Who is a happy man?
What is the best form of happiness?
He alone is a happy man who is a master of his own mind.
shaknoti iha ewa yah sodhum prAk shareerawimokshanAt
kAmakrodhodbhawam wegam sah yuktah sah sukhee narah ||5.23||
“He who is able, while still here (in this world), to withstand, before the liberation from the body (death), the impulse born out of desire and anger, is a Yogin, he is a happy man.”
‘Withstand the impulse of desire and anger’, then he is a Yogi even while here, before his death, the happiest man. Krishna, in this stanza, is giving the assurance that man is capable of living that perfect joy in this very world if only he makes the necessary adjustment in himself.
My great-grandfather was a great violinist. His violin was preserved and worshipped in my house till now. I too have gained now a preliminary nodding acquaintance with music. Suddenly an idea struck me: “Why not take my grandfather’s instrument and play upon it, and thus become overnight a great musician?” Thus, if I were to play directly upon that ancient and faithful instrument, I will be forced to break it into pieces, for, that violin in that condition cannot give me the perfect music. It needs general cleaning and dusting, perhaps, restringing and a lot of tuning up. When these adjustments are made, then it can faithfully give out all the notes, implicitly obeying the strokes of my bow and the ticklings of my finger. In the same fashion today, our mind and intellect, the instruments of singing the song of Perfection, neglected from beginningless time, need a lot of readjustment before they can gurgle out their contents of laughter and joy.
To one who has won over joy and grief, and who has gained in oneself an amount of detachment with external objects, the desire for obtaining the pleasant or for avoiding the unpleasant is no emotion at all. Where there is no desire, within that bosom hatred is an unknown, alien factor. He who has gained over these two impulses, no doubt powerful and almost irresistible, is the one who can afford to live in this world of multiplicity and imperfections as an independent solitary man of true and steady happiness.
Thus Krishna has assured Arjuna–and through Arjuna all people like us who will be ever reading and trying to understand this immortal scripture-that man can live as a perfect, happy animal while in this form, among these very objects, in this very world, during this very life, if only he in his spiritual evolution learns to renounce his impulses of desire and hatred.
bAhyasparsheshu asaktAtmA windati Atmani yat sukham
sah brahmayogayuktAtmA sukham akshayam ashnute ||5.21||
“With the self unattached to external contacts, he finds happiness in the Self, with the self engaged in the meditation of Brahman, he attains endless happiness.” ‘THE ONE WHO HAS GAINED COMPLETE DETACHMENT FROM THE EXTERNAL OBJECTS REALISES THE BLISS THAT IS THE NATURE OF THE SELF’. Though the process of self-development is essentially a process of detachment, this technique of negation does not take us to an empty and purposeless zero, but when we have negated all that is false, we come to experience and live a total positivity. When a dreamer has renounced all his contacts with the dream-word, and ripped open and thrown away his dream personality, he does not become a non-entity but he rediscovers himself to be the more vital, the more effective personality of the waker.
Similarly, whenever contacts with the external world through the media of the body, mind, and intellect are clipped down clean, we get ourselves awakened to the meadows of God-consciousness and come to live the joy that is the eternal nature of the self. A seeker, having thus redeemed his own mind and intellect from their preoccupations with the external world at least during his meditation when he comes to keep his ‘HEART DEVOTED TO THE MEDITATION OF BRAHMAN’, attains imperishable happiness. ||3.1||
What is the best form of happiness?
The joy that a man discovers in himself subsequent to self control, scriptural study, meditation etc., for a long time is indeed the best happiness.
yat tat agre wisham iwa parinAme amrtopamam
tat sukham sAttwikam proktam AtmabuddhiprasAdajam ||18.37||
“That which is like poison at first, but in the end like nectar, that pleasure is declared to be satvic (pure), born of the purity of one’s own mind due to Self-realization.”
The joy arising out of the inner self-control and the consequent sense of self-perfection is no cheap gratification. In the beginning it is certainly very painful and extremely arduous. But one who has discovered in oneself the necessary courage and the required heroism to walk the precipitous path of self-purification and inward balance comes to enjoy the subtlest of happiness and the all-fulfilling sense of inward peace. This `happiness’ (sukham) arising out of self-control and selfdiscipline is classified here by the Lord as the satvic `happiness’.
Born out of the purity of one’s own mind (atma-buddhi prasadajam): By carefully living the life of the good (satvic) and acting in disciplined self-control as far as possible in the world, maintaining the satvic qualities in all the `component parts’, one can develop the prasada of one’s inward nature. The term prasada is very often misunderstood in our ritualistic language.
The peace and tranquillity, the joy and expansion that the mind and intellect come to experience as a result of their discipline and contemplation are the true prasada. The joy arising out of spiritual practices provided by the integration of the inner nature is called
prasada. The joy arising out of the prasada (prasadajam) is the satvic `happiness’, according to Lord Krishna. In short, the sense of fulfilment and the gladness of heart that well up from the bosom of a cultured man, as a result of his balanced and self-disciplined life of high ideals and divine values of life, are the enduring `happiness’ of all men of perfection, of all men of true religion.
prashAntamanasam hi enam yoginam sukham uttamam
upaiti shAntarajasam brahmabhootam akalmasham ||6.27||
“Supreme Bliss verily comes to this Yogi whose mind is quite peaceful, where passion is quietened, who is free from sin, and has become BRAHMAN.”
When individual’s mind has been arrested from its agitated roamings in the world of objects, and fixed consistently upon the Self, by degrees the mind gathers more and more quietude and, ultimately, when the flow of thought ceases, the mind also ends. Where the mind has ended, there the individual is awakened to the experience of the Infinite Nature of
the Self. Naturally, the meditator (YOGIN) ‘COMES TO THE SUPREME BLISS’. ||3.2||