has an intense desire to experience happiness, is able to experience it. Sage Jaimini defines heavenly happiness as one which is totally devoid of any unhappiness and an extremely happy state. The deities experience happiness in millions of units (1012). Eternal happiness of Brahmanand (Bliss arising from Brahman principle) is hundreds of million times (1020) the happiness experienced by the deities. It is beyond description in words and cannot be conceived by the human mind. Although this is the case, man can undertake spiritual practice consistently and experience the Bliss arising from Brahman in the present birth itself. The earth (bhulok), nether world (bhuvalok), heaven (svargalok) and the maha, jana, tapa and satya loks constitute the seven regions. It is because there is a lot of happiness in heaven that when there is a great amount of happiness on the earth, it is termed as heavenly. However one does not experience Bliss in heaven. That is why one should aim for attainment of the Final Liberation rather than heaven. As one ascends the maha, jana, tapa and satya regions, the Bliss that one experiences increases in quality, quantity and duration.

7.1 Special features of heavenly happiness

  • A. In heaven, one experiences happiness instantly as desires are fulfilled the moment one gets a thought. However, on earth one needs to make efforts to obtain happiness despite which, at times one feels contented and at times not.
  • B. There is only happiness in heaven and it has absolutely no trace of unhappiness. In every happiness experienced on earth there is at least some part of unhappiness. One experiences happiness after eating one sweet dish, (e.g. a ladu) but if one eats 20 of them one develops a stomach ache or suffers from diarrhoea. This implies that in eating every sweet dish there is 1/20th part of unhappiness hidden in it.
  • C. One experiences continuous happiness in heaven. As against this, on earth events which give happiness and unhappiness occur alternately.
  • D. Often on earth relief from unhappiness gives happiness, eg. a hungry person feels happy when he gets food. As against this in heaven, as there are no hardships, unhappiness, fear or hunger one only experiences pure happiness.

Although this is so, happiness experienced in heaven has its own limitations and that of time. Happiness to be experienced by a person in heaven is decided according to the quantity of merits (punya) and their type. Although it is true that everyone experiences happiness in heaven; yet an individual may even feel jealous seeing that another enjoys a greater amount and better quantity of happiness. After enjoying happiness in heaven, a person has to be born once again on earth.

8. Influence of time and happiness and unhappiness

Since one is aware of one’s body during unhappiness, time seems to pass slowly. As against this, there is no awareness of the body during happiness, hence time passes quickly. Thus one experiences time due to awareness of the body. In reality there is no such thing as time.

8.1 Planets and happiness and unhappiness

One is born at such a time when the position of the planets is conducive for one to experience what one is destined. Hence it is not that an individual faces happiness and unhappiness due to the planets.

Reference:

Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10
1. Vol. 10, pg. 62.

2. Brahmibhut Shrimatparamhansa P.P. Vasudevanand Sarasvati (Tembe) Swaminche Charitra, pg. 131. Shrimant R. R. Gandabuva Brahmachari. Navachaitanya Publications, Bhaindar, Thane district.

 

How is Spiritual Bliss different from happiness?

Contents


1. Definition of Happiness and unhappiness

  • A. अनुकूलवेदनीयं सुखम्‌ । प्रतिकूलवेदनीयं दु:खम्‌ ।
                                                                           – वात्‍स्‍यायन १.१.२

         Meaning: Happiness is a pleasant sensation and unhappiness is an unpleasant sensation experienced by the embodied soul through the five senses, mind and / or intellect.

  • B. यदिष्‍टं तत्‍सुखं प्राहुव्‍र्देष्‍यं दु:खमिहेष्‍यते ।।
                                                                           – महाभारत १२.२९५.२७

         Meaning: In this world what one feels favourable is happiness and whatever one feels like despising is unhappiness. – Mahabharat 12.295.27

         यद्यत्‍प्रियं यस्‍य सुखं तदाहुस्‍तदेव दु:खं प्रवदन्‍त्‍यनिष्‍टम्‌ ।।
                                                                           – महाभारत १२.२०१.१०

         Meaning: One regards what is dear to oneself as happiness and the same thing when it is disliked, as unhappiness. – Mahabharat 12.201.10

  • C. बाधनालक्षणं दु:खम्‌ । – न्‍यायदर्शन

         Meaning: Badhana (बाधना) means pain. That which has the form of pain is unhappiness. – Nyayadarshan

  • D. The total energy in the body is dhi. Leading the ‘dhi (धि)’ frequencies upto ‘kha (ख)’, that is upto the hollow in the Brahmarandhra [the highest position in the spiritual energy system (kundalini)], means happiness and opposition to its reaching there is unhappiness.
  • E. ‘अधर्मजन्‍यं सचेतसां प्रतिकूलम्‌ – भाषापरिच्‍छेद’ means that which arises from unrighteousness (adharma) and proves to be unfavourable for living beings is itself unhappiness. – Bhashaparichcheda
  • F. ‘Although initially it is necessary for the sense organs to have contact with external objects for generation of worldly happiness and unhappiness, yet man experiences them with his mind. Spiritual happiness or sorrow is always psychological. Finally the experiencing of all happiness or unhappiness is dependent solely on the mind; hence it is not impossible to restrain the experiences of happiness and unhappiness with the mind. It is with this very opinion that Manu (4.160) has described the features of happiness and unhappiness differently from those following a system of philosophy founded by Sage Gautam (nyayashastra), as –

    सर्वं परवशं दु:खं सर्वमात्‍मवशं सुखम्‌ ।
    एतव्‍दिद्यात्‍समासेन लक्षणं सुखदु:खयो: ।।

        Meaning: All that which is in the control of external objects is unhappiness while that which is in the control of one’s mind is happiness. This is the concise feature of happiness and unhappiness.’ (1)

2. Importance

  • A. The basic sensations of happiness and unhappiness are very important to survive and gain fundamental knowledge. Even an amoeba goes away if there is any undue particle in its vicinity as it finds it unpleasant and goes to another site where there are food particles. An infant too, reaches upto the mother’s breast to taste the mother’s milk. A young child runs away from fire and withdraws its foot on being pricked by a thorn. From this, one will realise that all actions of any organism are motivated by a desire to obtain happiness or to escape from unhappiness or an unpleasant event.
  • B. Happiness or unhappiness are great teachers. Difficulties and poverty teach us more than happiness and wealth respectively. Happiness and unhappiness are the reward and punishment respectively, which are bestowed upon man by nature for his progress.

