Tag Archives: love

Where Does the Drive for Happiness Come From?

Every living being, not just human beings, has a drive for happiness. It is a natural tendency from birth and is not something acquired by training. Whether someone is learned or illiterate, cultured or uncultured, rich or poor, theist or an atheist—everyone hankers to be happy.  The nonhumans such as birds, animals, and aquatics avoid pain and prefer to be in a comfortable environment. Like human beings, they may not make big plans for enjoyment but certainly, they avoid misery by all possible means. Even plants have the intelligence to avoid obstruction to their growth. Thus, based on our own experience and logic, we could hypothesize that the drive for happiness is inherent in the ātmā. Let us examine if this hypothesis is supported by śāstra.

In Paramātma Sandarbha (Anuccheda 19–46), Śrī Jiva Gosvāmī does an exhaustive analysis of the svarūpa of the jīva or ātmā. In Anuccheda 19, he first cites verses from Padma Puṛānā delineating the svarūpa of the jīva: 

The letter m [in Oṁ] signifies the jīva, “the witness of the presentational field of the body” (kṣetrajña), who is always dependent upon and subservient to the Supreme Self, Paramātmā. He is [constitutionally] a servant of Bhagavān Hari only and never of anyone else. He is the conscious substratum, endowed with the attribute of knowledge. He is conscious and beyond matter. He is never born, undergoes no modification, is of one [unchanging] form, and situated in his own essential identity (svarūpa). He is atomic [i.e., the smallest particle without any parts], eternal, pervasive of the body, and intrinsically of the nature of consciousness and bliss. He is the referent of the pronoun “I,” imperishable, the proprietor of the body, distinct from all other jīvas, and never-ending. The jīva cannot be burnt, cut, wetted, or dried, and is not subject to decay. He is endowed with these and other attributes. He is indeed the irreducible remainder (śeṣa) [i.e., the integrated part] of the Complete Whole. (Padma Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa 226.34–37) 

Next, he cites some verses from a work of Jamātṛ Muni of Śrī Sampradāya:

The ātmā is neither god, nor human, nor subhuman, nor is it an immovable being [a tree, mountain, and so on]. It is not the body, nor the senses, mind, vital force, or the intellect. It is not inert, not mutable, nor mere consciousness. It is conscious of itself and self-luminous; it is of one form and is situated in its own essential nature.

It is conscious, pervades the body, and is intrinsically of the nature of consciousness and bliss. It is the direct referent of the pronoun “I,” is distinct [from other individual selves] in each body, atomic [i.e., the smallest particle without further parts], eternal, and unblemished.

It is intrinsically endowed with the characteristics of knowership [cognition], agency [conation], and experiential capacity [affectivity]. Its nature by its own inner constitution is to be always the unitary, irreducible remainder [i.e., the integrated part] of the Complete Whole, Paramātmā.

There are about 21 characteristics of the jīva mentioned in these verses. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī elaborates on each of them in the following anucchedas. There is no mention of a “drive for happiness” in this list, nor does Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi mention it while elaborating on these characteristics. He does not mention it anywhere in his entire analysis of the intrinsic nature of the jīva.

Then how can we account for the constant desire and endeavor to be happy, which we all experience? It is certainly not something that we have acquired, because even animals and birds have it. The clue to the answer is found in the twelfth characteristic, cid-ānanda-ātmaka, “intrinsically of the nature of consciousness and bliss.” This sounds perplexing since it seems contrary to our experience of having a constant drive for bliss or happiness. It is as absurd as seeing a person desperately looking for food after stuffing himself with his favorite meal. If the jīva or self is intrinsically blissful, then why should it search for happiness outside? This is explained by Śri Jīva Gosvāmī in Anuccheda 28 while commenting on this quality, i.e., cid-ānanda-ātmaka, as follows—tatra tasya jaḍa-pratiyogitvena jñānatvaṁ, duḥkha-pratiyogitvena tu jñānatvam ānandatvañ ca—“Because the self is not inert [lit., because of its being the counter positive of inertness], it is of the nature of consciousness, and because of its being the counter positive of misery, it is of the nature of consciousness and bliss.” The meaning is that a jīva is intrinsically conscious and devoid of any misery. Just as not being inert is equated to consciousness, so also freedom from misery is equated to happiness or ānanda. In other words, not being miserable is also a type of ānanda or happiness. The other types of happiness are material happiness—martyānanada; the happiness of experiencing the qualityless Absolute —brahmānanda; and the happiness of devotional love—bhaktyānanda or premānanada.  

