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THE PATH OF ULTIMATE HAPPINESS

We are all in search of that something special in our lives that would give us the ultimate feeling of happiness. All that we do, all that we see, hear and think is to attain that special blissful feeling inside us. The search is on for something that we want. What it is that we are looking for? We may not know but the search goes on and this search has continued since infinite lifetimes.

The Vedic philosophy says, that this search is not confined to just one lifetime. The Vedas tell us that, “What you seek is inside you.”

What you are endeavouring to find is already with you. The supreme Lord is seated in your heart. He is perpetually and eternally with you. ‘God is perpetually with us.’ Why? because he is all pervading in this Universe.


eko devaḥ sarvabhūteṣhu gūḍhaḥ sarvavyāpī

(Shvetashvatar Upanishad 6.11)

prabhu vyāpaka sarvatra samānā (Ramayan) 

mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ

jagad avyakta-mūrtinā

mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni

na chāhaṁ teṣhv avasthitaḥ 

(Bhagavad Gita 9.4)


Ask a child, “Do you believe there is a God? It would normally say “Yes.” Where? “Everywhere.” Now these are words we all accept intuitively, realize that God is everywhere. That means wherever we go God is present. So we are perpetually united with him. You cannot leave him even for a moment. Can you find a spot where He is not present?

In Tretā-yug, Lord Shri Ram on His 14-year exile in the forest, came to the ashram of the Saint Valmiki. Valmiki had already by his divine vision and written the epic, Ramayan – the pastimes that the Lord will perform and was waiting for His arrival. When Shri Ram came, as a matter of social etiquette, offered His respect to the Great Maharshi and Valmiki offered his respect to His worshipable God. Lord Ram asked Valmiki “Maharshi! where should i reside in this forest?” Valmikiji gave an answer that silenced the Lord Himself !


pūñchhehu mohi ki rahauñ kahañ maiṅ pūñchhat sakuchāuñ

jahañ na hohu tahañ dehu kahi tumhahi dekhāvaūñ ṭhāuñ (Ramayan)


He said “My Lord, you have questioned me where should I  reside in this forest. I will answer it, before that I have a question for you. Tell me one place in this forest where you do not reside? One place! and then I will tell you to spend your 14 years out there!”

In other words, the Lord is everywhere, so wherever we go He is present. He is perpetually with us and is eternally with us because he is seated in our hearts.


nityo nityānāṁ chetanaśh chetanānām

eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān (Katha Upanishad 2.2.13)


This mantra figures in the Kathopanishad, it is also there in the Mundakopanishad and the Shvetashwataropanishad. It states that our soul is sentient not by its own power but because the supremely sentient God is seated inside the soul. The soul is eternal but not by itself but because God has made it eternal.  If the God was to leave us even for a tiny fraction of a second our personality would seize to exist without him.

The Lord cannot be separated with us for a moment. He is perpetually and eternally with us. Yet we are looking for Him – isn’t that very strange? and yet we have not found him. What is the reason? There is one reason and that is Agyan (Ignorance).


ajñānamevāsya hi mūlakāraṇaṁ


Vedvyas ji Says in the Adhyatma Ramayan, the only thing separating the soul from God is ignorance. If that ignorance could be dispelled, God would be found.

We need to dispel that ignorance with the light of divine knowledge. Let us first decide what is it that we are looking for. If it was said that we are looking for something and then we jump to the conclusion that we are looking for God, one can question, ‘That is illogical. How do you assume that we are looking for God?’ We don’t want God. May be some of us do, but there are so many in the world who don’t want Him. There are many people who declare I am an atheist, a communist, a fascist and so on. There are so many theories going around in the world today and it is essential to understand our basic nature and what we seek.

The Vedas tell us, ‘ Nobody in this world is atheist.’


loke nahi sa vidyeta yo na rāmamanuvrataḥ


There is no soul in this world who is not devoted to the Lord Ram. Everyone is surrendered to the Lord. And if you may think that Valmiki committed an error, Tulsidas who wrote Hindi Ramayan confirms,


asa ko jīva jaṁtu jaga māhīṅ jehī raghunātha prānapriya nāhīṅ


He included all the living entities – the birds, the bees, the fish, etc. – they are also devotees of Lord Ram. But how is that so? It does not seems quite obvious because there is always duality in the world. There is religion – irreligiosity, God – Maya, Truth – Untruthfulness. In the same way there is believer – the devotee, and there must be an atheist. How does the Vedas say that there is nobody in this world who is an atheist?