3. Signs of unhappiness

‘Sadness and a downcast countenance are the effects of unhappiness.’ – Prashastapadacharya

3.1 Reaction to unhappiness

प्रायेण नीचा व्‍यसनेषु मग्‍ना निन्‍दन्‍ति देवं कुकृतं न तु स्‍वम्‌ ।।
                                                                        – महाभारत ८.९१.१

Meaning: Mean people blame The Lord instead of their own bad deeds when a calamity befalls them. – Mahabharat 8.91.1

4. Inevitability of happiness and unhappiness

Worldly life is an admixture of happiness and unhappiness. For example, one feels happy when one builds a house but feels unhappy when one has to pay its taxes or repair it. One feels happy when a son is born but when he is disobedient, there is unhappiness. When one’s daughter gets married there is happiness but when her husband ill-treats her, one is aggrieved. In this way most people go up and down in this vast ocean of happiness and unhappiness. This body has numerous aches and pains from the time of birth till death. This combination of happiness and unhappiness is called the image of worldly life. Hence in the holy text, Shri Dasbodh (2:10:40) H.H. Samarth Ramdas Swami has said,

He who feels happy in the world is the greatest of fools;
There is no sorrow like the ocean of worldly life.

सुखस्‍यान्‍तरं दु:खं दु:खस्‍यानन्‍तरं सुखम्‌ ।
व्‍दयमेतद्‌हि जन्‍तूनां अलङह्यं दिनरात्रिवत्‌ ।

Meaning: Just as the night follows the day and the day dawns after the night, unhappiness follows happiness and vice versa. This cycle is inevitable.

5. Confusion due to the usage of the words happiness and Bliss with various connotations

The words happiness and Bliss are often used interchangeably in spiritual texts. That is, the meaning with which the word Bliss is used in this holy text, is happiness according to other books and vice versa. Sometimes the two are used synonymously. Examples of how various authors use the words happiness and Bliss with various meanings are given below.

  • A. ‘Bliss is of two kinds. Bliss in the presence of objects (that obtained from eating, drinking, clothes, ornaments, etc.) is termed as happiness. Bliss in the absence of objects, is termed as spiritual.’ (?)
  • B. ‘Happiness of three types, namely – worldly happiness, that in the subtle worlds and spiritual happiness are popularly known. The first is the happiness obtained in this world, the second is that obtained in the subtle worlds. Both these types of happiness are relative to some object. Spiritual happiness however is unrelative to an object. Since spiritual happiness is self-attained, it is considered the best type of happiness. Spiritual happiness is superior to worldly happiness and that in the subtle worlds because it is permanent and unrelated to any kind of unhappiness. This spiritual happiness is the ultimate. Such unparalleled happiness is termed as the Final Liberation (Moksha).’ (2)
  • C. ‘If in any way there is destruction of nescience, then there is separation of the supposed union of the soul and the world and the embodied soul is permanently liberated from the bondage of unhappiness. The attainment of this state itself is termed as “eternal happiness” by followers of the Sankhya Philosophy.’ (3)
  • D. When one is able to lead the ‘dhi’ frequencies upto ‘kha’, that is to the hollow in the Brahmarandhra, the opening in the Sahasrar chakra, one experiences happiness. If this does not occur, there is unhappiness. Refer to ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 38 – Path of Activation of Spiritual Energy (Kundaliniyoga)’.

6. Differences between happiness and Bliss

6.1 Definitions of happiness and Bliss

Happiness is a pleasant sensation experienced by the embodied soul through the five senses, mind and/or intellect whereas Bliss is a favourable spiritual experience of the embodied soul doing spiritual practice (jivatma) or the God realised soul (Shivatma) when the functions of the five senses, mind and intellect have ceased.

Each one of us has experienced happiness at sometime or the other. Since the experience is obtained through the media of the five senses, mind and intellect one can comprehend its definition. Contrary to this, since most of us have not experienced Bliss and since many are not even aware that there may be something to experience beyond the five senses, mind and intellect, most people find it difficult to understand the definition of Bliss. Just as one blind since birth will find it difficult to accept the fact that the world is visible or a child will not be able to understand the meaning of sexuality no matter how hard one tries to explain it, so also it is difficult to explain the meaning of Bliss. It cannot be expressed in words but has to be experienced.

However for the purpose of explanation of the meaning of happiness and Bliss let us use a gold bracelet as an example. The pleasant sensation that one gets from a formless object, that is the gold used to make a bracelet, in this case is termed as Bliss while that obtained from an object having a form, that is the bracelet, is called happiness. In reality, one gets only happiness from gold but since we could not find a better example to explain this concept, we have used it.

6.2 Comparison between happiness and Bliss

  Happiness Bliss
1. What is it called? Experience Spiritual experience
2. Who gets the
    experience /
    spiritual
    experience?
Embodied soul (jiva) At a lower level –
Embodied soul
undertaking spiritual
practice (jivatma)
At a higher level – God
realised soul (Shivatma)
At the highest level –
Supreme God (Shiv)
[the Soul (Atma)]
3. From where is the
    happiness / Bliss
    obtained?
An external source. The
mind and intellect too
are external with respect
to the embodied soul.
Initially – From an object
to which one is devoted,
e.g. an idol of a deity, a
saint or a Guru.
Later – from one’s soul
4. Medium of
    obtaining the
    experience / spiri-
    tual experience
Physical body, five
sense organs, the mind
and intellect.
Embodied soul
undertaking spiritual
practice or the God
realised soul.
5. From what is the
    happiness / Bliss
    obtained?
A. Great Illusion
     (Maya)*
     
