A non-believer may explain it like this: There is no question of reconciliation here, because that is the nature of the process. The only meaningful pursuit in life is to extend the duration of the pleasure by some means. Efforts should be made only to that end.
The True Happiness of Life
This is not correct. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him. It is known that the first thing he would seek is sleep and then food and then the pleasure from outside objects. Even when the pleasurable objects and food are in good supply and he is deprived of the pleasure of sleep, he would give up everything and take pills to get sleep. If there is an obstruction for sleep, he would rather reject his wife or children or wealth. Therefore, it is clear that the pleasure from outside objects, the pleasure from food and the pleasure of sleep are in their increasing order. Therefore sleep, known in Sanskrit as sushupti, is the greatest happiness.
Objection: How can there be happiness when there are no objects at all?
Reply: Are you not getting happiness in dreams where there are no objects at all?
Objection: The object of happiness in dreams is the vasana of objects.
Resolution: But you are happy in sushupti where there is not even a vasana?
Question: In that case it means that there is no connection at all between happiness and the objects. Then how is it that one gets happiness while in contact with the object?
The Vedanta Way to Peace and Happiness
Without knowing this, the jiva in wakeful state hankers after pleasurable objects according to his vasanas. When he comes into contact with the desired object, he gets happiness because of his identification with it (tadatmya). At the time of contact he is unaware of everything, even the object. Indeed the transient happiness he experiences is a consequence of the removal of the veil on his own ananda during that period. This happiness was triggered by his past punya. The moment the punya that triggered this happiness is exhausted, the happiness terminates. The veil comes up again and the duality returns.
Taittiriya Upanisad (Set of 2 Volumes)
Therefore, the reason for happiness in sensual contact with an object is not the object, but the removal of the veil on one’s ananda swarupa (essential nature). Nevertheless, it is called vishaya-sukha, or happiness derived from external objects because because the process was triggered by contact with the external object (Taittiriya Upanishad 2.5.4). In this way, we realise that even sensual happiness is only a fragment of Brahmananda and is not the result of contact with the object of happiness.
In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief). It occurs when we are unable to attain a desired sensual pleasure or we are deprived of some pleasure which we already possess. We have seen above that material pleasure is the result of the temporary removal of the veil over one’s own swarupa.
This implies that grief or dukha is the result of the veil on our swarupa. Thus we realise a significant difference between grief and material pleasure. In material pleasure, though the notion that it is coming from a particular object is wrong, the pleasure is only his swarupa. On the other hand, grief has no connection with the swarupa at all.
This article is based almost entirely on the teachings of Pujya Swami Paramanand Bharati Ji. However, any errors are entirely the author's own.
References & Further Reading:
Your email address will not be published *
Email a Friend