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

Happiness & Inner Peace

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

The Place of No Return – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 15, Vs 5-7


Those who are free of pride and enslavement by the dark night of attachment, are freed from dualities. Having withdrawn from objects of desire and no longer deluded, they dwell in the True Self, and attain the feet of the Eternal.

  • Pride – self-importance, arrogance, vanity, self-adulation, egotism.
  • Enslavement – bound, attached.
  • Freed from dualities – such as ease and dis-ease, pleasure and pain, etc.
  • True Self – The Real You, a divine, perfect, imperishable individual.

In the previous verse on overcoming Attachment, it was said that one must then seek that place where, once having gone, one will not return again … and surrender at His feet. This verse reveals what happens when you do this: you are free, you are not affected by dualities, and you dwell in your True Self — you are your Real Self, the Real You. That’s what happens when you surrender to God. 

When you “dwell in the True Self,” you will have no desires pulling at you because you will have the very thing you have lived for all these many lifetimes. You have discovered that by surrendering yourself to God, you get God; and when you get God, you get your True Self. This is the easiest way to Self-realization. It happens automatically because God and the Real Self are not different. But trying to get your True Self first, or trying to circumvent God altogether in order to get to your True Self, you will fail. The KEY to Self-realization is God-realization … because God and the Real You are not different.

If you believe that you have achieved Self-realization and did so without first realizing God, you are fooling yourself. Many people start this way, but if they are truly Self-realized, they will be the first to tell you that it was God as other-then-self that made it so. 

The key to Self-realization is God-realization

When you “dwell in the True Self,” dualities, like ease and dis-ease, happiness and unhappiness, like and dislike, good and evil, will become neutralized. “Pride and enslavement by the darkness of attachment” will be a distant memory, and you will wonder how in the world could you ever have been so deluded.

It is not desire itself that binds us, but rather our attachments to our desires.

Neither the sun nor the moon nor fire illumine that abode of Mine. Once having gone to that place, one does not return again.

Natural light sources of sun, moon and fire do not illumine His Abode. By now in your meditation, you have visited amazing places where everything shone of their own light, so light sources were not present. This was sabija samadhi. But now, because of the mention of non-return, we find that you have graduated to nirbija samadhi, that ‘place’ where there is no light source because there is no-thing to see. The only thing present here is the unending happiness, rolling bliss, and the complete fulfillment of union with Absolute God/Truth. Having reached it, you are liberated from the cycles of death and rebirth — “one does not return again.”

A small part of My Eternal Self, becoming endowed with life in the world of the living, draws the five senses, with the mind as the sixth, to exist in material nature.

Krishna & Radha
Krishna and Radha as Purusha and Prakriti

A part of God went with You when you became embodied. This caused Your inherent powers of perception and consciousness to become manifest in material nature as five physical sense organs and a brain.

The sense organs are your means of perception (consciousness of), which are received by the brain and mind. These are powers that you have as a living being because they are inherent to the Real You (which is absolute). Here in this world (which is relative), they are the manifestations of your power to Know, drawn into material nature (manifested) by God-in-you: Purushottama.  

While God may seem to be many separate small parts in all of the many separate and different Beings, He is nevertheless what He Is: God, unlimited and Absolute God within each of us here in the Relative Realm of this world.

The powers that you have as a Divine Individual to see, hear, feel, taste, smell and know, become manifest as eyes, ears, skin, tongue, nose and brain. Absolute God’s presence within you makes it so.

Parvati & Shiva
Parvati and Shiva as Prakriti and Purusha

Knowing this, one might be more inclined to put aside trying to using these powers to gratify desires, and instead, reach for the Divine Force that is behind them. This Divine Force is not different than You.

Here in this world, all things known by the mind are obtained by means of the senses.

The ‘Highest Purusha’ is the Divine Individual in the Absolute who first accepted you unconditionally, and as the same as Himself. This relationship you have with Absolute God has caused your ability to Know, to become manifest in the material world as five physical senses so that you can experience it.

Purusha & Prikriti in the Absolute

  • Purusha – a Divine Individual who perceives one or more other Divine Individuals
  • Prakriti – a Divine Individual perceived by one or more other Divine Individuals

Purusha & Prikriti in the Relative Realm

  • Purusha – the Real You 
  • Prakriti – Real Divine Others — all Others that you perceive (even though you erroneously perceive them as Nature)

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

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of reaching a true meditative state without any effort and without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were eventually derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona

“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

The Whole World Is One Family

Beyond Bondage, Bhagavad Gita, Ch 14, Vs 21-27

Yogini liberated from bondage of the gunas

Arjuna spoke:
What are the signs of those who have gone beyond the three gunas? How do they act? How do they get beyond these three gunas?