Let us try and figure out what is our motivation in life. Ask a youngster ‘what do you want?’ He says, ‘I wish to pass my final exam in school.’ He has got his goal set. Why do you wish to clear the final exam? ‘So that I can get promotion into the next grade.’ Why do you want promotion into the next grade? ‘So that in I will become a post graduate.’ Oh! why do you want to be a post graduate? ‘As I need to get a job. I wish to be successful. If i get a good job, I can earn money.’ Yes! That’s more like it. You want money. ‘Yes’. But why do you want money? ‘With money I can get the things of this material world.’ What are the things that you want? ‘ Things to see, touch, smell and hear.’

God has given us human being five senses and we hanker for the objects of this senses. The whole world is a subject of our 5 senses and that is why we want the objects of the world for these five senses.’ Why do you want this five kind of things? ‘ Well that will give me happiness, peace, bliss, etc. Ok you want happiness. ‘That’s right.’

Let us ask another question. Why do you want happiness? ‘That I don’t know.’ We all want happiness. Why do we want happiness? We don’t know. Ask anybody in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Bangladesh, India, or any country. Ask anyone, ‘What do you want?’ Whatever he says, ask him why do you want it and whatever he says, ask again, What is that you want?’

Where will this chain end? In happiness. In other words we all want happiness. That is the universal goal for all of us.

Where does happiness lie? Everybody has their own decisions.

Every person’s intellect is different. No two leaves of a tree are alike. Everyone has their own personal opinion about what will give them happiness. One person thinks that if India defeats Pakistan in the final of a cricket match, it will give him happiness. The other thinks if Brazil defeats Argentina in the world cup finals, it will give him happiness. Each person has his own personal opinion, but the goal is one. So we all want happiness and it is for that happiness that we want all the other things.

Aristotle had stumbled upon this truth without access to Vedic knowledge 2,500 years ago when he said we seek honour, wealth and prestige because they bring us happiness but we seek happiness for itself and never with a view for anything further. So the primary question was – why do we want happiness? That we don’t know. We know we want happiness, why do we want it? – we don’t know.

Do we see anyone in this world who wants suffering instead of happiness? There is nobody like that, not even an insane person in a mad house. Why is that so? There is so much of variety in this world. There is variety in every aspect. Why isn’t there someone who seeks sadness instead of bliss? Everybody’s facial appearances are different, that is why you can recognise people. If everybody was moulded alike, then you would you be able to differentiate one from the other? Even our voices are different. Even the finger prints of people are different. There are 7 billion people on planet Earth, all of them have different finger prints. People’s bodily aroma is different.

But in this case, all of us have just one slogan ‘Happiness Happiness’. Did somebody teach us ‘Seek only happiness.’ We learnt everything else from our parents and teachers, “My son! always speak the truth. My child! never steal anything.” Did somebody teach us, “My child! desire only happiness. It should not come about that you start striving for misery.” This instruction was never given to us.

We never learnt anything without being taught. We were taught to recognise our mother when we were born as we had no sense of recognition. In other words, even the slightest bit of knowledge didn’t come to us naturally. Whether it was the letters of the alphabet or numerals, without being taught, we did not have any knowledge. But this big piece of knowledge, that we are only supposed to desire happiness and not misery, how did this come to us without being taught?

There definitely must be some deep secret behind this and throughout the day, all the activities that we do are also for the sake of happiness. This desire for happiness was expressed by us the very moment we were born. What is the first thing we did? we cried. Why did we cry? Because at birth we experienced distress, so by crying we revealed our nature – ‘I have not come in this world for miseries, I have come for happiness’ and since that point till today, everything we did 24 hours a day was for the sake of happiness.

Why then is this desire within us? This is the fundamental question of spirituality and our spiritual journey begins with this question. A great part of the answer to that question can be found if we can find out the nature of God.

In the Taittariyopanishad  – the Bhrigu Valli, a discussion takes place between Bhrigu and Varun. Bhrigu was a great sage in Indian history. He desired to attain divine knowledge and decided to ask his father Varun, a great Brahmagyani and make him his Guru. So Bhrigu went to Varun and said,


adhīhi bhagavo brahmeti” (Taittiriya Upanishad 3.1)

Oh Sage! today I have come not as your son but as a student. I wish to know that supreme entity whom somebody calls Bhagavan, and some Paramatma. Others call him Brahm or God. Who is that?

