The gentle nature of the happiness that results from divine union (yoga) keeps the yogi returning to the meditation room, and safe from falling away from Yoga.
Ch. 5, vs. 21-22: One who is not attached to contact with what is outside themself but finds happiness within through yoga, enjoys a gentle happiness. Pleasures and enjoyments born of contact are temporal, and are indeed sources of unhappiness, Son of Kunti. The wise person is not content with them.
One who is not attached to contact with what is outside themself but finds happiness within through Yoga, enjoys a gentle happiness.
Union with the Divine, God/Truth.
“Contact with what is outside themself”
Contact of the senses with their objects: the sense smell with odor, the sense of taste with flavor, the sense of touch with physical sensation, the sense of sight with seeing, the sense of hearing with sound.
One often hears someone say, “If I can see it, touch it and feel it, it is real”. This describes normality. But this verse is suggesting that what is ‘real’ is within us and that this is what will bring us real happiness, not normality. Nothing, including true happiness, can be found outside ourselves where everything is temporal and changeable. But what is within is eternal because We are eternal—eternal embodied individual entities who are never born and never die.
In the material world where perception is through the senses, the contact of the senses with their objects tells us what to accept as ‘real’, even when it is not. The Sanskrit word for ‘contact’ literally means ‘tangibility, anything perceptible by touch’, so “contact with what is outside” is often translated as external sensations, or external sense objects. This seduction by what is outside ourselves is what prevents us from experiencing our natural state of true happiness and fulfillment.
“Finds happiness within through Yoga”
The gentle nature of the happiness resulting from divine union (yoga) does not lose its appeal over time, and keeps the yogi returning to the meditation room and safe from falling away from Yoga.
Pleasures and enjoyments born of contact are temporal, and are indeed sources of unhappiness, Son of Kunti. The wise person is not content with them.
Seeking our happiness in the material world is futile. This kind of happiness is not only temporal, but actually causes unhappiness (‘difficulty, sorrow, trouble, suffering, torment’).
“Pleasures and enjoyments born of contact”
Stated in this way, this phrase suggests that there is pleasure and enjoyment to be had that is not ‘born of contact’. This is the ‘happiness’ mentioned in the previous verse.
Our natural state of true and lasting happiness is eternally present within us, but our attention is always flowing outward to the things (objects, including people) in the material world, seduced by the promise of satisfaction and fulfillment. In other words, as long as we accept this, we are duped by the phenomena the senses present us with, and cheated of genuine happiness.
“Son of Kunti”
Krishna addresses Arjuna with another epitaph:
Kunti, Arjuna’s mother, was the wife of one of the Pandus (risk-takers), the good-guys in this story. During this time she payed homage to a sage, an incarnation of Shiva, who taught her an incantation for conceiving a child with any god she invoked. First she invoked the Sun and bore a son, and later three more sons by three different gods. The third of these was Arjuna, by the god Indra.
Indra (‘power, sense powers, lord of heaven’), situated in the heavens (the head), pushes up the Sky (Prana) to release the goddess of the dawn who wards off darkness. What is hidden becomes revealed, and the soma becomes amrita, the nectar of immortality. With the union of Earth and Heaven, the transformation to Divine Body begins. The union of Kunti, the Earth (the physical world), and Indra (the world of Heaven and the Sense Powers) resulted in Arjuna.
Arjuna is the “Son of Kunti”. By addressing Arjuna with this epitaph, Krishna is suggesting that his physical nature as a human being (Kunti) and his power to perceive and to know (Indra), are both involved in the Karma Yoga that is his dharma. Considering that sense powers can be understood as the sense organs or as the sense abilities, he could either land himself in enjoyment and temporal happiness ‘born of contact’ or, if he is “the wise person” who is not content with this, into the gentle and pleasant happiness of yoga as mentioned in the previous verse. We conclude by this, that we have a choice to make.
One who achieves union with God/Truth (yoga) is the God-knowing person who finds their greatest pleasure within. The way in is through meditation, where one enjoys pleasure and happiness that is far beyond what is available externally. This is where you will find your real Self, and where you will find God/Truth, which is Itself unimagined happiness.
Bring out your ability to be completely self-honest and ask yourself: Will I remain connected with the intermittent pleasures and enjoyments of this world, or will I be a “wise person” who is not content with this, and seek true happiness through union with The Absolute, God, Truth?
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),