Most of the happiness that we experience is nothing but the cessation of suffering or discomfort. When we have discomfort, we feel happy when it is removed. Almost all the happiness that we experience in our material lives is preceded by discomfort. We enjoy food because we feel the discomfort of hunger. If we suffer from heat, we enjoy a cool place. Every desire that we have is a disturbance because it takes us away from our svarūpa, or our natural position. When a desire is fulfilled, we feel happy—not because the object of desire gave us happiness, but because the disturbance caused by the desire disappeared. Because of focusing on the object of our desire, we mistakenly think that the acquired object is the source of our happiness. If the object of desire was the source of happiness, we should always attain happiness from it. But such is not the case. We have all experienced that the very object, position, or action that we intensely hankered for does not give us the same amount of happiness that it gave when we first achieved it. The level of happiness that it gives diminishes over time, and after some time, it may not give any happiness at all. Rather, it may become a source of trouble or discomfort. There are people in the world who possess the object or position for which we hanker but if you observe them, they may not be that blissful. This is because they have their own list of desirable objects or positions. Thus, Kṛṣṇa says that the objects of sense enjoyment are verily the source of misery (Gītā 5.22).

In our svarūpa, there is neither misery nor a drive to attain happiness. The drive for happiness is a thought, feeling, or emotion in the mind, which is external to the ātmā. It manifests only when we are connected to the mind. We experience this every night. When we are in a state of dreamless sleep, we have no thoughts, feelings, or emotions. We have no experience of misery, even if we are suffering from an intense disease or pain. This is because in dreamless sleep, we are disconnected from the mind. This freedom from suffering is experienced as a type of happiness. Thus, upon awakening, we have the experience, “I slept deeply and happily. I did not know anything.” No one says, “I slept deeply and miserably. I did not know anything.” If the drive for happiness was in the svarūpa of the jīva, then we should also experience it in dreamless sleep. Upon waking, we should say, “I slept very deeply and was hankering for happiness.” No one has such an experience. 

The conclusion is that neither śāstra nor our experience supports the idea that we have an intrinsic drive for happiness. The drive for happiness comes only when we identify with the material mind-body complex because in this state, we are not situated in our svarūpa. Not being situated in our svarūpa creates a state of disturbance. Thus, a drive emerges in us to dispel this sense of disturbance. This drive is mistakenly understood to be rooted in the ātmā. 

The fact is that we have the drive to be situated in our svarūpa. Our svarūpa is devoid of misery, and thus we strive to remove misery. In the conditioned state, we identify with the mind-body complex and consider it to be our svarūpa. But this is only an illusion. Our mind and body are always in a state of flux. Our system functions to remain balanced. We also work to remain balanced—free from all mental and physical disturbances. We feel that something is missing in us and therefore think that if we can acquire what is missing, then we will be happy. This is a natural drive that we all have. Whenever we feel happy, we are closer to our self. Suffering means going away from our self. Self-realized people do not experience this drive for happiness because they do not identify with their mind-body complex. They experience a state free from misery. Kṛṣṇa defines this as yoga (Gītā 6.23)—taṁ vidyād duḥkha-saṁyoga-viyogaṁ yoga-saṁjñitam—“Know that state which is devoid of any contact with pain to be yoga.” 

Thus, mukti is defined as giving up the identification with that which is not one’s self and becoming situated in our self—muktir hitvānyathā-rūpaṁ svarupeṇa vyavasthitih (SB 2.10.6). The word mukti means to be free [from misery]. It does not mean happiness. Becoming free from misery is a type of happiness. When we move away from our self, we suffer. Thus, Patañjali defines yoga as disassociation from mental modifications—yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ (Yoga Sūtra 1.2). This results in being situated in one’s self—tadā draṣṭuḥ svarupe ’vasthānam (Yoga Sūtra 1.3). In this way, we see that mukti and yoga as defined by Kṛṣṇa, as well as by Patañjali, are the same. 

Because our self is devoid of misery, it is called the object of love, prīti-āspada. Having attained it, one is never disturbed by anything. It is considered the supreme attainment (Gītā 6.22). Even in the material world, we love everything that we think is ours. The body and things related to the body appear as objects of love only when we consider them as related to our self. When we stop considering things or persons as belonging to us, we become indifferent to them. We enjoy material objects only as long as we consider them ours. In other words, we put ourselves into something and then derive pleasure from it. Truly we relish our self in external objects, relationships, and positions. By relating with them, we erroneously think that we are situated in our self. This is a mistaken state of mukti and is an outcome of ignorance about our true self. Real happiness, however, comes only from bhakti because Bhagavān is the Self of our self, as said by Śukadeva, “Know Kṛṣṇa to be the Self of everyone’s self” (SB 10.14.55). 

Satyanarayana Dasa

PURE LOVE – The Rarest of all Jewels to Attain (Part 2)

Transcendence of Ego

The ego we identify with in the conditioned stage of existence is our acquired, material ego. It is based on our relationship with this body-mind complex, which is temporary. Just as the body is always undergoing change, so our ego also changes and will continue to change. We have different egos which are expressed in relationship with the physical body. Even in different states of consciousness we have different egos. When we dream at night, our ego assumes a different identity. Thus the material ego keeps fluctuating, and we are unaware of our real, unchanging spiritual ego.

When we transcend our material ego, we become aware of the real ego, which eternally exists in relationship with God and expresses itself in unconditional love. In that state of divine love, emotions and personality do not cease. Rather, they are liberated into a pure, unconditioned state. The spiritual self is ever new, yet never changes, just as God never changes. Their relationship is eternal.

When we love God, we also love His creation. The two are not separate. Divine love flows to everyone, but we cannot truly and effectively love another living entity without first having attained love of God, Bhagavan.  This spiritual love is part of Bhagavan’s own internal energy, called svarupa sakti. It is a very common belief that this love is inside all of us, and by certain practices or rituals, it can be released and experienced. However, according to scripture this is not the case. Pure unconditional love is part of Bhagavan’s internal energy, and we can receive it from Him alone.

In this world, we cannot find such purely spiritual love anywhere because everything here is material. The seed of this love is received only by God’s grace, which flourishes in this world via the association of saintly people, sadhus. They have received this love from Bhagavān and therefore can impart it onto others. Faith is the only qualification to receive this pure love. By regularly hearing from sadhus with faith and confidence, a person who has received divine grace will gradually become inspired to follow the spiritual path and accept a guru, a spiritual teacher representing a succession of realized teachers, called parampara. Such a guru will systematically impart knowledge of Bhagavan, the individual self and their relationship unto a surrendered soul and engage that person in the service of the Lord. This is called the process of devotion, or bhakti-yoga. By following it, unconditional supreme love will naturally blossom in the practitioner’s heart.

The Most Sublime Exchange of Love

The Sanskrit term for love is prema or priti. Both words come from the root pri, which means to please, to satisfy, to make happy. Therefore prema and priti signify the loving exchange between a subject (asraya) and an object (visaya), or more accurately, a giver (asraya) and receiver (visaya) of love: a lover (asraya) and a beloved (visaya).

Love eternally flows from the lover to the beloved and from the beloved back to the lover. It is an ever increasing exchange and competition of giving and receiving love. This loving exchange in its ultimate perfection is depicted in the dealings between Sri Krishna and the gopis, the cowherd damsels of Vrindavan.

The essence of love is to perform all activities in relation to God. This love of God has two attributes: It is causeless and it is unobstructed. It will eternally liberate us from material bondage and promote us to the realm of eternal loving exchanges with Bhagavan, the source of all bliss. This is the only purpose of life. Unless we strive and attain this goal, we remain dissatisfied and keep on searching for love.



“Art of Love” at Jiva Institute

From March 10th to 17th Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa will teach the seminar “ART OF LOVE” at Jiva Institute in Vrindavan.

Everyone is looking for happiness. Some seek it in food, some in sports, some in wealth, and some in sex. But real happiness is found only in love. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what love is, so it keeps slipping through their fingers. If a business venture fails, the entrepreneur hires a consultant to examine the reasons for the failure. But when we fail in love, we never think to learn the basics. We assume we already know what love is and how to get it. That misconception leads to more failure and frustration.

This course teaches the alpha and omega of pure love, the qualification required to attain it, and the process to get it so that one’s life can be filled with bliss.  Although everyone is eligible for love, and love is the ultimate goal of life, we still need certain qualifications to be successful on the path of love.  If we are serious about love, just as in any pursuit, we better know what it takes to attain it. But we never think to learn the basics of love – we assume we know what love is and how to get it.  This is the biggest misconception and cause of our failure.  This seminar is unique in teaching the fundamental concept of love.  If we realize the principles taught in this course, we will feel fulfilment in our life.

More details here!


