Happiness or pleasure or bliss is ultimate aim of everybody’s life. Some find happiness in luxuries, electronic gadgets, some in art and music, some in adventures etc. etc. But happiness from any activity last very fast. Failure in achieving another pleasure or miseries causes pain. In fact, pleasure and pain appear cyclical. There is always a search for eternal bliss.
Western psychologists have based the happiness index on various needs and activities. Maslow theory of human needs viz. physiological, safety, social, self-esteem and self-actualisation, stress on these motivational factors for happiness. Seligman’s acronym PERMA summarizes five factors correlated with happiness i.e. pleasure derived from material things, engagement in activity of interest, relationships, meaningful & purposeful activities and accomplishments & goal achievements. Whole of the western psychology revolves around meeting the needs of self. (Both theories are discussed later here.)
Modern Medical Science has found correlation between happiness and release of a few hormones such as Dopamine, GABA, Serotonin and Endorphins. The levels of secretion of these hormones are dependent on the lifestyles adopted and various factors such as positive thoughts, regular exercise, yoga, meditation, gratitude, achievements, challenge of achievable goals etc. (more details are discussed later here.)
Duration of Happiness
Wisdom of Bliss in Hinduism
Ancient rishis (scientists) thousands of years ago deeply probed and experiment the happiness more from angle of permanency & longevity and to find eternal bliss. They observed that everything (person, place, age, moment, ego, love, sorrow etc.) goes, is transient; only our consciousness & supreme consciousness (Jivatma & Parmatma) are permanent. They identified causes of pains and devised a comprehensive path for eternal bliss as under:
Medical Science on Happiness
Our thoughts and actions/activities are governed by desires, aversions, attachment to rewards, egotism or “I am” etc. Mind (मन) seeks favourable things to happen. In unfavourable circumstances, malice creeps in. The desires, aversions, attachment, karma etc. goes along with jeevatma (soul) in subtle body in form of samskara or impressions which manifest in future body, at the time of re-birth.
According to Hinduism, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are purpose or Purushartha of life. One’s journey of life is fulfilled by earning material prosperity (Artha) and enjoying it (kama) while meticulously performing religious & moral duties (Dharma) and ultimately liberating oneself through self-realisation (Moksha). Moksha is dropping and detachment of dharma, artha and kama. Awareness of causes of miseries and path of self-realisation leads to moksha. Moksha is also called Mukti or Kaivalya. However, some schools believe Moksha & Mukti are different. By following one of the four paths viz. Karma yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga & Jnana Yoga, one can attain Moksha.
The concepts of Mukti, Moksha, Dharma, Artha, Kama and four paths of Moksha are explained hereunder:
What is Mukti
By dissociation from desires, miseries, attachment etc and by extinguishing karma (past & present), Atma becomes free from bondages and become free and mukt. The state of such freedom is Mukti.
What is Moksha
Moksha is derived from the root Sanskrit: मुच्, muc, which means free, let go, release, liberate. One of the fundamentals of Hinduism is re-birth of Atma (soul). Liberation or Release of self, freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth through self-realisation is Moksha.
Moksha is not merely absence of suffering and release from bondage to saṃsāra (worldly affairs), but attaining the state of oneness with Brahman, the One Supreme Self.
Dharma, Artha and Kama
Dharma is living in righteous way which includes the religious duties, moral rights and duties of each individual, as well as behaviours that enable social order, right conduct, and those that are virtuous. On death, all people, money, materials, body remain here. Only dharm goes along atma. When we understand Dharma, man reflects patience, forgiveness, mental strength, - peace, purity.
Artha incorporates wealth, career, activity to make a living, financial security and economic prosperity. Arhta with Dharma is use of wealth for the well-being of others
Kama signifies desire, wish, passion, emotions, pleasure of the senses, love, with or without sexual connotations.
Concept of God
Soul has seven virtues i.e Love, peace, Happiness, Knowledge, Power, Purity and Bliss. Perfection is there already in the soul. But this perfection has been covered up by nature; layer after layer of nature is covering this purity of the soul.
Due to ignorance, the soul is identified with the physical body and its constituents – mind, ego and Intellect which are products of Prakriti. Pancha Klesha viz. avidiya, raag, dwesh, asmita and abhinivesh cause sufferings and future births.
