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Joy - absolute happiness- is possible || Acharya Prashant (2014)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
30 min
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Question: Sir, what is happiness? And what is the relation between happiness and Joy?

Speaker: Whatever pleases the mind, whatever the mind likes, is called happiness for the mind. Simple, whatever pleases the mind is happiness. Whatever means whatever, could be anything. There are no complexities in this. Whatever the mind likes, is its happiness.

Obviously the question of liking something, being attracted towards something, arises only when there is a feeling of incompletion. The greater is the feeling of incompletion the stronger is the like. The stronger is the like, the more happy we are. That is the entire game of liking and disliking. The more is your suffering, the deeper is your incompletion and the greater is the intensity of your likes. You will be a very passionate man. Eager to achieve happiness. Let us just call that as the ‘plane of duality’ in which the mind usually operates.

See, this plane, let say the X-Y plane, (Indicating the XY plane with a sweep of his hand parallel to the floor) is the plane of duality. Let the X axis represent happiness. Let the Y axis represent suffering or incompletion and there is the clear linear relationship between the two. Something like Y is equal to mX (y = mx). One can increase only with a proportionate increase in the other. You cannot have happiness without incompletion.

The stronger is the pull that an object causes in you, the more certain it is that you have been missing that object. Is it not so? The more you have been missing something, the greater is the pleasure in achieving it. So, to have the pleasure of achieving, you must first greatly miss it. No missing, no pleasure. That’s that XY plane.

We all want to enhance happiness, maximize happiness, without understanding the nature of happiness. Without understanding that for more happiness there has to be commensurately more incompletion, separation, a sense of suffering, a sense of missing.

Now I am asking this question to you, there is this plane, the XY plane, and in the XY plane, the law of duality operates. That is the plane of the mind. The normal plane of the mind. The law of duality says that in this plane if the X variable increases, the Y variable will also increase and vice versa. That’s the law of duality. If X will increase so shall Y, if Y shall increase so shall X, they are related by the equation y = mx. Where X happens to be your happiness.

Tell me, how is it possible to increase X without causing an increase in Y. Can there be some way? Whatever you do in this plane will not help. It is because in this plane the inviolable rule of duality will always operate. But let’s see if it is somehow possible to increase happiness without increasing suffering.

Let me take the answer just mathematically, you will understand its mental analogy easily. As long as mind remains in its usual plane, it will be confined by, subjected to, the law of duality. But there is a wonderful power, you could call it an option available to mind, which is to leave this plane. Which is to not to be in this plane at all. This XY plane itself arises from somewhere, from another dimension. The mind has the power to move towards that origin. That origin is another dimension all together.

So, let’s have a ZX plane. A little bit of mathematical treatment. A ZX plane vertically orthogonal to our XY plane. Here won’t it be possible to increase X without increasing Y? In the ZX plane won’t it be possible to increase X without increasing Y?

Listeners (in unison): Yes.

Speaker: You can nicely keep Y at zero and keep on increasing X. You have a wonderful thing with you, suffering-less happiness. As long as you are in this normal plane (XY) of mind, your happiness will always be accompanied by suffering. But there is a way, surely a way to have happiness which does not bring suffering along with it. Which is not caused by suffering and which does not cause suffering.

The mind will have to rise above its dualistic plane. The mind will have to move towards its origin. There the normal laws of duality do not operate. If I want to maximize happiness in the dualistic plane, what will happen? I cannot maximize happiness because before I maximize happiness, suffering will increase so much that I will not be able to tolerate it.

We all want to consume happiness, maximize it, but what will happen if you maximize happiness here (XY plane) ? So, what will happen?

Listeners *(in unison) : * Too much suffering.

Speaker: Now, let me define Joy. The highest happiness is called Joy. We have taken two very simple definitions. Happiness is that which the mind likes, and now we are saying that the highest happiness is called Joy. But we are saying that with a caveat. We are saying that highest happiness is not at all possible in the normal mental plane. Why? Why is infinite happiness not possible? Why is the highest happiness not possible in the dualistic plane?