Varun said,


yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante yena jātāni jīvanti

yatprayantyabhisaṁviśhanti (Taittiriya Upanishad 3.1)


God is He from whom all living beings have emanated, God is He within whom all living beings are seated, God is He into whom all living beings will merge finally. Have you understood? Bhrigu drew a blank face and Varun realized that God is not a matter to be explained in words.

He said,


tadvijijñāsasva

tad brahmeti (Taittiriya Upanishad 3.1)


“Go and practice austerities and you will realize Him from experience.” Bhrigu followed suit.


sa tapo’ tapyata

sa tapastaptvā (Taittiriya Upanishad 3.1)


He went and performed severe austerities and he experienced deeper and deeper realizations that is described in the Bhrigu Valli. Finally he realized,


ānando brahmeti vyajānāt

ānandādhdayeva khalvimāni bhūtāni jāyante

ānandena jātāni jīvanti

ānandaṁ prayantyabhisaṁviśhantīti (Taittiriya Upanishad 3.6)


He said God is bliss or ‘Anand.’ All of us souls have emanated from that bliss, we are situated in that bliss, we shell merge into that bliss. When Bhrigu said that, Varun said ‘Very good my son! you have understood the nature of God.’

In other words God is Anand or Bliss in nature. That is why the word for God in Sanskrit is Satchitānanda.

 satyaṁ vijñānaṁ ānandaṁ brahma (Vedas)

ānandamayo ‘bhyāasāt (Vedānta Darśhana 1.1.12)

ānanda siñdhu madhya tava vāsā (Ramayan)

ānanda mātra kara pāda mukhodarādi (Padma Puran)


The Padm Puran says the Feet of God, His hand, His stomach, His head – they are all made of Bliss. So God is the nature of Bliss. The Chhāndogya Upaniṣhad sums it all up :

sa evādhastāt sa upariṣhṭāt sa paśhchāt sa purastāt sa dakṣhiṇataḥ sa uttarataḥ (7.25.1).

God is such an ocean of bliss that He has got Bliss inside, Bliss outside, Bliss in front, Bliss behind, bliss to the left, bliss to the right, bliss above, bliss below. That ocean of bliss is God.

You must have heard people say, ‘There is happiness, bliss in God.’ That is wrong. That is only a figure of speech, like people say there is water in the ocean. Now water in the ocean! What is the ocean? Is there a synonym for the ocean? That is just a manner of expression. The ocean itself is water. Colloquially, you may say there is water in the ocean but that is not really correct. The ocean itself is the water. Similarly, somebody may say there is bliss in God. But the Vedas say, ‘No. God himself is bliss.’


raso vai saḥ  (Taittiriya Upaniṣhad 2.7.2)


God and Bliss are synonymous in the Vedic Philosophy. God is Bliss – Bliss is God. And what are we all looking for? For Bliss, for happiness. And that bliss is himself God, so what are we looking for? For God himself. quite easily done. QED. Simple logic – If we are looking for happiness and happiness alone and nothing apart from happiness, then happiness is God. That means we are looking for God and God alone, nothing apart from Him. Now nobody can seek anything different from happiness. Nobody can seek for misery. So nobody can seek anything apart from God. No matter how much they try for endless lifetimes, for even a fraction of moment all you will seek is happiness that means all you will seek is God. You may not know it, you may say “I don’t believe in God.” For example, a child may go to her mother and say, ‘Mummy, I don’t believe in your husband.’ The mother says, “My child! What are you saying! Do you believe in your father? “Yes I believe in father but I don’t believe in your husband. The mother says, ‘You stupid boy, that person I address as husband is the same person you address as father!’

They are two ways of addressing the same personality there are not two different personalities. Similarly, somebody may say, ‘I am an atheist, I don’t believe in God.’ Mr. Atheist! Do you believe in happiness? ‘Of course, I do, but I don’t believe in God.’ That happiness which you believe in, is the synonym of God and no matter how much you try you cannot dissociate yourself from the desire for happiness.

The biggest materialistic philosopher in Vedic history has been Charvak. You may have heard of his philosophy,


yāvajjvaju sukhaṁ jīvet, ṛiṇaṁ kṛitvā ghṛitaṁ pivet

bhasmbelieve in ṁ jin ṁ, ṛiṇaṁ kṛitvṁ kutaḥ


He says there is no life after death. This life is all that there is. As long as you live, if you get happiness from Ghee, then ‘Beg, borrow or steal but drink Ghee’. In modern times, we can say, ‘Beg, borrow or steal but drink Vodka!’