Brahman (God principle),
the soul (atma)
B. Ignorance Spiritual knowledge
C. Objects containing the
    three components
    (trigun)
Objects beyond the three
components (trigunatit)
D. As Brahman exists in
    unlimited forms in the
    Great Illusion, e.g. in
    food, speech, sound,
    etc. the subjects are
    endless.
The sole subject is the
eternal and infinite
Brahman.
E. Gross Subtle
6. Relative to and
    dependent on
    place, time and
    object
Yes (very much) No (absolutely
independent)
7. Traces of
    unhappiness
Present Absent
8. State in which
    happiness / Bliss
    is acquired
A. Waking
B. Dream
Deep sleep (sushupti),
nirbij superconscious
state (samadhi), natural
state of communion with
God (sahajavastha) and
Liberation when still
embodied (sadehamukti)
9. Awareness of the
    body
    (dehabuddhi)
Present Absent
10. Duality /
    non-duality
Duality is present betwe-
en the pleasurable object
& the one experiencing it.
Non-duality (advait) with
Brahman
11. Duration Short A. Depends on the
    duration of the nirbij
    superconscious state
B. Continuously (in the
    natural state of commu-
    nion with God)
C. Even in the next birth
D. Externally (Liberation)
12. Quality Inferior Supreme
13. Quantity Limited Unlimited (if there is
happiness even in ignora-
nce, imagine how great
the Bliss in spiritual
knowledge will be!)
14. Truth / untruth Untruth (illusion) Truth
15. Awareness of
    Absoluteness
    (purnatva) / non-
    absoluteness
Awareness of non-
absoluteness
Awareness of
Absoluteness
16. Boredom Not just boredom, but
the one experiencing
the happiness may also
develop detachment for
it or may get dejected.
There is no boredom
because Bliss is the nature
of the soul, e.g. sugar
never tires of its
sweetness.
17. Contentment Temporary Depends on the duration
18. Site of the
     chakra
Upto the Adnyachakra Beyond the Adnyachakra

* Hence this is like running after a mirage. Bliss is never attained through it.

What sort of happiness does a seeker experience to make him leave worldly happiness and turn to Spirituality?

Worldly happiness and sorrow are a result of one’s deeds (karma). Spiritual Bliss (Anand) is not a result of one’s deeds but originates from love. One who experiences spiritual Bliss is unaffected by worldly happiness and sorrow. Hence the Gita (2:4) terms spiritual Bliss alone as ‘yoga’. ‘समत्‍वं योग उच्‍यते । (Samatvam yoga uchyate)’.

6.3 Object pleasure, sensuous pleasure and inner Bliss

Types When is happiness /
Bliss experienced in
wordly life?
From what is
happiness /
Bliss derived?
Which body
is nourished?
1. Object
    pleasure
When experiencing
pleasurable objects
Extroverted nature Physical body
2. Sensous
    pleasure
When thinking about
the desire
Attitude of the
mind
Subtle body
(the mind)
3. Inner
    Bliss
The Bliss which is
experienced for a few
moments after waking
up, that is the transitory
state between waking
and sleep
Inaction even by
the mind
Causal body
(to a certain
extent)

6.4 Tears of sorrow and Bliss

Tears of sorrow are warm whereas those of Bliss are cold.

7. Bliss in relation to happiness and unhappiness

Bliss is not the neutral point between happiness and unhappiness, but lies beyond them. Bliss begins where expectations of happiness end.

Reference:

Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10
1. Vol. 10, pg. 62.

2. Shaktipatyogarahasya Arthat Siddha Mahayogshastra. First edition 1973, pg. 23. Keshav Ramachandra Joshi. Siddhayog Publications, Pune 411 009.

3. Shaktipat-Path-Pradarshika Athva Kundalini Siddhamahayog – Part one, pg. 19. Swami Shivomtirtha. Marathi translation: G.C. Devkar. Devatma Shakti Society, Dahisar village, Mumbra-Panvel Road, Thane district 400 612.

 

Why is it important to understand implied meaning in Spirituality?

Contents


Obstacles faced when studying Spirituality

1. Confusion about terminology

Several spiritual words have been used with different connotations in various holy texts. For instance Jagadguru Shri Shankaracharya has said that the antahkaran comprises of four parts (antahkaranchatushtay) namely the mind, subconscious mind, intellect and ego. According to another school of thought the antahkaran consists of three components (antahkaranam trividham) namely the mind, intellect and ego. The word ‘soul (atma)’ is referred to as Brahman (God principle) in some places and as the embodied soul doing spiritual practice (jivatma), the vital energy sheath or mental body sheath in other places. Due to this confusion in terminology often it becomes rather difficult and at times impossible to understand the subject.

2. Difference in the literal and implied meaning

In Spirituality, an attempt is made to express verbally that which is beyond words. Consequently, there is a difference in the literal and implied meaning. That is why as the spiritual emotion of a seeker rises according to his spiritual level, he comprehends the same point differently. In the worldly sense the literal meaning, for example 1 + 1 = 2, never changes. In Spirituality however, it does. To cite an example, it is said that 1 (Guru) + 1 (disciple) = 1 (Guru), because the disciple merges into the Guru.

The following examples shall illustrate how understanding only the literal meaning can lead to confusion.

  • A. ‘How can one carry out worldly activities presuming that The Lord exists everywhere?

         What a question! One will realise the presence of The Lord in everyone only after attaining spiritual knowledge. One should not make an attempt to realise His presence in everything simply out of emotion, as then one will have to pay obeisance even to the toilet basin! If one wishes to experience The Lord’s presence everywhere then one has to forget oneself otherwise it will lead to confusion.

  • B. What is equality towards all?

         One should consider all creation as equal in as much as being a form of Brahman (God) but not in their gross forms. The Gita says, the enlightened view a scholar, a priest (Brahman), the progeny of an intercaste marriage (chandal), a cow, an elephant and a dog with equality. Here, equality refers to the God principle. If one does not accept this then one will have to marry off one’s daughter to a dog and will have to say that one’s father was a donkey! Hence as long as one carries out worldly activities, one is expected to harbour an attitude of distinction between objects.’(1)

  • C. The implied meaning of the Guru’s ‘shaving off a disciple’s head’ or ‘flogging a disciple’ is ‘destroying impressions (sanskars) of past births in the disciple’s mind’.
  • D. Once Samarth Ramdasswami said to Manikprabhu, “Why are you keeping those women of low morality (randa) with you?” He immediately left them. [Randa refers to ruddhisiddhi (supernatural powers).]
  • E. ढोल, गंवार, सुद्र, पशु, नारी । ये सब ताडन के अधिकारी ।
                                                                 – रामचरितमानस, किष्‍किंधाकांड ५८

        A drum (ढोल), a fool (गंवार), a person of a low caste (सुद्र), an animal (पशु) and a woman (नारी) are all responsible for bringing about one’s downfall.
                                                            – Ramacharitamanas, Kishkindhakand 58

        Its implied meaning is as follows –

        A ‘drum’ refers to the ear. The eardrum is stretched akin to the leather covering the surface of a drum. The ears hear external sounds but not the internal divine sound (anahat nad) coming from within.
        A ‘fool’ refers to the intellect ignorant about Spirituality.
        A ‘person of a low caste’ refers to the eyes. The eyes are the worst because they tempt man with desire.
        An ‘animal’ refers to the breath. When an animal gets wild it exhales forcefully.
        A ‘woman’ refers to the tongue which wags constantly.
        If women fail to comprehend this implied meaning, then modern women will organise a protest rally!