Listener: Suffering and happiness go hand in hand in dualistic plane.

Speaker: Before you get that happiness, you will have to get so much suffering that you will be broken. You will be nothing. Your entire system, the organism would have collapsed. Now, that’s the limitation. That’s the limitation with trying to maximize happiness the way the world is trying to maximize happiness. It tries to maximize happiness and the more it tries to maximize happiness, the more sorrow it brings upon itself.

Then at some point the entire effort to be happy, that also collapses. It’s like running faster and faster. We all know as per the theory of relativity that the faster you run, the greater is your mass. The more you approach the speed of light,let’s call that Joy,the more impossible it is to keep running. That’s what the theory says right?

As the velocity of a particle increases, its effective mass keeps increasing. Now, you are trying to increase your velocity and what is happening to your mass? It’s increasing. As your mass is increasing, how feasible is it to increase your velocity even more? It will become more difficult, and then even more difficult. So, the faster you are running, the more difficult it is becoming to run even faster. That is the case with happiness as well.

Happiness brings its own nemeses along with it. So, the more happy you are, the more difficult it is to become happier. The more you are suffering, the easier it is to be happy. Is it not so? Does that not come from our everyday experience? The more you are suffering the easier it is to be happy and the more happy you are, the more difficult it is to be even more happy. Is that not so?

Now, that’s a very sad limitation. We want happiness but we simply cannot get happiness in the mental plane, the dualistic plane. There is nothing wrong and sinful with happiness. Happiness is what the mind likes and what can be wrong with liking?But the mind cannot get what it likes. It cannot get it there (The dualistic plane).

So, the wise mind, the observant mind which is able to look at its own nature,which is able to see what is happening in the plane of duality,it comes to realize, “Efforts in this plane are useless. All my calculations, all my endeavors, are self-defeating. Not that there is somebody else to impede them. It is just that the law says that you can succeed only with failure. So, the more I succeed the bigger the failure I am.”

The observant mind comes to see this and it says,“It is stupid to keep trying. It’s stupid, it’s totally stupid to waste my energies in this plane. This plane is a very useless plane. Not that I cannot work, not that I cannot expend energy. But it is all so pointless, it’s absurd. What am I working for? My own frustration.”

In this plane the more you work, the more deeply frustrated you will be. Won’t you be? The more you achieved the deeper will be your frustration. Why?

The curve is rising and when the curve is rising…

Listener: Direct relationship.

Speaker: Direct relationship. So, it says,“No, this won’t do.” It says,“Is there another plane? Is there another realm of existence? Which is non dual? Yes, I want the maximum happiness but I am sure I cannot get the highest happiness here.I am not somebody who is avoiding happiness. I am not one of those who think that happiness is a crime and you must have long faces, drooping shoulders and appear grave and gloomy all the time. I must surely be happy and I must be fully happy. But I cannot get that happiness here, and I must get it because that’s what I like. That’s what I like. I must get it.”

It discovers that other realm. That more fundamental realm. There also the law of proportional increase applies. Just as we have said that Y is equal to MX applies on XY plane. Let say that X is equal to kZ applies in that other realm.

What is Z? Z is something which is obviously orthogonal to this XY plane. It goes like this (Pointing towards the ground) . It goes vertical. Let us call it as depth or height.

Listener: Yes.

Speaker: Let’s call it immersion . The depth of immersion. That’s the Z axis. The law X=kZ applies. Happiness is increasing with the increase in your immersion. Happiness is increasing but without a consequent increase in suffering.

The X axis which is the happiness axis, you will see a lot of movement there. Happiness is increasing, but nothing is happening on the Y front. That’s lying silent, dormant, zero.

So, that’s the difference between the wise man and the fool. Let’s understand it very, very clearly. The fool tries to maximize happiness in the dualistic plane, through the route of doing, through the route of achievement. Both the wise man and the fool are looking at the same thing. They are looking at happiness. But the fool does not understand what happiness is, so he is operating in the XY plane and trying to maximize it there.

