Yogic Happiness – Ananda

If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands.

If you are happiness itself and you know it, clap your hands.

The second happiness is not the happiness that comes in a can, a box or a bottle, not the happiness that is arrives with Dominoes, not even the happiness that occurs when we get our own way. It is the happiness that the Yogis call bliss (Ananda). A happiness without reason, a happiness present during challenge, a happiness that lasts and lasts and lasts. 

So why, if these two levels of happiness exist, is there an absence of both? So why, if many people and groups are claiming to have the answer to happiness, are we so grumpy, jumpy and judgey? Why, if we are brimming with money, fame and wellbeing, is happiness absent, fleeting or a distant memory? 

Companies promise that their products can bring us happiness. Our governments say they can increase our happiness, it will just cost us our vote. Our husbands, wives, families and friends may suggest they are the source of our happiness or can be if we just align, but still most people experience little lasting happiness. 

Professor Martin Seligman says that worldly happiness comes in three grades: 

  1. Pleasure: low levels of happiness are reached from pleasure. It is fleeting and can induce more heaviness post the momentary pleasure. 
  1. Engagement: being active and engaged with the world is the next highest level. One example is the playing of a video game or watching of an event compared to watching the event live, or even higher, being involved of the same event or one of similar ilk. This does not even have to be at the same level as the professionals or masters of the event, be it dancing, sport, art, love making, cooking etc. 
  1. Meaning: when we are living with meaning and purpose we have the highest lasting level of happiness from a non-yogic, non-spiritual perspective. 

Let’s say all that is true, that we had all our stuff together. We enjoyed an amount of pleasure, free from attachment to it. We are actively engaged with life and our life was filled with meaning. What then….. 

Well glad you asked! The ancient Hindu texts say that even all this worldly happiness is pittance compared to the happiness or bliss available to the seeker of the divine, to the Yogi. The Taittiriya Upanishad says that if the highest level of happiness available to the worldly seeker rates as 1 unit, then the enlightened being experiences happiness or bliss equivalent to 10 to the power of 18. That is a single one with eighteen zeros behind it. The Upanishad says that as we ascend through the heavenly realms, our bliss is multiplied one hundred times with each of the seven heavenly realms. 

The rishi who heard and spoke the Taittiriya Upanishad has given us much spirit-filled food for thought. He/she is suggesting that we can transcend fleeting or externally gathered happiness and become happiness or bliss itself, not blissful or happy experiences, but BLISS itself. 

Working with our life’s purpose, doing good and being good will have us heading into bliss itself. We may experience pleasure, active engagement and deep meaning with this incarnation and then we peel back the layers of misperception and reveal the Yogic bliss that was always inside. 

Ananda Hum – I am Bliss. 

Hanuman Das  

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