What is True Happiness?
Question: Can you explain what true happiness is in relation to just being happy with the surroundings and myself, which seems so shallow and superficial?
Answer: Our real nature is true happiness. Our ultimate nature is true happiness. Every other kind of happiness is not true, because every other kind of happiness, as you know, changes, and is temporary; but also something which is pleasurable in the moment may be painful the next moment. The same object that was pleasurable may become painful later on!
Swami Sivananda describes it: “The first cup of milk is pleasurable, the second cup of milk is OK, the third cup of milk is disgusting, and the fourth cup of milk is painful.” And if we really want to punish you, we will continue to give you cups of milk. The same with things that are pleasurable in the beginning. In the long run they become painful. Our beautiful body bestows upon us pleasure and happiness. But wait and see. Wait and see. For example, our bright mind bestows upon us felicity and happiness. But wait and see. That mind surely will bring lots and lots and lots of suffering.
As much as we look, we cannot find true happiness, neither in the body, nor in the mind, nor in the objects of the senses. Then where can we find true happiness? True happiness is our own essential nature. It is like heat and light. This is the nature of fire. Similarly, pure bliss, or ultimate happiness is in the nature of the Self, of the Atman. It is our real nature, meaning, when our mind is completely pure, when our mind is completely still in meditation, we experience the nature of our true Self, which is utmost happiness — utmost felicity. This is true happiness, not the false happiness that comes out of the contact between the senses and the objects of the senses, not this type of happiness. This is not true happiness.
True happiness comes through meditation because through meditation we learn to purify the mind and to make it completely still. Then we experience the true happiness of our own Self. Our own Self means our essential nature. And this is true. This is real happiness. And by following the practice of the path we can experience, in the beginning momentarily, this vast and immense felicity, which is the bliss of our own essential nature. This is not philosophy, this is real. This can be realized. This can be experienced.
Swami Swaroopananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda. A practicing yogi from a very young age, Swami Swaroopananda has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga. He taught in Yoga Teacher Training Courses around the world and is currently teaching advanced yoga philosophy courses and lectures internationally. He is Director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and acharya (spiritual director) for the Sivananda centers and ashrams in the Bahamas and the Middle East. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.