Three Kinds of Happiness – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 36-39

Happiness & Inner Peace

36
Now hear from Me, Best of the Bharatas, the three kinds of happiness that are enjoyed through the repeated practice by which one reaches the end of sorrows.

  • Happiness (sukha) – ‘having a good axel hole’; easy, auspicious, pleasant, agreeable, gentle, mild, comfortable, happy, prosperous, virtuous.

This verse is saying that by the repeated God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching Arjuna (and us), one not only finds happiness and enjoyment, but reaches the end of sorrows.

Now He will tell us of three forms of happiness that arise as a result of this practice. In addition to the increased happiness one experiences in everyday life, it also applies specifically to the practice itself.

Those of you who are already engaged in surrender sadhana will be relieved to learn that states of unhappiness arising in your meditation are the overall effect of the purification this practice entails, and leads to a deeper, more lasting happiness. By knowing this, it is hoped that you will understand and stop worrying that you are doing something wrong, or that there is something amiss with the sadhana. Understanding this, your sadhana, and your happiness in everyday life, can only grow.  

37 — Sattvic Happiness
That which is like poison in the beginning and changes to nectar, that happiness is the tranquillity of one’s own self-knowing, and is sattvic.

Get to know yourself. You may be surprised!
Have a close look at yourself. You may be pleasantly surprised!

When in the God-practice of Surrender Meditation you begin looking inside yourself, it may be painful and even embarrassing. If you don’t experience this, you are holding yourself back from self-discovery. Even sages and seers have been through this; it is what got them where they are. But once you begin self-study with complete self-honesty, it won’t take long to get past it. Then you are on your way to realizing your True Self as divine, perfect and imperishable, and reaching that real happiness that is “the tranquillity of your own self-knowing.”

Your joy will be so much greater than your embarrassment, that you will wonder why it took you so long to get here, when this happiness is what you were looking for all along. Now you know where it is (in You), and how to access it.

38 — Rajasic Happiness

Get excited about yourself.
Get excited about yourself

That happiness which, through the union of the senses with their objects, is like nectar in the beginning and like poison in the end, is rajasic.

When your senses present you with nice things that you like, you feel happy. But this does not last, for while the Real You is eternal, all objects of sense in this physical-material world are temporal and subject to change. Even the sense organs themselves are in this world of life and death, whereas the Real You is beyond this, and eternal. So stop looking for happiness in the world, and instead, look inside.

With the regular practice of Surrender Meditation (God-practice), this will become clear to you, as your senses become introverted and separated from their organs and you behold miraculous things directly (without the aid of your mind or sense organs). This happens as a result of the passionate and exciting repetition of this God-practice. 

39 — Tamasic Happiness
That happiness which, from beginning to end, is self-deceptive and arises from avoidance and negligence, is tamasic.

One who does not care to look for the Real, and do what needs to be done in order to realize and attain it, is tamasic.

Kick back, chill out and pig-out
Kick back, chill out and pig-in.

The tamasic person never has any real happiness because he is self-deceived, a pretender, and content to remain so. He continues to avoid taking the trouble to wake up and seek Truth. He avoids this troublesome venture at all costs.

I have met a few people who have come to me for shaktipat because they had begun thinking about this, and sought to find someone who would take them to the end with one touch. No real shaktipat guru would do this. Such a thing would be a grave disservice to the seeker.

No one can take your journey for you. There is no way around it. You have to do the work. 

You may delude yourself into thinking that you already have happiness, but if you have not walked this road, you do not have happiness that will last. This is the prize awaiting you for taking this journey. It will keep you happily expectant and inspired with small bites of genuine happiness along the way. It is an adventurous journey that, no matter what arises, you will come to love. And you will thank the powers that be for getting you on this road to Happiness that never wanes.

When you have become truly enlightened, you will realize that you still have to walk the road to the finish line.

The Highest Happiness of Tamas

Another meaning of tamasic happiness for advanced practitioners of surrender sadhana is the sleep of Yoga (yoga nidra), and later, the darkness of the Absolute in nirbija samadhi. In both cases tamas has become the highest of the three gunas. (Remember that upside-down tree in chapter 15 ? This gives it a whole new meaning!).