  • F. The worldly meaning of shrimant (wealthy) is being a millionaire, billionaire, etc. while the spiritual meaning is one who possesses ‘Shri’ that is energy, beauty, virtues, etc.

3. Different meanings of words used in the worldly and spiritual contexts

As a result of this, it becomes difficult to comprehend spiritual literature. A few examples are given in the table below.

Words Worldly meaning Spiritual meaning
1. Ignorance Absence of knowledge
about worldly matters.
Believing that ‘I am the
body or the mind’
2. Knowing
    oneself
Perceiving the physical and
psychological qualities and
defects in oneself.
Realising that ‘I am
Brahman
3. Success Acquiring respect, money,
etc.
Making spiritual
progress.
4. ‘A’ cheats
    ‘B’
‘B’ is cheated ‘A’ is cheated

4. Extremely condensed form

In the olden days since there were no facilities available for writing, all the information had to be memorised. As a result it was in a condensed form. For instance, Lord Patanjali has narrated the entire science of Yoga (Yogashastra) in 195 verses (sutras). The Guru would explain the meaning of this condensed form. However in the intervening period of a thousand years since there was a decline in the Guru-disciple tradition, it has become rather difficult to interpret the real (implied) meaning.

5. Absence of worldly suggestions

Worldly suggestions are absent in most of the holy texts. For example, Lord Patanjali simply mentions that ‘restraints and regulations (yamniyam) should be observed’ but does not specify how they should be observed or what will make it feasible to follow them. (In ancient times the Guru would impart this information.)

6. Absence of explanation

Some books describe the path of spiritual progress, while others do not.

7. Absence of comparative studies

A book on a particular path of spiritual progress elaborates only that path and mostly mentions that ‘this path is the greatest’. One does not come across books which compare the various paths, discuss their advantages and disadvantages and limitations. This comparison is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 40 – Comparison of the Various Paths of Yoga’. Besides every chapter on a path of Yoga gives the advantages and disadvantages and limitations of that particular path.

8. Difference in terminology in Western psychology and Indian psychology (science of Spirituality)

The perspective of westerners towards life –

There is no cure for birth and death. Save to enjoy the interval. – George Santayave

According to Western psychology everything is perceived with the mind or intellect; but according to the science of Spirituality the soul which is beyond the mind and intellect perceives (is the knower of) everything. Western psychologists have not yet reached this point. Westerners attempt to develop their personality while seekers try to destroy their personality (the very sense of individuality).

9. Atheism

Only 5% of the world’s population does not believe in God. This has been the situation for the past thousands of years. ‘Spirituality is not my cup of tea’ is what most atheists feel. This is because they believe that spiritual progress is something related to God. After reading this holy text they will realise that this perception of theirs is wrong. The reasons for this belief are as follows :

  • A. Nearly 90% of the people who practise Spirituality in order to make spiritual progress follow the Path of Devotion (Bhaktimarg). Hence, some feel that to make spiritual progress one has to have devotion and since they do not believe in God they cannot develop devotion. Thus they conclude that ‘all this is not meant for us’. They do not realise that there are paths other than that of devotion, for spiritual upliftment. Even saints who followed the Sankhya Philosophy of Sage Kapil, worthy of being the masters of atheists, made spiritual progress and attained the Final Liberation (Moksha). Only 7 out of 195 verses in Lord Patanjali’s Yogasutras pertain to God. The remaining 188 verses do not make even a passing reference to God. Should these atheists follow them, then they too could definitely make spiritual progress and attain the Final Liberation (Moksha)!
  • B. The second important reason for confusion among the atheists is that they have not understood the real meaning of the words ‘Final Liberation’ and ‘spiritual progress’. In brief, making spiritual progress means attainment of the experience of Bliss (Anand) which is beyond happiness and unhappiness. Experiencing that state continually is itself the Final Liberation. After comprehending this, which atheist will say ‘he does not want spiritual progress or the Final Liberation’?
  • C. ‘Generally high salaried people are atheists. The more the salary the greater is the extent of atheism. The reason for this is the assurance of getting a fixed salary every month. The salary is more than the expenditure. So, they do not feel the need to believe in God. However those running a business are not atheists due to the unsurety of business and handling of large responsibilities. Hence they are constantly in need for some support and always believe in God. Only a rare salaried individual may not be an atheist. To summarise, atheism is rampant among rationalists and highly educated people. There are less rationalists among businessmen.’ (2)
  • D. Due to atheism, some make ridiculous statements as illustrated below. The sister-in-law of a lady seeker told her, “Why are you following Baba (Bhaktaraj Maharaj)? Why don’t you join some course instead!”
  • E. The definition of the word atheist is – ‘नास्‍तिको वेदनिंदक: ।’ meaning those criticising the Vedas and not accepting their concepts are atheists (nastik). The amusing part is that most atheists have never read the Vedas!
  • F. ‘The atheists do not believe in God. Then one should question them as to whom one should fear to maintain a righteous code of conduct? The Upanishads say, “भयात्‌ तपति सूर्य:” meaning the moon, the sun and the earth revolve fearing The Lord. We too behave righteously fearing Him alone.’(?)
  • G. Refer point ‘Of what use is it to us?’

10. Meaningless rationalism

The functions of each of the five sense organs, five motor organs, mind, subconscious mind and intellect are different, for instance the mind perceives emotions while the tongue recognises taste. It is just impossible to measure through intellect such things, born of experience. Just as it is impossible for one to measure the proportion of acidity in a substance with the help of a weighing scale, so is this. Therefore it is incorrect to think that ‘only that which the intellect understands is true’. Spiritual experiences obtained during spiritual progress too are beyond the comprehension of the intellect. What then is the use of rational thinking here? Just as the aura, frequencies, distressing and pleasant energy, etc. are things beyond the comprehension of the intellect, so is God.

If this is so, then one will wonder why there is need to read this holy text at all! The answer to this is that though the taste of sugar is beyond the comprehension of the intellect, yet to experience its taste one needs to obtain it by using one’s intellect. Similarly, one can enjoy the Bliss of Self-realisation which is beyond the intellect by practising Spirituality with the help of the intellect. The Upanishads were not written to convince the intellectual about spiritual knowledge on the basis of rational thinking but were written to show the curious seeker (jidnyasu) the path of spiritual experiences. This holy text too is written with the same objective.

