The Three Types of Happiness

SBG 2:14 (Bhagavan Krishna said) O Arjuna, impermanent things like happiness and sadness, heat and cold in summer and winter, come and go. They are temporary. Therefore, learn to endure them.

Anila receives two phone calls

A man and his young daughter, Anila, were seated in their living room, eagerly awaiting a call through which they would be given the results of an important examination Anila had taken a month earlier. A positive result in the exam could land Anila a job with an excellent pay packet and great perks in the organisation of her dreams, while a negative result would mean that she would have to wait another whole year in order to take the next annual examination. Anila was nervous and biting her nails in anticipation. Then all of a sudden, the phone rang, and she jumped off her chair to answer it. The person on the other end of the phone read out her registration number and gave her the news that she had scored 95% in the exam and that she was selected for the job. Anila’s joy knew no bounds, and she screamed with joy. She announced the news to her father, who hugged her and congratulated her. It had been hardly ten minutes since she received the news, and Anila had already informed her cousins and friends about her success. She and her father were ecstatic and were planning to throw a party that evening when the phone rang again. It was the same person at the other end of the line but this time, he apologised profusely for his mistake of misreading Anila’s registration number! He confirmed that Anila had not made it and that she would have to wait for an entire year before she could take the exam again. That was it.  Anila and her father were shattered. Anila turned almost hysterical, picked up things from the table and started hurling them on the floor. She tore her hair and began to cry loudly. Her happiness was gone, and she plunged into extreme sadness.

One phone call took her to the heights of happiness and ecstasy, while another destroyed the wonderful feeling she had and shred her morale to bits. The telephone calls were external factors that had direct control over the state of Anila’s mind as well as that of her father.

Happiness is something that everyone strives to achieve. It is an ideal state of mind of feeling nice that can be achieved by successfully completing a task, by acquiring something one longed for, by winning someone’s heart, by earning a lot of money or for many other reasons that can give a person pleasure. However, many people overlook the fact that happiness is a fleeting feeling and if it is founded on an external factor, it will certainly not stay for long. On the other hand, people also experience unhappiness when something unpleasant happens, someone says or does something bad, when they lose someone or something, or simply when they don’t get what they want.  
The OED defines happiness as:
a. the state of feeling or showing pleasure
b. the state of being satisfied that something is good or right.
Happiness can be simply defined as the feeling you get when things give you pleasure. It is a state of mind which can be reached and also influenced, both by oneself, as well as by allowing external factors to do so.

Bhagavan Krishna spoke to Arjuna about the three classifications of happiness:

SBG 18:36 Now hear from Me, O Arjuna, of the three kinds of pleasure, in which the soul in the body enjoys and reaches the end of all pain.

SBG 18:37 The happiness which first seems like poison but in the end is like nectar, is said to be Sattvic. It is born of one’s intellect which is situated in Self-realisation.

SBG 18:38 The happiness or pleasure which is first like nectar due the contact of sense organs and sense objects, but in the end is like poison, is said to be Rajasic.

SBG 18:39 The pleasure which shrouds Self-realisation right from the beginning until the end and is derived from sleep, indolence and delusion, is declared to be Tamasic.

SBG 18:40 There is no being either on earth or in celestial abodes and not even among deities, that is free of these three Gunas or qualities which are born of Nature.

A person’s happiness and the type of their happiness depend on their Gunas. Everyone exists in a web of their own Gunas, and it is the dominant one among the three Gunas in them, that forms their nature and general character. It is important to note that the Sattvik Guna is the only Guna from which one can move higher; attain a state of TriguNaatiita (त्रिगुणातीत) which means a state that transcends all the Gunas; and proceed towards attaining Brahman.

SBG 2:56 He who is not agitated or disturbed despite the threefold miseries (a. miseries that stem from the mind and body, b. miseries caused by other beings, and c. miseries caused by natural calamities and catastrophes over which no one has control), is also not euphoric when he has comforts and is free from attachment, fear and anger, is a sage with a steady mind.

SBG 2:57 He who is free from attachment and neither rejoices when he achieves good nor hates evil, has steady wisdom and perfect knowledge.

SBG 18:53 A person who has given up egoism, false strength, arrogance, anger, desire, and covetousness; is free from possessiveness and is always peaceful; is fit to attain Brahman or Super-Consciousness.

SBG 18:54 Becoming Brahman, serene in the Self, he neither grieves nor desires; he is the same to all beings and he attains supreme devotion unto Me.

Arjuna had earlier asked Bhagavan Krishna to help him by showing him the way to fight the restlessness of the mind.

SBG 6:33 Arjuna said: This Yoga of equanimity taught by You, O Krishna, I do not see its steady continuance, because of restlessness of the mind.

SBG 6:34 The mind is certainly restless, turbulent, strong and unyielding, O Krishna! I think it is extremely difficult to control it, just as the wind is.

SBG 6:35 The Blessed Bhagavan said: Undoubtedly, O mighty-armed Arjuna, the mind is difficult to control and restless. But it can be restrained through practice and dispassion.

SBG 3:36 Yoga is difficult to attain for a person whose mind is not controlled. But it is possible for one who has his mind under control and works through prescribed means.

If you are dependent on others or on material possessions to make you happy or feel good, it could only mean that it is not you but others and material objects that have control over the state of your mind. A strong and self-respecting person should never allow external factors to affect the state of their mind and go to the extent of causing them unhappiness. Permitting others or empowering them to be the reason for your happiness or sadness causes your state of mind to be a toy that others play around with, which, if they wished, they could also destroy at any time. Learning to be the master of one’s own mind needs to be the first step before taking up any task or challenge in life. Before starting a job, a project, a relationship or anything, it would be advisable to think it over clearly, weigh the pros and cons and begin with a calm mind. A person who rushes into something, runs the risk of experiencing pain in the future should things not go as planned, but on the contrary, any task taken up by a person with a balanced mind has a low or zero probability of failure.
SBG 2:38 Fight the battle treating alike pleasure and pain, gain and loss as well as victory and defeat. By doing so, you will not sin.

American poet and writer Archibald MacLeish said something brutally true: “The only thing about a man that is a man is his mind. Everything else you can find in a pig or a horse.”  (!)

But for the mind, people wouldn’t even know they exist or who they are. The mind is the interface between the Self, the brain and the physical body. A person’s knowledge of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita which is the greatest ‘Mind Management Manual’ ever, along with the right way of applying that knowledge in their life, however distressing the situation they may be in, will keep them afloat, living, discovering, inventing, creating, building and also serving others apart from being naturally happy.

A person who has a mind totally under control, experiences Sattvik happiness which is truly blissful and never ends in pain. Sincerely loving Bhagavan Krishna and sacrificing all actions unto Him, can completely safeguard people from unhappiness, bitterness, fear, hatred and all other negative qualities and influences. 

SBG 9:27 Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give, whatever you practise as austerity, O Arjuna, do it for Me and as an offering unto Me.

SBG 9:28 By doing so, you will be freed from the bonds of action that result in good and in bad. By being free and with your mind guided by the principle of the Yoga of renunciation, you will attain to Me.

May your hearts be calm, blissful and filled with Sattvik happiness forever.

Jai Shri Krishna



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