Even though Charvak was such a gross materialist, he says that there is no soul, no God, no heaven, no hell but what is his professed goal? Mr. Charvak was also striving for happiness.

The western world is full of materialistic philosophers. You may have read all these writings of Sigmund Freud, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Plato, Berkley, Fichte, Hegel, Kant, etc. You will find that they were also all searching for happiness.

So the Vedas say that they were all searching for God. Hence, we are all confirmed believers in God. Do you know for how long we have been searching?  It is not a matter of 30, 50 or 100 years. It is a matter of endless lifetimes. The soul is immortal, just like God is eternal the soul is also eternal. In there is one thing we are equal to God, it is this – both are eternal. He cannot impress us with this seniority of age!

We have existed ever since God has existed.  When God creates the world, time begins and before creation there is no time. We have existed since then. So our search for happiness is not of one lifetime and yet we have not found that happiness. You may say that the bliss of God could be very big, but the happiness that we get from Rasgulla and Jalebi (Indian sweets) is also happiness, although small in comparison. No. the definition of happiness is,


yo vai bhūmā tat sukham, nālpe sukham nasti (Chhāndogya Upaniṣhad 7.23.1)


Bliss must be unlimited only then it can satisfy you. Limited happiness that we get in the world will never satisfy the soul. You desire to be a millionaire in the beginning in your student life. You worked hard chasing the great dream and became a millionaire. But are you happy? Temporarily, yes.  But then you see a billionaire and the discontent begins again. ‘Oh! he has got a billion, I have only got a million.’ Is the billionaire happy? No, he looks up at the likes of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, etc. and says, ‘You know, one billion is not enough.’

Whatever the category of happiness we are in, if there is a class beyond that, discontentment sets in. The Vedas know this psychology of humans and tell us that the true happiness that will satisfy the soul is the unlimited bliss of God. Make that bliss the target, then there is no discontentment.

The second nature of true bliss is that it should always remain. If happiness comes and goes then it leaves behind misery. Ask someone, ‘How was your last week?’ A likely answer is, ‘We had such a great time, we went to the super bowl match and really enjoyed it.’ So, what happened today? ‘Today, I have a headache and I had to stay at home. My car is broken and the TV has conked out. I am just sitting at home and getting bored.’ You mean the happiness of yesterday went away? Yes so it did. That is not happiness which comes and it goes.

The happiness that your soul wants is such that misery should never touch it. Once you have got it you have got it forever, that is the bliss of God. Emerson had said, ‘Every sweet has its sour but the bliss of God is different. The sweetness of it can never be tainted by the least bit of misery.’ We have not yet attained that kind of happiness. So we need to first of all understand, ‘Why have we not got it after such a long search? What is wrong?’

Ved Vyas gives the answer in the 37th verse of the 2nd chapter of the 11th cento of the Śhrīmad  Bhāgavatam. He gives a very profound answer,


bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśhataḥ syād

īṣhād apetasya viparyayo ’smṛitiḥ

tan-māyayāto budha ābhajet taṁ

bhaktyaikayeśhaṁ guru-devatātmā


He says that you are looking for happiness in the wrong direction. If you wish to go to Florida from New York, then Florida lies to the South and you are driving towards the North. Florida is getting further and further away. In the same way, you are running for happiness in the wrong direction. We don’t know where happiness lies. This ignorance has come upon us and the reason for this is we have turned our back towards God. If we turn our backs to God what will happen? The cosmic energy, Maya will overcome you.

God is all light. You turn your back to light, what do you have in front? Darkness. Maya is the form of darkness. Ved Vyas says, ‘Because you have turned you back to God, you have been overcome the material energy called Maya.’ And what has this Maya done? It has made us forget who we are.

I am the eternal soul – this knowledge has been covered by ignorance. We assume oursevles to be this body. We go further in identifying ourselves as Indians, Americans, British, etc. We go even further and divide ourselves in terms of language, creed, tribe, caste, etc. All these are bodily designations and we associate ourselves with them.

Ask somebody, can you please tell me who you are ? ‘My name is Peter.’ Well, Mr. Peter, we did not ask your name. This is not your introduction. The name was given to you when you were born. Question him further, he is bound to talk about his profession, country of origin and so on. But is that the ‘real’ you? Finally, he would have no answer. If he were aware, he would say, ‘I am a soul.’