As Seen from the Eyes of Devotional Vedanta

By Bruce Martin

Reiki is a conscious healing energy, emanating from the One conscious Source, which pervades and transcends all of manifestation. Reiki is a specific potency of that unlimited Source, endowed with the frequency to bring healing on all dimensions of embodied being, from the physical, to the energetic, the emotional, the mental, extending in its highest aspect even to the spiritual. It works on the energetic system of the recipient, facilitating the release of blockages that initiates a process of healing and re-harmonization of the microcosm of the body-mind system. By endowing the recipient with its own radiant frequency, it also helps to bring the individual system into balance with the forces of nature and the cosmos. Thus Reiki is not only conducive to physical well-being, but nurtures awareness of the self’s interrelation with the Whole. In Sanskrit this is termed as svasthya (or health), which literally means to be established in one’s own self. Reiki is conducive to this state of being.

Reiki is a conscious energy, intrinsically of the nature of awareness. Since it acts directly on the energetic system of the recipient, without dependence on the nature of the awareness of the healer, it knows exactly how and where to move to provide the optimal opportunity for healing to take place. As such, Reiki can never harm anyone and is never subordinate to any personal ambition of the healer. The healer, as such, is merely a channel for the energy to reach the recipient, and hence the assessment of oneself as a healer is of no relevance in Reiki. There is relevance, however, in the awareness that facilitates functionality as a channel. In other words, the more a channel is attuned to the energy it facilitates, the smoother the flow of energy will be to the recipient from the source; the more transparent the transmitter, the less to impede transmission.

Expression of Divine Love

Reiki is directed toward the highest good of all beings, and as such it is an expression of Divine Love, stemming from the mercy of God. For this reason, the primary criterion to function as a Reiki channel lies in the awareness of oneself as a chalice to welcome sacred energy and allow for its transmission. This demands continuous work of internal cleansing (or seeing through, and beyond, the contractions of ego), because a receptacle must be empty in order to receive. In fact, emptiness, like the vacuity of space, is the basic and intrinsic characteristic of awareness, and it is this quality that is essential to welcome this pure flow of healing Love.

Although consciousness, at every moment, remains fundamentally untouched by, and distinct from, the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of which it is continuously aware, it is the identification with all these mechanisms, and the sense of continuity we attribute to them, that fortifies the self-concept, imposing a conventional and conditional idea upon unconditional awareness. This inner contraction upon a superimposed self, which is also a contraction away from unconditioned and unlimited Reality, diminishes the space in which energy and awareness can flow.

A Reiki channel, therefore, works not only to release negative feelings and emotions, such as anger, jealousy and envy, but must also break the more tenacious aspiration for notoriety as a healer, a being of light, a master and so on. In short, all self-concepts, however noble, must be seen through. To rest in the simple awareness of one’s interconnection with the Whole is the state of emptiness in which the ultimate good of the Whole can fill one’s being and be transmitted to all that is contacted. It is not the will to heal that is important, but the will to be healed. It is not the individual who heals, but the totality.

A Deeper Level of Joy

When the receptacle of awareness is emptied, the waves of God’s compassion gradually overwhelm the being, and the healing vibration of Reiki is transformed into the energy of love. The container itself vibrates with that energy, becoming, in a sense, the whole in the form of love, which naturally flows out, unbounded, toward all of creation. In this state, Reiki is viewed not as a practice, but as a consciousness of love and healing that is alive in the soul. When the soul welcomes this energy of love, allowing it to pervade the being, it becomes that energy. The self becomes Reiki. The self becomes Love. And Reiki can help the sincere practitioner to perceive the deepest aspect of Love, wherein God and all His creatures become beloved to us. Our intention is then directed towards bringing happiness and well-being to all, and through their happiness we perceive a deeper level of joy, or ecstasy. This is the mysterious ingredient of this healing practice. The more we avail ourselves to others through the agency of divine will, the more we are filled by the energy of love.

Reiki is a state of consciousness, involving the very essence of the being. As such, it focuses the awareness of the Reiki facilitator in the present. Each moment is unique and requires total presence—to be available simply to what is, without imposing any personal notion of what we think should be. Each soul that comes to us is a unique flower in the Creation, with particular shape, color, and fragrance, and so the experience related with each and every being is completely new and fresh. With an openness to experience the uniqueness of each particular soul—something never experienced before—we must be available from the center of our being, with complete presence of being. This is why, for the facilitator, Reiki is concerned with the moment, because it is in the fullness of our own participation that the encounter with the healing energy, and with the recipient, reaches consummation. In the absence of awareness, the moment is lost. No doubt, we will have other experiences, but not that particular one, the one of this moment.

