Home Wisdom Articles Pujya Gurudevshri Pujya Gurudevshri Insights The Secret of Happiness

The Secret of Happiness

We are constantly running after trifling joys and away from trivial sorrows. Pujya Gurudevshri reveals the fallacy behind them and urges us to tread on the true path to attain inner bliss

A thoughtful aspirant can easily understand through reflection that comforts and amenities, no matter how many one may acquire, cannot bring an end to one’s sorrow. Comforts can bring an end to discomfort but not sorrow. Discomfort is related to external circumstances. Sorrow is internal. External means will not end sorrow because lack of things is not the root cause of sorrow.

You don’t need extraordinary intelligence or deep study of scriptures or penance to understand this. Examine your inclinations and actions peacefully and you will know it. It is everyone’s experience that sorrow felt in absence of things remains the same upon acquiring things; rather at times it increases. Therefore, it can be determined that the root cause of sorrow must be something different. You want to get rid of sorrow and your efforts are only towards getting rid of discomfort. Hence there is no reduction in sorrow; the disease of greed remains as is.

Enlightened and Ignorant

In respect to the desire for happiness, there is no difference between you and the Enlightened Ones. Everyone wants happiness and freedom from sorrow. The difference lies in where you are looking for happiness. The Enlightened Ones proceeded in one direction and attained true happiness due to which They became revered and worthy of devotion. So then it is necessary to understand, what is that direction following which They attained true happiness.

First, you must determine that the Enlightened Ones you are so devoutly worshipping and glorifying – are They genuine or not? If They are true, if what They attained is true, then Their path must also be true. So you must accept that your path is wrong! But you need courage to accept that the path of majority, which you are a part of, is indeed wrong. You venerate and praise Those who acted different from the majority, but you wish to go with the majority, follow the belief of the masses! What kind of contradiction is this!!

Are Joy and Sorrow Separate?

Have you ever thought about what joy is or what sorrow is? Is there really a difference between them? There is a basic oneness between what you consider joy and sorrow. The same thread is woven in both. At one end, there is joy, and at the other, sorrow. They may appear separate but they are connected from inside. Reflecting upon your sensual experiences, you can realise the fact that what the world considers joy is just another form of sorrow.

Any pleasure can turn into pain and any pain can turn into pleasure. A thing can change into another only when they are same by nature. Water can turn into water vapour and water vapour into water; ice can turn into water and water into ice; why? Because water vapour, water and ice are different states of the same thing. Whatever change happens, they are different forms of the same thing. Only when the fundamental nature is same, there can be change of form from one to the other. Our joy can change into sorrow and sorrow into joy, this proves that they are essentially the same; there is no substantial difference.

Have you ever noticed that the amount of joy you experience at the moment you receive it does not remain the same the next moment? Within moments, the joy starts reducing, and in some time, it turns into sorrow. For example, when you are hungry, food appears attractive, and you experience joy while having it. The Enlightened Ones say that if the cause of your joy is food, then on having more food, your joy must increase too. But your experience is different. On eating more, joy does not increase. If you keep eating, the same food appears not so attractive. After some time, that same favourite delicacy appears sorrowful, like a punishment, and if eaten in extravagant quantity, one may even die.

Change due to Familiarity

Joy and sorrow – unlike our belief – are not two different things. These are two states of the same thing. You may consider something sorrowful but if you have to stay with it for some time, that sorrow starts reducing. Slowly, you become familiar with it, you get used to it, and after some time, that same thing may even become joyful!

A lady looked after a beautiful garden in the village. In one corner of the garden was her little hut. One day while selling flowers in the market, she met her childhood friend, a fisherwoman, and invited her. She was going home after selling her fish but now decided to stay the night with her gardener friend. After a long chat, when they went to bed, the fisherwoman couldn’t sleep. The host had spread fragrant flowers around her friend’s bed to make her stay memorable. But seeing her not able to sleep, she enquired. The fisherwoman said, ‘I cannot bear this fragrance. Please bring my fish basket.’ Her empty fish basket, that was kept outside the house, was brought. She sprinkled some water in it and covered her face with it, and was deep asleep in no time. No matter how the smell of fish is, due to constant familiarity with it, she had become habituated to it; that alone appeared to be joyous, and the fragrance of flowers appeared sorrowful due to unfamiliarity! So many of our difficulties are such that once we become familiar with them, they appear less sorrowful or even start appearing joyous.

Know this secret – the thing, person or situation, from which you can derive joy, you can also derive sorrow from it. Today you may be madly in love with someone, gain joy from that person, and tomorrow, you will try to run away from the same person, as he appears to be giving sorrow! Joy and sorrow are in your way of thinking – your perception. It is therefore in your hands whether today, you take joy or sorrow from something. The fault is not of external situation. One who is not aware of his state of mind is constantly struggling to escape sorrow and seek joy. There is no madness like this, because joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin.

Joy and Sorrow are Both Disturbance

One who realises this changes his direction of search for happiness. The Enlightened Ones state that there is certainly disturbance, restlessness and pain in sorrow; but even in joy, there is a type of disturbance, restlessness, and excitement. The only difference is that the disturbance you consider as dear is joy and the one that is not dear appears as sorrow. It is a difference only in your definitions otherwise both are disturbance alone. Neither has peace. Once this is understood, a new search begins. This search is for peace, bliss and truth. This search is not for choosing between joy and sorrow but rising above both, it is for becoming free from both.

Those who are after comforts and their means, whose direction of search hasn’t changed yet; they must understand their delusion and realise where true peace and bliss lie. Those who realised, their running after comforts ended, the search for true bliss began, and bore fruit as its attainment; they became Enlightened.


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