The route he has taken is the route of doership. He is saying,“I will achieve it.”So yes, he does get some happiness. Don’t we see that people do get happiness because of their efforts? Have you not seen that? People work hard and then ultimately they achieve something and they feel happy. Don’t you see that all around? But whatever happiness comes to you as a result of your effort is always in dualistic plane. This happiness is accompanied by…

Listeners (in unison) : Suffering.

Speaker: So yes, we are not denying that in this dualistic plane happiness is not possible. Happiness is possible, but a very tragic kind of happiness. A very tragic happiness. That happiness will not only bring suffering along with it, it can also never reach its climax. Because if it reaches its climax then the suffering would also reach its climax. That’s the fool for you, trying to maximize happiness through doership.

And then there is the wise man, he too is maximizing happiness, but he is not maximizing it by ‘doing.’ He is maximizing it by immersing. He is in another plane. He has understood that this is useless. That exactly is what has also often been called as renunciation. Now do you understand renunciation?

Listener: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: Seeing the stupidity of it all, you do not want to chase it. This is renunciation. Renunciation is not a particular act. Renunciation is the spontaneous dropping that happens when you see how stupid it is to keep holding. You have been holding and holding, chasing and chasing. Then a point comes where you see the absolute stupidity of it all, you drop it, the chase stops. That is called renunciation. In this plane, the plane of immersion, you are an outright winner.

You can have as much happiness as you want without an iota of suffering. Only problem is that it is not your usual mental plane. It is not your usual worldly happiness. You will have to move. The entire sense of ‘I’ which is related to this plane (The dualistic plane) , will have to dissolve.

Yes, there will be great happiness, but that happiness will come as you keep getting immersed and as you keep getting dissolved. Now, that’s a bit of a risk. Happiness is coming. But the one to whom happiness is coming is dissolving as the happiness is coming. The mind does not want to take that risk. Mind says,“That normal dualistic plane is fine with me. I might be suffering but at least I am.”

In the plane of immersion, great, free and costless happiness is there. Without suffering. But a small price has to be paid and that small price is that as you keep immersing deeper and deeper, you keep dissolving. Soon you am no more.

Mind says,“If I am no more, then who will get the happiness?” A great logic. Mind is a great logician. Mind says,“No,let me suffer but at least I’ll exist.” That’s the logic of the coward. “I might be suffering but at least I exist.” In the plane of immersion, you don’t suffer. There is unbounded happiness, but your existence takes a beating.

You are an outright victor but that victory is accompanied by your death. The coward cannot accept it. The coward says,“Let me suffer, let me be beaten, let me be humiliated, let me be frustrated, let life make a mess of me, but at least I am there.”

This (Using his arm to indicate a line perpendicular to the ground) is the plane of Joy. Needless to say, what happens in the plane of immersion is Joy,suffering-less happiness and because it is suffering less hence it can be taken to its climax. The definition of Joy that we have taken is…?

Listener: Joy is the highest happiness.

Speaker: So, obviously that Joy is not attainable in the dualistic plane. The plane of Joy is the plane of immersion. There you can have Joy and deeper Joy and deeper Joy and deeper Joy and deeper Joy and there is no end. That’s how the Ultimate Truth, the Final Reality has also been variously described. That It is great and then It is greater than great. Now do you see what it means?

You have Joy and you can have more Joy. And then you can have little bit more (Giggles) , and it never ends. More and more is always flowing. There is no resistance. There is no limit. There is no price to pay, except a small price. The price of your head. For so much Joy you can obviously pay that price.

So, by all means, be happy but be fully happy. Full happiness, you will not get there (The dualistic plane) . You will only get tainted, corrupted, botched up happiness there. Half your face will be smiling and the other half will be in tears. That’s the story of mankind.