Some rationalists do not realise that it is wrong to write or speak on any subject without first studying it. A question from a book published by a women’s liberation organisation asks, “We worship the female deities along with the male deities when performing ritualistic worship (puja), then, why don’t we exclude female deities from ritualistic worship for the four days of their menstruation?” This has been written by one who is unaware of the meaning of a male and female deity. To put it briefly, since deities do not have physical bodies and since menstruation is a function of the physical body, the question itself is unscientific and ridiculous. However, the temple of Kamakshi, the famous female deity of the sorcerers (tantriks) in Asam, India is customarily kept closed for four days in a year because that active (jagrut) idol has been humanified. In the Vaishnav sect too, the temple is kept closed for reasons such as ‘now God is having His meal, He is sleeping’, etc. The meaning of God is clearly given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Vol. 7 – Supreme God, God, Incarnations and Deities’.

Not just in Spirituality but also while undertaking the study of any other subject if one harbours the perspective that ‘I do not agree with it’, then one fails to understand the subject. However if one’s perspective is ‘I do not understand it’ then the one explaining the subject will elucidate it further. Rationalists should bear this in mind.

Differences between seekers who are curious about Spirituality (jidnyasu) and who are desirous of the Final Liberation (mumukshu) as well as the rationalists are given in the following table.

  Rationalists Seekers
1. Motivation to realise God Absent Present
2. Spiritual Practice Absent Present
3. Proof Actual proof The word itself
is the proof.
4. Ego High Low

The main factors responsible for the rationalist to have such a school of thought are given in the following table.

Factors behind the
philosophy
Quantity %
1. Destiny 60
2. Guidance by distressing
    energies
20
3. Vital energy 20
Total 100

The founder of Spiritual Sanstha, One Saint, is no less a rationalist than the ‘so-called’ rationalists. His research on hypnotherapy which has won him laurels the world over is also based on rational evidence. In Spirituality too, he makes use of rational thought wherever necessary. However, when the journey beyond the intellect starts, sheer insistence on using the intellect proves to be ill-founded. In short, it would only be right for rationalists to practise Spirituality themselves, for a few years before they venture to speak on it. Several people study the writings of saints like Tukaram Maharaj but do not follow what They did, that is do not practise Spirituality. They just study the fruit obtained but do not toil (practise Spirituality) from the time the seed is sown, till the fruit is borne.

Information acquired through the intellect is inferior to spiritual knowledge (dnyan) acquired through spiritual experience due to the following reasons.

  • A. Information received through the intellect mostly has limitations of time and place. For instance, when one sees a piece of chalk the information that one gets about it through the intellect is with regard to the physical aspects like colour, shape, weight, etc. at that given point of time. On the contrary, with the help of spiritual knowledge from the subtle dimension, acquired through spiritual experience, one is able to perceive much more information related to its past as well as future, such as who has used it, from which shop it was purchased, where it was manufactured, what its fate will be, etc. Information obtained in science is intellectual. Refer point ‘Physical sciences and the science of Spirituality’.
  • B. Saints have expressed the futility of mere verbal knowledge in the following words.

    1. शब्‍दजालं महारण्‍यं चित्तभ्रमणकारणम्‌ ।
                  – श्री शंकराचार्यकृत विवेकचूडामणि, ६२

         Meaning: The web of words is a great forest that causes the mind to wander. – Vivekchudamani, 62 authored by Shri Shankaracharya

    2. ‘There is no need to study the scriptures or the Shrutis, to go on pilgrimages, study the yogas, perform sacrificial fires, observances or intense penance.

        Do not harbour the fear of time, do not be afraid of evil people and never abandon Lord Shambhu (Shiva) whose remembrance liberates even the sinner.’ – Shridhar Swami (author of Shivalilamrut)

        Refer point ‘Ignorance and blind faith of rationalists’.

        ‘Righteousness (Dharma) is a rule or a principle unaffected by time, the Final Liberation (Moksha) means freedom in all aspects, the soul is the centre which endows an essence to the experiences, renunciation (nivrutti) is the attitude (pravrutti) to spread the spiritual knowledge which one has acquired to others. This attitude develops after one is enlightened spiritually. If one bears this gross yet mystery laden meaning in mind, then intellectual youth will certainly not turn away from Spirituality. On the contrary, they will get more and more attracted towards it.’ (3)

10.1 A challenge to rationalists

‘In the present times, the words Righteousness (Dharma), Spirituality, God principle (Brahman) and path of spiritual practice (yoga) have become tainted. On reading them, one feels as if one is standing before the main door of a tightly bolted hill fort in ruins. Today these words certainly do not convey the meaning of easily comprehensible doctrines. The real obstacle faced by the intellectual Indian youth are these. They are alarmed by the words Righteousness, soul, the Final Liberation and renunciation like the flashing of a red light. Though they harbour intense curiosity yet as these words have no longer remained meaningful, they are scorned at. How will one enjoy riding a bicycle when the tyres are punctured? Is there no remedy for this? These words have to be cleansed repeatedly, the cobwebs associated with them have to be cleared and they have to be renovated. Sometimes the composition may have to be restructured. There is no other alternative. We have to enlighten these four words for our own sake and with our own effort. The radiance within them has to be made to manifest itself and they should be given a facelift. To search for the basic form, meaning as given in the holy texts, the message these words convey, to express and experience the actual meaning of the words Righteousness (Dharma), soul (atma), the Final Liberation (Moksha) and renunciation (nivrutti) is the much needed rather the indispensable duty of the seekers who are curious about Spirituality (jidynasu) and desirous of the Final Liberation (mumukshu). When one experiences these words for one’s own spiritual progress, they begin to shine with their inner radiance. The moss and cobwebs gathered around them are cleared off automatically. Their presence to a lesser extent does not pose any obstacle. Moreover, where there is intense curiosity and an ardent desire to attain the Final Liberation there exists a natural energy to digest the tainted words.’(4)

‘Just as weeds have to be cleared time and again, to prevent spoiling the growth of a crop; so also improper practices adopted in practising Righteousness have to be eliminated time and again.’(5)

11. Social commitments

Spirituality also recognises the four debts, namely, the debt unto God, sages, ancestors and society. However, these are all considered from the spiritual point of view. The social obligations at the psychological level are not included in Spirituality. For instance, although ‘Each one derives merits according to one’s actions (Law of Karma)’ is a doctrine of Spirituality, terms such as equality and justice used at the psychological level do not enter the realm of Spirituality. Also one needs to be committed to the cause of the everlasting Truth, that is to the Guru in Spirituality. However, since society is constantly changing, social commitments also keep changing. Hence, they cannot be included in Spirituality.