Every thought (मनसा, Mansa), every word (वचना,vachna) and every action (कर्मणा, Karmna), good or bad, just goes down and becomes fine, and is there stored up as Samskâras, the impressions and create Karmic account.
External stimuli due to situation create various thoughts in mind, in turn intellect decides the future course of action based on available data & memories in Chit and decision is vetted by ego. Repeat similar situations develop particular behavioural pattern. Hence, we become slave of situations. In case, we take decisions based on qualities of soul viz. Love, peace, Happiness, Knowledge, Power, Purity and Bliss and believe the situations are creation of past karma, negative decision and behaviour shall be avoided as a result karmic account or samskara will not be formed.
Hence, at thought level, an active restraint on wicked thoughts and use of intellect may reduce creation of further karmic account. Break on influx of wasteful information, thinking other’s actions and criticising other’s action should be put off. Instead if possible help them, otherwise forget (not place in memory).
Maharishi Patanjali has defined Yoga as "the detention of the thoughts of the mind". He explained eight dimensional path called Ashtanga for full wellness and physical, mental and spiritual purification which ultimately lead to liberation of soul.
The virtuous qualities of Soul (Love, peace, Happiness, Wisdom, Power, Purity and Bliss) need to be imbibed at thought level and practised in words & actions.
To liberate the soul from Samskara, aspirant need to work at mind level i.e. thought level, at intellect level i.e. decision making level and at action level to purify self, discipline life & for selfless karma.
Following Five “S” is the path to liberate the soul:
Soul has essence of seven virtues i.e Love, peace, Happiness, Knowledge, Power, Purity and Bliss. Spiritual body or soul is Chitta Kosh & Sat Kosh.
Taittiriya Upanishad has described that soul has five sheaths or layers which is called as Panchkosh viz. Annamay kosh, Pranmay kosh, Manomay Kosh, Vigyanmay Kosh & Anandmay Kosh.
Due to ignorance, the soul identifies itself with the physical body and its constituents – mind, ego and Intellect which are products of Prakriti.
Piling up of karmas creates karmic account, decides next birth, age and pleasures and pains in life. Some miseries bring problems & disturbances immediately and other remains in mind & continue to irritate for long and create miserable experiences due to pancha Klesha viz. avidiya, raag, dwesh, asmita and abhinivesh. Person suffers by natural calamities, diseases and other living beings.
The various aspects of bondage of soul are discussed here-under.
Modern Science has proved that entire universe, non-living and living beings are ultimately composed of sub-atomic particles.
According to Sankhya philosophy of Hinduism, the universe is caused by interaction of Purusha and Prakriti. Prakirit cause evolution of 23 elements which include five gross elements, five sense organs, five action organs, five subtle elements, mind, ego & Intellect. Total elements are 25 which also include Purusha and Prakriti.
1. Prakriti is first principal tattva (element), which caused evolution of material world i.e. matter, energy or force.
2. Prakriti is dynamic and trigunas i.e. composed of three gunas (characteristics, behavioural attributes) viz. sattva, Rajas & Tamas.
3. Prakṛiti remains unmanifested as long as the three gunas sattva, Rajas & Tamas are in equilibrium.
4. This equilibrium of the gunas is disturbed when prakṛti comes into proximity with consciousness or Purusha.
5. Purusha (Soul, Atman, first element) is eternal pure consciousness. The Purusha is only thing which is immaterial. Love, existence and knowledge (Sat Chit Anand) are not the qualities of the Purusha, but its essence.
6. Prakriti (प्रकृति) second element caused evolution of intellect which led further evolution of 22 other elements (tattvas) as under:
Akasha is physical element having quality of sound. It is not empty space.
Intellect helps in judgement and to discriminate between subject and object i.e. self and non-self.
Egoism is the identification of the self with the instrument of senses (chitta i.e. memory, mind i.e. place of thoughts, Buddhi i.e. decision making and Indriyas). There emanates two sets of objects from ahamkara. The first set comprises of the manas (mind), the five sense-organs and the five motor organs. The second set consists of the five elements which may exist in two forms, subtle and gross.
Gunas of Prakriti
What are the Principles: