SriKumar wrote:Agreed that it is difficult to objectively measure happiness and I cannot supply proof, but would you not agree that there are swamijis/yogis who own nothing and are happy?
I think a lot of confusion still persists on the question of Ananda, as also some claims regarding the "practical" means to attain that state of Ananda.
Why do we seek Ananda ?
Let's deal with an example.
No-one is irritated that the eyeball is in the eye-socket, or that eyes see,- it is all natural.
But the moment, we have a speck of dust in our eye, we cannot stand it,- the condition is unnatural, and must be gotten rid of.
Similarly, no-one complains if one is Blissful.
But as soon as there is Sorrow, we feel that it is unnatural, and that we must do something to remove it.
If Ananda was just a thought/experience like Sorrow, then what difference does it make if we experienced Bliss or Sorrow ?
We seek Bliss/Ananda because that is our natural state of being.
The moment we experience limitations, we feel unhappy, and feel an urge to change the situation.
When a person says "I want" this or that to be happy, what that person really means is that the limitation troubles him, and all he really wants is to be free of all wants.
To say "I want" is really to say "I don't want to have any wants".
In other words, the fundamental problem is the sense of limitation and lack of Bliss, and the consequent desire to overcome limitation and attain Bliss.
This is crucial to understand,- without correctly identifying the problem, it is impossible to identify the solution.
How to overcome limitation ?
Simple, says one and all,- DO something to BECOME infinite.
If you read books, ask people, a myriad of solutions are presented to you :
1) Chant, and be happy
2) Meditate and be happy
3) Raise your Kundalini up from Muladhara to Sahasrara, and be happy.
4) Do devotional service and be happy
5) 'Merge' with Brahman in Yogic Samadhi and be happy
and so on...
The question is, how do you BECOME infinite ( Ananta ) ?
You KNOW you are finite, and all your actions are finite.
Finite + Finite can NEVER be infinite.
So, can you EVER become
No, right ?
But, some "practical" advisors in this forum will say that "through Yoga and Samadhi" you can EXPERIENCE the Infinite Bliss, the Anantam-Brahman-Anandam.
What does that tell you ?
There was a chocolate bliss, an icecream bliss, a trip-to-Bahamas/Maui-bliss, and so on that you experienced in all these years, and now - to get enlightened - you have that one more bliss to experience,- Brahman-Bliss.
All you have to do is to blank out all thoughts through some techniques or some intoxicant ( yeah! ), and - presto - Brahman-bliss will be there in all glory!
Well, how do you KNOW that it is Brahman-bliss ? Does the Bliss come and identify itself "I am Brahman-bliss" like the mythical burning-bush did to Moses ?
So, why is it any different from the Bliss you 'experience' after copulating with the most beautiful maiden, or eating the most scrumptious meal etc ?
Well, says the advisor,- it is different because there is no thought when you experience it.
This is strange,- it means that where Thought is, Brahman is not, and vice versa.
Well, Brahman is Purnam, or the Whole. So how can "thought" be outside the Whole ?
Now, when my Samadhi ends, I am back to square one,- limited and Unhappy.
So, obviously, what I experience did nothing to end my problem.
Now, we already saw that you CANNOT become
So, what's the solution ?
Well, let's see if we got the PROBLEM correct.
The Problem is that I don't know who 'I' am, and incorrectly identify myself with 'objects' of my knowledge,- body( I am tall), senses(I am near-sighted), mind(I am unhappy), intellect( I am successful) and so on.
In other words, the problem is one of Ignorance.
And ignorance can only
be removed by knowledge.
The FACT that I am already
Satyam-Jananam-Anantam does not help me, because I am ignorant of it.
The KNOWLEDGE that 'I am Satyam-Jnanam-Anantam Brahman' will dispel that ignorance about my Self, and remove the root problem of my unhappiness ( I am limited ).
The Swamis/Yogis who are happy without having anything - as pointed bout by SriKumar - are so because they have ATTAINED this knowledge.
It is knowledge alone that liberates. 'Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye'.
That is why the Gita says,- "Na hi Jnanena Sadrisham Pavitram iha vidyate" [ There is nothing as purifying as knowledge ]
I hope it clarifies any doubt at least for some people.