12. Charvak philosophy

Charu (चारु) means melodious and vak (वाक्‌) means speech. Charvak (चार्वाक) thus means ‘melodious speech’. Hence people love this doctrine.

यावज्‍जीवेत्‌ सुखं जीवेत्‌ ऋणं कृत्‍वा घृतं पिबेत्‌ ।
भस्‍मीभूतस्‍य देहस्‍य पुनरागमनं कुत: ।।

Meaning: So long as one lives, one should live happily, feasting on clarified butter (ghee), even by incurring debt because once this body is reduced to ashes, the same will not be acquired again.

Who would not like to listen to such advice? But very few are inclined towards thoughts which say that one must serve and sacrifice oneself for the spiritual cause.

13. Hypocrisy of the so-called spiritually evolved

The following conversation ensued between two so-called spiritually evolved individuals in presence of observers.

The first : Have you seen what I have seen?
The second : Yes, I have!
The first : What did you see?
The second : Are these matters to be spoken of?

They alone shall know whether they did it to outwit each other or to impress others listening to their conversation!

Reference:

Sadhubodh: Shri Gulabrav Maharaj Virachit Prashnottaratmak Suktiratnavali. Ashtamayashti, Publisher: Shri Dnyaneshvar Madhuradvait Sampradayik Mandal, Dahisath, Amravati.
1. Pg. 18

Shri Brahmachaitanya Gondavlekar Maharaj Yanchya Hrudya Athvani. First edition 1979, pg. 85. Compiler: L.G. Marathe. Yashvant Publications, Pune 411030.
2. Pg. 83

Dhaval-Giri. Second edition, dated 12th January 1964, Author: Justice D.G. Vinod. Publisher: Siddhashram, Shanti Mandir, Vijayanagar Colony, 2100 Sadashiv Peth, Pune 411 022.
3. Pg. 40
4. Pg. 40

Guruvani, P.P. Shri Ramakrushna Kshirsagar Maharaj Yanchya Upadeshancha Sangraha. Publisher: Rasiklal L. Sangharajaka, Shri Datta Temple Trust, Savedi Road, Ahmadnagar.
5. Pg. 16

 

Why is science of spirituality superior to other sciences?

Contents


1. The sciences connected with the mind and the science of Spirituality

The relationship of the science of Spirituality with reference to various sciences of the mind is given in a tabular form with comparison of various methods of treatment in a patient with high blood pressure induced by anxiety, below:

Treatment
modality
Who
administers
the
treatment?
site of
action
Special features Cure
rate
%
Recovery*
A. Intellectual
    The technique
    is important
         
1. Shavasan
    (corpse
    posture)
Yoga
teacher
Mainly the
body and the
conscious
mind
The patient is not
taught how to face
the anxiety provoking
situations. Hence the
treatment has to be
continued.
10 Temporary
2. Drugs to
    lower the
    blood
    pressure
Physician Nerve
endings
30
3. Drugs to
    reduce
    anxiety
Psychiatrist Brain 30
4. Psychothera-
   py (discussion
   , counselling,
   etc.)
Psychother-
apist
Conscious
mind
As the patient is tau-
ght how to face anxi-
ety provoking situat-
ions incidentwise,
personality does not
change completely &
treatment has to be
continued off & on.
50 For some
time
5. Psychoana-
    lysis
Psychoana-
lyst
Subconscio-
us mind
After some years,
personality of some
individuals changes
markedly and they
are able to face most
anxiety provoking
situations. Consuently
, their chances of
suffering from high
blood pressure again,
are reduced.
10 Mostly
permanent
6. Hypnotherapy Hypnother-
apist
Subcons-
cious mind
Personality of several
individuals improve
markedly within a
year. Thereafter, they
are able to face anxi-
ety provoking situati-
ons. As a result, the
chances of recurrence
of high blood pressu-
re are very low.
50** Mostly
permanent
B. Beyond
    intellect
    (spiritual
    practice):
         
The technique is
not important,
but it is the
spiritual energy
in the one
recommending
the treatment
which is of
importance.
Spiritually
evolved
individual
A. Subtle
  and causal
  bodies

B. Raja and
  tama
  components
  (are
  reduced)

A. Within a few years
  , personality of most
  individuals changes
  completely.
  Thereafter they are
  able to face anxiety
  provoking situations.
  Hence, the chances
  of recurrence of
  high blood pressure
  are very rare.

B. Factors beyond
   intellect are also
   evaluated.

2** Permanent

* Temporary (as long as treatment continues) / for sometime / permanently.

** Though these modalities of treatment are good, the number of those who recover is very less because often the patient discontinues treatment / spiritual practice midway.

The difference between psychotherapy devoid of divine consciousness (chaitanya) and Spirituality endowing divine consciousness will be illustrated by the following examples.

  • A. A girl was in love with a boy. Rationally, theirs was a mismatch. After treating her with hypnotherapy for a year she finally abandoned the idea of marrying him. Here the Vaikhari mode of speech was used to convince the girl.

    In May 1993, a boy who was in love with a girl secretly got engaged and then informed his family members about it. After contemplating upon it from the spiritual angle, Saint felt that this marriage would not last. Hence, the same was conveyed to the boy through someone and that he would receive the appropriate answer within three days. Till then he was not supposed to give it a thought. The three day period was meant to prevent him from taking a decision under the influence of emotions. On the third day he informed that he had broken off the engagement. No resolve (sankalpa) so that he should break off the engagement had been made. It had occurred solely through the Madhyama mode of speech.

  • B. A person rejected the girl whose marriage proposal his brother had received as he did not like the girl. People questioned him as to how he had refused such a good proposal. Thereafter he felt very guilty. If he had really committed a mistake, then according to psychology he would have to be told for a few months that everyone makes mistakes and that he should forget the past, etc. On the other hand, if he were correct then he would have to be given suggestions to reassure him about the same. Only spiritual progress helps one to determine whether a decision made is right or wrong. Saint perceived spiritually that if the boy had married that girl then they would have got happiness as in an average marriage. On the other hand, the happiness which would be derived from the marriage proposal due to come six months later would endow double this amount of happiness. The moment the person was told this he overcame his repentance.
  • C. A patient constantly feared that he would die of a heart attack. The moment he was told that he would live for another 35 years his fear vanished. Otherwise to cure him through hypnotherapy it would take at least eight to nine months.