So, that’s what the wise man says. The wise man, remember, in some sense is a big hedonist. What do you mean by hedonist?

A pleasure seeker. The wise man is not a world-renouncer. We have talked of renunciation but understand this. He is the greatest consumer of happiness. What do you think? You think that the usual mode of thinking is that this material world is for people with their small happiness, sorrows and such stuff. Then there is the Sannyasi and the Sannyasi has nothing to do with happiness. He does not want happiness. This notion is absolutely mis-placed. It’s a foolish notion. The Sannyasi is a seeker of the highest happiness.

He is highly ambitious in that sense. He says, “You want happiness, so do I, but you will not get it because your means are foolish; because you don’t understand what you are doing; because you are a coward, you are not prepared to give up yourself. You will not get it.”

He wants happiness and he wants happiness in ample and ample quantities. Overflowing, effulgent happiness. Do we want happiness? Anybody here who says that he does not want to be happy? Then get the message clearly. You will not get it here. Where?

Listeners (in unison): XY

Speaker: You may get a little bit here and there but whenever you will get it, you will have a price to pay. You will have a price to pay, a steep price.

So, all you pressure seekers, all the happiness hunters, realize clearly that happiness is a worthy goal. Happiness is not to be criticized. There is nothing sinister about happiness. But if you want to get something, get it fully.Why not? You deserve it. Don’t you deserve it? Don’t you deserve the highest? Don’t you deserve a fair deal?

Would you want to go to a hospital where you are cured of one disease and infected with another? When you go to hospital you want a fair deal. Do you want happiness of this kind where you are given happiness and along with that you are given a lot of suffering free? Is that a fair deal?

Listener: No, Sir.

Speaker: That’s like being made a fool of, is that not?

Listener: Yes.

Speaker: You gave me happiness, along with that you gave me…

Listener: Suffering.

Speaker: Isn’t that stupid? What is the point in laughing, when laughter is always accompanied by misery, tears, and restlessness? What is the point in celebrating, when before and after the celebration, again there is the same void? You are dancing and you might get some pleasure in that dancing. We are not rejecting that. But what’s the point in such dancing and merry-making when before the dance you are sick and after the dance you again feel so empty and sick. Have you seen a place where a party has taken place? How does it look after the party has finished?

Listener: Garbage dump.

Speaker: That is how our life is. Music and dance and wine and celebration, and after that? Garbage dump.And it is such a sorrowful sight to see. The morning has arrived. There is nothing more. Also, you can’t party every night. You cannot reach the climax of partying. The wise man parties every night. And to add a little more to it, every day as well (Smilingly) . Isn’t that existing?

Listener: Yes.

Speaker: Young people we all are. Harivansh Rai Bachhan it was,

“हर दिन होली, रात दीवाली रोज़ मनाती मधुशाला।”

A party in the day, a party in the night. But our party, when we party we have to drink and if we drink in the day and in the night, in fifteen days the liver will be fully tight (Giggles). That’s another tavern. That’s another kind of drinking. Where you are drinking continuously, and yet nothing is happening to your liver. So much pleasure without any damage. So much attainment without any price to pay.

And when we party, there are huge bills to settle. So you can party and after that when everybody will be gone, three-four people will stay there. Who will they be? The people who have come to settle their dues. “Sir, this is for the food you consumed, this is for the dance floor, and this is for the Shamiyana (Ambiance) .” What is the point in this kind of partying? First you party and then you pay. And the more you party…

Listeners (in unison): The more you will pay.

Speaker: Then you pay the doctors as well. “Sir, something is happening to my liver.” Existence invites all of us to another kind of party. But that is in another realm, another plane. You will have to get out of your normal comfort zone. A little bit of courage is needed. A little attention is needed so that we can see what is happening in this dualistic plane.

What is Joy? The ultimate happiness. But that ultimate happiness is not attainable in the dualistic plane. There is no way except the way of immersion. All your other ways are located in the dualistic plane. Your most intellectual ways, most scientific ways, most clever ways, whatever they are, they are located in the dualistic plane.