Alternate translation:
What are the characteristics of someone who has transcended the three gunas? How do they do it, and what does it look like?

22 – 23
The Blessed Lord spoke:
He neither likes nor dislikes the presence or absence of illumination, passion or ignorance. Situated in the neutrality of sameness, he knows that these are merely the gunas in motion, and unshaken, he stands firm.   

One who has transcended the three gunas has transcended the like or dislike of the enlightenment of sattva, the desire-driven activities of rajas, and the non-enlightenment of tamas. Knowing all this to be merely the gunas in action, one is not fooled by them, but remains firm in the practice of yoga (union). 

24 – 25
He is self-composed and the same in difficulty and ease, equally disposed toward the desirable and the undesirable, and looks upon a clod, a stone, and a piece of gold as the same. He remains the same in pleasant and unpleasant circumstances. He is intelligent, and accepts both praise and blame with equanimity. He remains the same in honor and dishonor, treats both friend and enemy alike, and avoids new undertakings. Thus he is said to have transcended the guṇas. 

Anandamayi Ma
Anandamayi Ma

I can see how people might stop their sadhana when reaching this point. This is not familiar territory. One feels like a failure and is self-critical for being useless and not getting anything done. One feels apathetic, and it seems as if one were steeped in tamas. However, this turns out to be the sameness, or indifference, mentioned in these verses, but it is so unfamiliar that it looks like tamas. So it can take a while to see it for what it really is: the onset of trigunatita (‘three-gunas-gone-beyond’).

Shirdi Sai Baba
Shirdi Sai Baba

Have you ever felt intimidated by God, imagining that seeing God, He would be stoic and immovable, and a little inaccessible? I know what you mean. I think about my lineage and see them this way. And yes, I feel … well, I don’t know whether to say ‘humble’ or ‘overawed’ or a little of both. But it turns out that what I am really seeing is a group of people who have transcended the three gunas. There is a striking difference between stoicism or aloofness and trigunatita — they have ‘gone beyond the gunas‘. Nothing rattles them. They fit the descriptions in these verses.

26 – 27
Serving Me with undeviated devotion and transcending the gunas, he becomes absorbed into Brahman (Absolute God). 
For I stand firmly in immortal imperishable Brahman, and the eternal dharma of unending Happiness.

  • Undeviated devotionbhakti (devotion) yoga (uniting) seva (service to guru, the teacher).
  • I – Lord Krishna
  • Eternal dharma – the way things are in the Absolute
Swami Kripalvananda (Kripalu)
Swami Kripalvanandaji (Kripalu)

These verses tell us how we can become absorbed into Brahman: By singular devotion to God to the extent that everything you do in your life is in service to God and Guru. You are fixed on That, so what other outcome could there possibly be?

You become what you worship.

In this way, you become absorbed into Absolute God, and the activities of the gunas no longer have any effect on you. Then, because Absolute God is beyond the gunas, your absorption into God is inevitable. 

To apply this to your own situation, just remember who Krishna really is: He is Arjuna’s guru, so by devotion and service to your guru you can overpower the influences of the gunas and become absorbed in Brahman (Absolute God). Without taking this road, there is no escaping the gunas for human beings. The best most of us can do is to aspire to become more sattvic overall, for sattva is the guna closest to what we are really like as Divine Individuals.

There is, however, this state of trigunatita (‘three-gunas-gone beyond’) in which one is not in a state produced by any of the gunas. Instead, one’s state is Real rather than phenomenal. This state can be experienced in yoga meditation done correctly: the surrender of oneself to Absolute God in meditation.

All actions are the interactions of the gunas of Nature. 

All action occurs in Nature, but the Real You is not Nature, and is therefore not involved in action. It is the predominance of a guna that causes certain actions, not You. What You really are is an eternal non-doer.

This chapter gives examples of what causes certain actions to take place, and how you can rise above these guna influences. The state that is beyond them all surfaces when the individual is not in a state of doership — when there is no sense of ‘doing’ going on. This takes place in small bites through meditation practiced correctly, and eventually becomes the full and complete state of trigunatita.

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

Surrender Meditation

Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
Spontaneous Experiential Meditation

Slip into a natural state of meditation with ease. Experience the relief of effortlessly reaching a true meditative state without using your will.

Receive shaktipat and become initiated into the original meditation of ancient masters from which meditation techniques were derived.

Increase your knowledge base and begin Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga: Surrender Meditation. Though correct knowledge you will increase your progress by a thousand times, and bring about even deeper meditation and amazing experiences.

Shaktipat Intensives with Durga Ma are held in Phoenix, Arizona

“Every step you take pulls every one of us with you.”

The Whole World Is One Family