2. Amount of the Absolute Truth in other subjects and Spirituality

The table below will illustrate why Spirituality is called paravidya (meaning supreme science) and the other sciences are called aparavidya (inferior sciences).

Subject Amount of the
Absolute Truth %
1. Stories, novels, poetry, etc. 0
2. Physical sciences 1
3. Classical dance, classical music,
    sculpture, etc.
2
3. Spirituality 100

3. Physical sciences and the science of Spirituality

jivatma

shivatma

‘Science has varied meanings such as specific knowledge, scientific knowledge philosophical knowledge, direct knowledge and knowledge of Brahman. However generally the knowledge which is acquired through the sense organs by analysis and experimentation of gross substances and natural phenomena following a specific order and procedure is called science (vidnyan). In this context, Prof. K.V. Belsare gives the following explanation – the role of science is to study the properties of physical substances, their interactions with one another, the general principles therein and to derive a system with logical explanation from them. The four steps in the methodology used in science are careful observation, classification, framing a hypothesis and deriving inferences from them. Once the properties of substances are studied, their actions can be controlled. Thus, man can control energies such as electricity, heat, light, sound, water, air, etc. and use them to gain mastery over place, time, speed, disease, etc.

Among all the rules in the behaviour of substances in the universe, the rule of cause and effect is common to all. Hence, in science more emphasis is laid on determining the cause and effect relationship between substances. From the scientific point of view all events in the universe are entirely dependent on rules. Nothing in Nature is mysterious or miraculous. Events which appear perplexing, appear so only until one realises the cause and effect relationship between them. With the help of this knowledge, man has invented extraordinary appliances such as the train, the aeroplane, electric lamps, the radio, the telephone, etc. which have dramatically changed his quality of life.

Though with the help of science, man has acquired external prosperity, internally he does not derive the feeling of contentment. Ancient Indian scholars have made attempts to provide society with both external and internal happiness because eventually without internal happiness, external happiness proves to be futile. After the 10th century A.D. the progress of our country came to a standstill because we began to concentrate only on internal spiritual practice. Plenty of discussions in the spheres of devotion and Righteousness (Dharma) continued, but we neglected the field of physical sciences. To add to this we even forgot the knowledge compiled by our ancient sages.’(1)

Today science claims, ‘After visiting Mars we will have crossed a great milestone in the annals of science and will know if there is existence of life there, etc.’ In Spirituality, visiting Mars by the subtle body and returning to the earth is only a ‘snake-charmer’s game’ or simply ‘purification of the mind (chitta)’.

‘If devices to record such subtle events are invented then at the most they will be useful for documentation and not for endowing the actual experience. Whereas, it is important to actually experience them. If scientists discover the blue dot with the aid of scientific devices, they will accept its existence, contemplate on it for several years, hold discussions and write theses on it. But it is more important to meditate and get introverted so as to actually experience the blue dot than to do all this. You will undergo a total tranformation due to this experience. Internally one will be endowed with Bliss, will be able to hear divine music and will be able to acquire supernatural powers such as divine vision, hearing heavenly messages, etc. There will be a flow of divine nectar (amrut) from the absolute ether (akash) element within.’ (2) It is for this alone that physical sciences is the first step in the learning process while Spirituality is the final one.

‘People complain that faith (shraddha) has declined due to modern science. Despite that curiosity about Spirituality has increased. What does decline in faith actually mean? Or what exactly is faith? Can blind and naive belief be considered as faith?

Here, it becomes necessary to explore into the basic nature of faith, as described in the Nirukta holy texts. The author, Vachaspati has defined faith as ‘the strength to support the truth’. If one understands this concept, then the distinction between faith and rationalism will be destroyed. Today, when one says that curiosity about Spirituality has increased it is as if faith itself has been augmented. The intellect aroused by curiosity ‘grasps’ knowledge and faith strengthens that knowledge. There is faith where there is curiosity about Spirituality and knowledge. Curiosity about Spirituality (jidnyasa) and a desire for the Final Liberation (mumuksha) are both complementary to each other in all aspects.’ (3)

According to the holy text, Shri Dasbodh the meaning of science (vidnyan) is as follows:

साक्षत्‍व वृत्तीचें कारण । उन्‍मनी ते निवृत्ति जाण ।
जेथें विरे जाणपण । विज्ञान तें ।। ७.४.५०
जेथें अज्ञान सरे । ज्ञान तेंहि नुरे ।
विज्ञानवृत्ति मुरे । परब्रह्मीं ।। ७.४.५१

Meaning: The stance of a spectator is the action of the subconscious mind (chitta). Going beyond the mind (unmani), that is beyond the stance of the spectator is non-action (nivrutti). Where the awareness [absolute ego (ahambhav)] that I am the knower dissolves, is pure knowledge (vidnyan). – 7.4.5

At the level of Parabrahman both ignorance and knowledge disappear. Even the pure knowledge (vidnyan) dissolves. [Only non-duality (advait) persists.] – 7.4.51

Why the science of Spirituality and not the physical sciences are useful for making spiritual progress will be clear from the following table.

  Physical sciences Spirituality
1. Origin Western countries Eastern countries
2. What is it
    called?
Information
Experiences
Spiritual knowledge
Spiritual experiences
3. What is that
    which perceives
    the information/
    spiritual
    knowledge
    called?
Embodied soul (jiva) Inferior spiritual knowledge
– Embodied soul undertaking
spiritual practice (jivatma)

Superior spiritual knowledge
– God realised soul
(Shivatma)*

4. What is the
    information /
    spiritual
    knowledge
    about?
Gross things such as the
word, touch, form, taste,
odour, emotion, thought,
etc.
Initially – Subtle fragrance,
subtle sound, etc. so also
subtle things such as aura,
frequencies, etc.
Finally – The soul (atma)
5. From where is
    the information/
    spiritual
    knowledge
    obtained?
Externally. The five sense
organs, mind and intellect
too are external with
respect to the embodied
soul.
Initially from the Guru and
later from within. The
embodied soul undertaking
spiritual practice and the
God realised soul acquire
spiritual knowledge from
within, that is from the soul.
6. Medium of
    obtaining
    information /
    spiritual
    knowledge
Information is acquired
externally through the
five senses and internally
through the mind and
intellect.
Knowledge is realised with
the sixth sense organ that is
the embodied soul underta-
king spiritual practice and
the God realised soul.
7. Difference in
    meaning
Absent May be present, for instance
the implied meaning is inter-
preted differently by indivi-
duals at different spiritual
levels.
8. What are they
    connected
    with?
A. Great Illusion (Maya)**
     
