How to be unhappy

What is the best way to be unhappy? It is the fastest, and the most effective way. And what’s more, we’re past masters at this game of unhappiness.

Desert Mirage

The easiest way to be unhappy, which most of us have mastered, is to strive for happiness here. What do I mean? Isn’t it the right of every individual to strive for happiness? Shouldn’t one strive to make things better, more comfortable, and more convenient? Isn’t this what life is all about, the search for happiness?

The great little-boy-saint Prahlada spoke these words to God.

सुखाय दु:खमोक्षाय सङ्कल्प इह कर्मिण: ।
सदाप्नोतीहया दु:खमनीहाया: सुखावृत: ॥ ४२ ॥

sukhāya duḥkha-mokṣāya
saṅkalpa iha karmiṇaḥ
sadāpnotīhayā duḥkham
anīhāyāḥ sukhāvṛtaḥ

In this material world, every materialist desires to achieve happiness and diminish his distress, and therefore he acts accordingly. Actually, however, one is happy as long as one does not endeavor for happiness; as soon as one begins his activities for happiness, his conditions of distress begin.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/7/7/42/

The most unfortunate reality is that when we start this search, we completely forget that we are already happy to start with. The definition of the living entity, spirit soul, is “anandamayo ‘bhyasat” or “one who is accustomed to be always in the highest bliss. And what is that bliss? The bliss of spiritual satisfaction “brahma saukhyam tvanantam“, that spiritual happiness which is never-ending and unlimited.

This world is certified as a place of misery by the Creator:

मामुपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दु:खालयमशाश्वतम् ।
नाप्‍नुवन्ति महात्मान: संसिद्धिं परमां गता: ॥ १५ ॥

mām upetya punar janma
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/15/

Specifically, the words “duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam” above mean duḥkhaālayam — place of miseries; aśāśvatam — temporary.

In this place where misery is abundant, this world which is designed for misery, who can find happiness? Ah, maybe not now, maybe later? If only I do this, or that, or that?

The key problem here is to focus on the happiness derived from the material senses. The moment we ask the senses, are you satisfied, the senses, rejoicing in the attention they get, immediately ask for more. The senses are compared to a raging fire. Gratification of the senses is compared to fuel. When you have a raging fire, you cannot extinguish it by supplying more fuel.

The world is full of people who are striving to increase the gratification available to their mind and senses. They will never be satisfied, they will ever be unhappy.

Even perfectly happy spiritualists can fall into this trap – instead of asking, how may I satisfy God with my thought, word, and deed, they can ask instead “hey, what is this spiritual thing doing for me, what am I getting out of it“. The moment they ask this question, in the name of “self love”, they fall down into crass material sense gratification, and proceed into the deepest darkest misery. In fact, their misery is even greater than the ignorant materialist, because that misery is meant to bring them back to their true position, in harmony with God.

Ask God, no matter what tradition you come from, go and ask God, “what can I do to please you right here right now?” And because the beginner often cannot distinguish between the ranting of the mind and the voice of the Super Soul inside the heart, please check your answer with your mentors, your friends in spiritual life, and the scripture you follow. Triangulating in this way will ensure that you are not making the mistake of assuming your own sense gratification to be the will of God! And it will ensure that you are not unhappy.

Just go deep inside, serve the Supreme with your every thought, word, and deed, and be happy here and now. You already have everything you need. All the other stuff, they are demands of the body and the mind, and you are neither your body, nor your mind.

Author: Mahabhagavat Das SDA

I am a formally initiated disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. My spiritual master was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1971. He is the author of the famous Ultimate Self Realization Course. Check it out at www.joincourse.com.

2 thoughts on “How to be unhappy”

  1. My reflection

    “The moment we ask the senses, are you satisfied, the senses, rejoicing in the attention they get, immediately ask for more”

    Thank you for enlightening me.

    Like

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