We have no realization of the self. We have forgotten our original divine nature and once we have made that mistake, we forgot who we are. A compounding error begins. If we begin solving a math problem with a wrong equation: 2 + 2 = 5, all the deductions we do, the error will only compound. Similarly when we think,

‘I am this body, what is my goal? ‘ If we assume ourselves to be this body and the aim is to give happiness to the body, we will start running after the happiness of the body.

“What should I see that will give me happiness? What should I eat that will give me happiness?”

We assumed ourselves as the body and started running in the wrong direction. Are we happy?

According to the Vedas, there are only two kinds of people who are happy.


yaśh cha mūḍha tamoloke yaśh cha buddhe paraṅgataḥ

tāvubhausukha medhete klishyantataritojanaḥ


It says, the first category of people who are happy are the God-realized. They have got the bliss of God. The second category of the blissful are the mentally imbalanced. They do not know that they are unhappy. They have gone mad, just like somebody inebriated lying in a gutter! Ask him, “You are lying here! Go home and sleep in your bedroom.” He says, “I am sleeping in the bedroom where else am I sleeping?” His intellect has been destroyed so he assumes that he is in his bedroom.

Similarly Ved Vyas says if somebody is mad, he can say I am happy or if somebody is God-realized. Everybody else will have to accept the reality that we are still not happy. We got that 1 million, we got that coveted masters degree. We got everything, but still no happiness.

So if after all this running, we have not got happiness, does it not mean that we are running in the wrong direction? We need to correct our direction. We should reach this wise conclusion but we do not reach it. Why? Because we think, ‘I am not happy but the other guy must be happy.’ ‘I have got a three bedroom house, but that person who lives in a five bedroom house must be happy. I only drive the Chevy, the person who drives a Mercedes must be happy.’

If we could come to know that nobody is happy, our illusion would be dispelled and we would turn around it.

The first mistake that we made is that we forgot who we are – the eternal soul; we assumed that we are the body and started running in the wrong direction. So we to have decide, ‘I am not the body, I am the soul.’

We will still look for happiness, but not in the wrong direction. We will look for it in the proper direction. In other words, it is not wrong to search for happiness. We all want happiness. Even God-realized saints wanted happiness but sought for it in the right direction but we are searching in the wrong direction.

We are churning lime water and hoping to extract butter from it. Butter does not exist in lime water. If you want butter, you have to churn yogurt.

Similarly when we decide that ‘I am the eternal soul, I am a part of God and the happiness I seek is in God.’, it is then that we will run after God. We will make God-realization the goal of our life.

One of the greatest secrets of seeking God is that He does not have any pre-conditions.  He does not say, ‘Give me a million dollars and I will meet you’. The billionaires would have attained Him in a flash!

God says, ‘If you don’t have any money, it doesn’t matter. If you are lame and you can’t walk to the temple or church to pray, it doesn’t matter. Even the lame come to me; if you don’t have eyes, you can’t see the idol, never mind.’ Soordas, the great saint was blind and yet God-Realized. ‘You don’t have a tongue and cannot speak? It doesn’t matter, even dumb people have attained me.’

God says, any personality in existence must have a mind. There is nobody who exists without a mind. All that God asks is ‘Give me that mind. Love me with your mind, that’s all I want.’


yam evaiṣha vṛiṇute tena labhyas

tasyaiṣha ātmā vivṛiṇute tanūṁ svām (Katha Upanishad 1.2.23)


He is standing with his arms outstretched to embrace us. ‘O soul! Give me your mind’ but we have been unable to give Him our mind. It is the same mind that we have dedicated to the material world — to husband, to wife, children, wealth, to material objects and endless lifetimes have passed. We have not been able to give the one single mind we possess to God.

If we surrender our mind and intellect to God, He will be easily attainable. Just like Arjun did on the battlefield in the Mahabharat, we must resolve that the happiness we seek does not exist in this material world.

The human intellect has been subdued and blunted by the ignorance of the material knowledge it has acquired over countless lifetimes. If a person makes the effort to understand the true nature of the self and realize his true goal, enlightenment would be the natural consequence.

The true path to happiness lies within our hearts, towards God. With the grace of God and a God-realized saint, a person can follow the path of devotion and experience true bliss.