Brahman (God principle),
the soul (atma)
B. Ignorance Spiritual knowledge
C. Objects containing the
    three components
    (trigun)
Objects beyond the three
components (trigunatit)
D. As Brahman exists in
    unlimited forms in the
    Great Illusion, e.g. in
    food, speech, sound,
    etc. the subjects are
    endless.
The sole subject is the
eternal and infinite Brahman.
E. Gross Subtle
F. Entire creation The Creator of everything
G. Things which undergo
    dissolution
The eternal Brahman
H. Psychology is one of
    the branches of science
    in which the subconscious
    mind is studied with
    the objective of
    eliminating unhappiness.
The universal mind,
Brahman is studied in order
to attain Bliss.
9. Objective Achieving temporary
happiness
Attaining eternal Bliss
10. Methodology A. Understanding the
    difference between
    various objects
Perceiving the similarities or
oneness between various
objects.
B. Relative to an object:
   Relative to place, time
   and object. Hence it
   has limitations of place
   and time.
Unrelative to an object: Not
relative to place, time and
object as everything is
nothing but Brahman (God
principle).
C. Dependent on the object
    (place, time and the
    object are required)
Independent of the object
(place, time and the object
are not required)
11. State in which
    information /
    spiritual
    knowledge is
    acquired
Waking state A. Superconscious state
     (samadhi)
B. Natural state of commun-
    ion with God
    (sahajavastha)
C. Liberation when still
    embodied (sadeha mukti)
12. New creation Impossible. Highlighting
what already exists or
changing it.
Possible
13. Awareness of
    the body
    (dehabuddhi)
Present Absent
14. Duality /
    non-duality
There is duality
between intellect and
information
Since the one in pursuit of
Brahman merges into It,
there is non-duality (advait)
15. Happiness and
    unhappiness
Science can give a lot
of happiness to man
but cannot always save
him from unhappiness,
e.g. a television set, air
conditioner, etc. give
happiness but when
they break down man
becomes unhappy.
Spirituality never gives unha-
ppiness. One gets worldly
happiness from spiritual pra-
ctice done with expectation
(sakam sadhana) whereas
one can attain supreme hap-
piness (Bliss) with spiritual
practice done without expec-
tation (nishkam sadhana).
16. Duration of
    the experience/
    spiritual
    experience
A. Short Depends upon the duration
of the superconscious state,
continuous in the natural state
of communioun with God and
eternal in Liberation (Mukti)
B. Whatever is learnt
    through experience
    in this birth has to be
    learnt again in the
    next, for example,
    writing, reading, etc.
Whatever is learnt through
spiritual experiences in this
birth is carried forward to the
next one.
17. Quality Inferior*** Supreme
18. Extent Limited*** Unlimited
19. Complete /
    incomplete and
    truth / untruth
The ‘truth’ in science
constantly undergoes
changes. Hence, editions
of books require
improvisation. In brief,
science is incomplete
and untrue.
The knowledge of the soul
principle never changes. The
truth found in Spirituality is
eternal and beyond time.
Hence, the Vedas, Upanish-
ads, etc. have reprints but
no revised editions.
20. Additions There are additions to
scientific information.
Spiritual knowledge does not
have additions.
21. End Occurs, e.g. when it is
discovered that all types of
energies are created from
a single energy, it will be
the end of physics. After
the discovery of that basic
element from which all
elements are created, it
will be the culmination
of chemistry.
Does not occur
22. Boredom May occur Does not occur
23. Contentment Temporary, as after
realising one ‘truth’ one
feels like knowing the next.
Present. After one acquires
the ultimate spiritual experie-
nce of Self-realisation, nothi-
ng more is left to be experie-
nced. Hence, one experien-
ces the Bliss of contentment.
24. Definition ‘विगतं ज्ञानं यस्‍मात्‌ तत्‌ ।’
means, that from which
knowledge (dnyan) has
departed is science
(vidnyan), is how the word
science can be humorously
but meaningfully defined.
‘सा विद्या या विमुक्‍तये ।’
means only that which
liberates is called spiritual
knowledge (vidya / dnyan).
This spiritual knowledge is
acquired only through the
science of Spirituality.
25. Fame Occurs fast, as it is useful
in day-to-day life.
Occurs slowly, as there is
hardly any connection with
day-to-day life.
26. Relation with
    other subjects
Absent All subjects including the
physical sciences are a part
of Spirituality.

* The embodied soul undertaking spiritual practice (jivatma) is one which has experienced a little of the soul principle (atmatattva) to some extent. Rather it is the embodied soul (jiva) which has got inferior type of spiritual experiences. Inferior spiritual experiences are related to the five subtle sense organs, mind and the intellect e.g. experiencing fragrance in the absence of an incense stick, knowing the answer to a query. The God realised soul (Shivatma) is one which has almost blended with God (Shiva) that is, the embodied soul which has got superior type of spiritual experiences. Superior spiritual experiences are in relation to higher supernatural powers (siddhi), Bliss (Anand) and Serenity (Shanti). For information on supernatural powers so also on superior and inferior spiritual experiences refer ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 41 – Spiritual Progress and Chapter 42 – The Spiritually Evolved’.

** Hence this is like running after a mirage. The truth is never found in it.

*** ‘The physical sciences are incomplete in one sense as at any given point of time some of its questions remain unanswered. If ever they are solved then new questions arise.’ – Mr. Jayant Naralikar, Maharashtra Times, 24th March 1991.

The difference between the physical sciences and Spirituality can be explained in simple language thus – The physical sciences cannot explain how to attain Bliss (Anand) which only the science of Spirituality can. It is only the science of Spirituality which teaches one to observe the problems in day-to-day life and unhappy events, e.g. a loss in business, death of a near one, etc. with the stance of a spectator (sakshibhav) and attain Bliss, something which none of the modern sciences can do.

Reference:

Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher :Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10
1. Vol. 9, pg. 11-13

Kalpavrukshatali (Swami Muktanandanchya Sahavasat). First edition 1986. Gurudev Siddhapith, Ganeshpuri, Thane district 401206.
2. Pg. 133

Dhaval-Giri. Second edition, dated 12th January 1964, Author: Justice D.G. Vinod. Publisher : Siddhashram, Shanti Mandir, Vijayanagar Colony, 2100 Sadashiv Peth, Pune 411 022.
3. Pg. 41