God and His Energy Reciprocate

The more we avail ourselves to the energy of love, the more complete we become. The experiences of life that carry significance are those directly connected with love. Without it, all experience remains superficial, involving only the periphery, and not the center, of our being. So, openness of heart is essential. It is through the heart, the seat of consciousness, that energy flows, and intuition is received as a gift of the Divine to guide us through life, experiencing and realizing the Self.

Intuition is, in fact, a key tool in Reiki. The placement of hands on a patient is guided not by the mind, but through intuition. We need, rather, to drop the mind, so we can feel, through the heart, the flow of energy, and so move the hands in accordance with the actual need of the recipient. Reiki itself will guide us. That is why it is so important to be in the moment, to be aware. Otherwise the moment could be missed, and so too the real help required by the patient.

The more one’s awareness is attuned to the frequency of love, which is the conscious principle underlying Reiki, the more that energy will respond to our invitation. In the Bhagavata Purana, one of the sacred texts of India, it is written that God relates with each and every beloved devotee in the exact form they specifically cherish and with the reciprocal mood to that with which they approach Him. This indicates that God, or the Absolute, reciprocates with us in direct accordance with the attitude and transparency of the love with which we approach Him. Reiki energy, as discussed already, is a conscious potency of the Divine, intrinsically of the nature of love, and so it acts in the same way.

Awareness without the Sense of Doership

Dandavat at RadhakundaWhen people take up energetic healing or spiritual practices, such as yoga, Chi-gong, Reiki or meditation, the results are different for each individual. Sometimes it is observed that people may dedicate themselves to specific practices for many years and achieve an advanced level of skill, but still miss the essence, the awareness that lies at the heart of all practice. On the other hand, there are some individuals who are able to quickly and easily grasp not only the technique, but the essence as well. This is due mainly to the consciousness with which one approaches all such types of cultivation, and even life in general.

As long as the sense of doership is prominent, the impetus to practice is coming not from the total heart, from the seat of unconditional awareness, but from the fragmented sense of an independent self, able to achieve results through personal effort. So, although persons operating from this perspective may be dedicated to their practice, the emphasis will necessarily be on mastery of the discipline, since no more than this is within the grasp of the striving ego. As long as the door of the heart is yet unopened, essence remains hidden, and so, the conscious energy that carries the vibration of Love is without a vehicle for expression.

When the sense of doership is abandoned, one necessarily also gives up the feeling of personal accomplishment that accompanies it. The sense of the fragmented self loosens as one recognizes oneself to be a conscious receptacle through which the conscious Whole may express Itself. With this awareness there is nothing to be achieved through the practice other than the opening of the heart to one’s unity with the Whole. Being overwhelmed by the presence of Love, one stands simply as a witness to that which has no past and no future, but is ever-existent in the immediate now. It is in this emptiness, in the space created for divine energy to flow, that essence can express itself, bringing not the limited results available to a fragmented ego, but the unlimited healing and transformative potential of the conscious Whole. It is this awareness that is relevant to Reiki.

Seminars on “Art of Love”

Everyone is looking for happiness. Some seek it in food, some in sports, some in wealth, and some in sex. But real happiness is found only in love. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what love is, so it keeps slipping through their fingers. If a business venture fails, the entrepreneur hires a consultant to examine the reasons for the failure. But when we fail in love, we never think to learn the basics. We assume we already know what love is and how to get it. That misconception leads to more failure and frustration.

If you are serious about love, then you need to know what it takes to attain it. This workshop will teach you the alpha and omega of pure love and dispel all misconceptions. You will learn the fundamental concepts—everything you need to achieve success on the path of love, feel the presence of love all around you, and know life’s deepest fulfillment

Dr. Satya Narayana Dasa is a living saint and accomplished scholar. He conducts classes on ancient Indian sciences for scholars and practionners around the world. He holds an M.Tech degree from IIT Delhi and a PhD in Sanskrit (Agra University), as well as eight additional shastric degrees in various subjects. He is the author of 15 books related to Indian culture and philosophy.
Sri Satyanarayana Das
1. One day Seminar in New York:
Date: July 9, 2011 (Sat.);

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Room: Studio 6
PURE Yoga New York @ Pure East

2. Five Day Seminar in the Berkshires

of Western Massachusetts at Kripalu , September 5–9, 2011