When it comes to happiness, the natural question would be: If it can’t be found outside oneself, can it be found within oneself?
Is there some intrinsic happiness within us that can be tapped? Is there a happiness that is independent of anything external? Is there a way to remain deeply happy, fully satisfied and yet continue to live in this world and do the right thing?
The great scriptures from India–the Upanishads and the Vedas–suggest that there is indeed a way to find lasting happiness within oneself, independently of all external things. The great sages who have experienced this joy and happiness have gone on record to say-‘That’ happiness is an ecstasy, which is so beautiful and all-embracing that one feels like sharing it with the entire humanity.
Once, having experienced this happiness, life becomes joyful. Then, every little thing is full of joy. The dewdrop in the morning, the breeze that gently blows replete with the scent of jasmines, the fragrance of the earth after the first rain, the snow-clad peak of a distant mountain, the laughter of a child, the song of the peasant. All of this, though previously unnoticed, begins to impart a superior joy.
Everything becomes a festival of joy and the root of this lies within oneself. It is when the inner being becomes happy, that the world becomes full of joy for us.
We have all heard about Kabir Das–weaver, singer and saint–who lived in Benaras. In one of his evocative songs, he gives the example of the musk deer to illustrate humankind’s pursuit of happiness. Usually found in the Himalayan regions, the deer has the musk gland underneath its skin. In the breeding season, this musk gland exudes a substance with a lovely perfume to attract the female deer.
The Upanishads say Poorna is the essential characteristic of one’s fundamental being, the Atman-which is one’s own pure consciousness that is free of all distractions.