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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Three Kinds of Resolve – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 33-35

Determined

Previously:
Now hear the three kinds of intelligence and resolve, together and separately, according to the gunas, Conqueror of Wealth — Verse 29

Conqueror of Wealth – By calling Arjuna Conqueror of Wealth, Lord Krishna is saying to Arjuna that intelligence and resolve are forms of wealth that he possesses.

Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, the ability to differentiate, discern and judge. Buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to differentiate and figure things out.

Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; courageously holding resolute determination without wavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.

Resolve

Determination

33 — Sattvic Resolve
That resolve by which the functions of the mind, the vital breath and the senses are held unwaveringly in yoga, is sattvic.

  • Mind (manas) – the part of the mind that receives perceptions.
    • Attention – the flow of consciousness to perceptible ‘objects’.
  • Vital breath (prana) – the Life Energy that keeps you alive.
    • Attention and Life Energy always travel together.
  • The senses (indriyas) – the abilities that you have to hear, see, touch, taste and smell.
  • Held (avyabhicharin, ‘steady’) – withdrawn, stilled and concentrated in one place in the body . When the senses are withdrawn from external objects and steadily concentrated at the throat chakra without wavering, the mind and Prana follow suit. When this is accomplished, one experiences pratyāharā.
  • Yoga (divine union) – the equanimity of samadhi (sameness) and direct experience (experience without any via). Pratyāharā is the turning point of Yoga.
  • In verse 30, we discussed the two fundamental paths (pravṛitti and nivṛitti) in which the first, the use of the will is applied, and in the second it is not. We can look at sattvic resolve either way. This verse is generally translated for the path of the will (pravṛitti marga). Now let’s see what it looks like in terms of nivṛitti marga, the path of non-willful action, surrender to Absolute God:

Determined RenunciateWith the path of the will (pravṛitti marga), to meditate you use your will to (1) withdraw your attention internally, (2) hold your mind still, (3) and hold the Life Energy still.

In the non-willful path (nivṛitti marga), you do none of these. You don’t have to. You have realized through your experience with non-willful meditation that, if you truly surrender yourself to God, God will manage your meditation and take care of all this, and the senses, the mind and Life Energy will spontaneously stop moving.

When this happens you have turned a corner in your meditation. This is known as pratyahara, the magical moment in deep meditation when the door to samadhi opens. In the early stages of samadhi there are journeys filled with unimaginable adventures, places and beings, all wondrous to behold.

  • Samadhi – joining together, uniting (yoga), a unified state of mind, equanimity.

34 — Rajasic Resolve
But the firm hold to duty, desire and wealth, with attachment and desire for the results of actions, is rajasic.

Desire produces willful action. I have said this before, but be reminded that this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is what most people do. It is the norm. Everyone likes to be part of the norm in order to be accepted. But this comes at a cost … you don’t move on to the next phase of life in which your norm becomes the non-willful path of nivṛitti marga. If you do not move on to this, your progress will come to an end. If you do, you will regard your previous phase of pravṛitti marga as a blessing that got you to this place.

I have been accused of being elitist in my teaching of surrender yoga. But it is not a matter of one path being better than the other. It is a matter of one coming after the other, and which is most suitable for each individual according to their personal dharma and their stage of live (see verse 30 for more on this subject). 

35 — Tamasic Resolve
That resolve by which one holds on to the intoxication of imaginings, fears, grief and despair, is tamasic.

Described in this way, tamasic resolve seems to exclude any spiritual path at all. One is encumbered with cravings and sorrows to the point of being so completely distracted by them, that it is almost impossible to see anything else. This is a hard place to be. But one can use imagination to counter fears, sorrows and despair. The problem is that the tamasic person often has little or no contact with others other than those who are also living in this dark place, and so does not make this simple discovery.

A cave for a home is sheer determination!
A cave for a home.

Most people I have come across who are in this bind, cannot allow themselves to get out of it. Just finding a small interlude between traumas is difficult. They are ‘attached’ to this state of darkness. It is ‘who they are’. Identified with this state as who they are, they cannot imagine it changing or disappearing, for this would mean that they would disappear and cease to exist.    

Attachment is not only applicable to desires for likable things, but one may be attached to something not in their best interest and not even realize it. 

Perhaps you have had times like this and can identify with it to some degree. If so, try to imagine what it would be like to live in this state all the time, and allow your empathy to go to these suffering people with the love and compassion they so badly need.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

Three Kinds of Intelligence – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 29-32

Intelligence - rajas, tamas, sattva

Intelligence (buddhi) – intellect, reason, differentiation, discernment, judgement; buddhi is the power of the mind that forms ideas, imaginations, conceptions, and knows how to figure things out.

Resolve (dhṛtes) – standing firm in the course of your practice; holding, resolute, courageous, determined and unwavering. You don’t quit when the going gets rough, or when you aren’t getting what you think you want.

29
Now hear the three kinds of intelligence and resolve, together and separately, according to the gunas, Conqueror of Wealth:

Intelligence

Buddhi – Reason, Discernment and Judgment

30 — Sattvic Intelligence (correctly discerning)
That intelligence which knows willful action from non-willful action, what is one’s duty and what is not, what is to be feared and what is not to be feared, and what is binding and what is liberating, is sattvic intelligence.

  • Willful action (pravṛitti) – acting to fulfill desires
  • Non-willful action (nivṛitti) – renunciation of action as one’s own doing
  • Duty (kārya) – required action
  • Not duty (ākārya) – action that is not required

Two Paths

Two Paths

There are two fundamental paths of spiritual advancement: pravritti marga and nivritti marga (marga means ‘path’).

The first of these, pravritti marga, the path of the will, is the first path you follow from childhood into adulthood, under the guidance of Guru (your parents are your first gurus, and later your teachers are your gurus). 

Ideally, during this time, your spiritual path, your career path and your life path work together. You learn and practice universal spiritual principles that act as the foundation for sustained success in all three — spiritual, career and life in general. During this time, you practice these principles in daily life, find and implement your career, have a family, and practice the teachings of Guru (a teacher that knows the way and can guide you in this). This prepares you for nivritti marga.

Nivritti marga, the path of non-willful action, is called the path of renunciation. What is being renounced is your sense of action as your own doing. This is not a path in which one remains involved with worldly duties and responsibilities. The only required action is the practice of a teaching lineage in which surrender (by any name) to Absolute God (by any name) is the main practice. This God-practice, which Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna, is your only ‘required’ action.

Old man meditatingThis new lifestyle begins around the age of 50, or when your first grandchild is born, which ever comes first. Because the main practice needs proper conditions, you seek out a proper place and go to that place to live. You are not necessarily estranged from your family, but your Guru and your practice are your first and most important priorities.

Once some headway is gained in your practice, you become experienced and Guru may ask you to teach others. When one will be ready for this path varies from person to person. The age of 50 is a rule of thumb based on what is natural for most people. Here I would cite the exception of Jesus, who began at a very early age. 

31 — Rajasic Intelligence (prone to flaw or confusion)
Intelligence that is incorrect in the distinction between righteousness and unrighteousness, what is right and what is wrong, is rajasic intelligence, Son of Prita.

  • Righteousness (dharma) – what is considered to be proper action; right or correct action (kārya).
  • Unrighteousness (adharma) – that which is considered to be improper action; wrong or incorrect action (ākārya).

32 — Tamasic Intelligence (incorrect, backwards)
Intelligence that is enveloped in darkness and imagines unrighteousness to be righteousness and has everything backwards, is tamasic intelligence.

When one understands righteousness and unrighteousness backwards and the opposite of Truth, one’s intelligence is tamasic.


You are probably wondering which of these three kinds of intelligence applies to you. But in truth, we all have a little bit of all three, though one will probably be more prominent than the others. Suffice it to say that we can all profit by aiming at complete sattvic intelligence until that time as we attain full enlightenment, which comes by means of the God-practice Lord Krishna is teaching. 

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com