Those ways cannot help. There is only one way. There is only one road. No other road will take you to the highest happiness. Is that becoming clear? We are not rejecting happiness. Let’s get that notion out of our head. Happiness is wonderful. We are not rejecting laughter, please do laugh. But let that laughter not be a stupid laughter. Laughter is wonderful,tears too are wonderful, but stupidity is not wonderful. Let’s party, let’s celebrate, but let that be a genuine celebration.

Whatever we have said, does that tally with what you have understood here, in the reading? Is there some incompatibility?

Listener: Sir, here (In the reading material) it is said that you are also happy when you sleep.

Speaker: Here it is means that sleep in which there is no more any activity in the mind.

Listener: Here it is written that there are two types of sleep, normal sleep and deep sleep.

Speaker: Normal sleep is that sleep in which the mind is working. What has been written about this?

Listener: “Further that happiness is daily experienced by everyone in sleep when there is no mind.”

Speaker: Yes, it is about deep sleep (*Sushupti* )

Speaker: Here it is being said that- No matter how deep the suffering you are in, maybe you are suffering from cancer or may be you will be hanged tomorrow, but when you are in deep sleep, do you experience any suffering?

Listener: No.

Speaker: That’s what is being said. You may be a king, but when you are in deep sleep, are you still a king?

Listener: No.

Speaker: That what is being said, that this plane which contains our normal happiness and suffering, the mind does not remain here in deep sleep. This does not mean that it has moved to the plane of immersion. It goes nowhere. It gets extinguished. Or you can say it just sits on the origin (of the graph) . It is not immersion. Sushupti is not Samadhi.

But it does let us know of one thing, that complete freedom from suffering is possible. You are living in the deepest of suffering, as I said, you are about to be hanged, but if you fall into deep sleep, then what hanging?

Listener: “The cause of Love is only happiness. At the same time everybody Love himself best. Because of Love is only happiness.”

Speaker: When he brings the word Love here, it would be great to just mathematically, I know it’s foolish but let’s just do it for the sake of analogy. In the frame-work that we established, where is Love? There is this (XY) plane, and the plane orthogonal to it. Where is Love in all this?

Listener: YZ?

Speaker: What is Love?

Listener: Immersion.

Speaker: What is Love?

Listener: Joy.

Speaker: Love is the pull that brings you out of the dualistic plane. You may write it down.

Love is the pull of that Source which snatches you away, which tears you away from the dualistic plane. Without the pull of the Source Himself, you can never come out of the dualistic plane. Appreciate this. Whatever you will do, will always be in the…?

Listener: Dualistic plane.

Speaker: So, how will you come out of the dualistic plane? Can you come out of the dualistic plane through your effort?

So, Love is what pulls you away from this plane. Because your effort cannot take you away from this plane. Love is that.

Listener: Is it accidental that someone is getting out of that dualistic plane?

Speaker: It’s a very democratic Love (Smilingly), it does not impose itself. It’s available, but it pulls you out only when you say that “I am ready to be pulled out.” Love does not choose. That Love is choiceless.

He does not discriminate. The Source, the Origin, does not discriminate. His Love is always available but He respects your choice. As long you say,“I don’t want to come to you”, He says: Alright, I’ll wait. Anyway time does not exist with me, so I am cool. I’ll wait.

You see what you want to do? You want to stay in the dualistic plane a little longer.So be it.That pull is anyway always available. But as long as you have a great belief that you can get happiness in this plane,why will you ever agree to be pulled up? That’s the logic of the mind. “I want happiness and I can get happiness here. Then why should I go somewhere else?” That’s the fool’s mind, that’s the mind which has never paid attention, which has never tried to see what is really happening in its life.

So, submission in Love happens only in attention. The inattentive mind will never get Love. That’s its punishment. The inattentive mind will keep thinking, “Things are alright, I am working,whenever I work I get some results. Sometimes the result is nice so I feel happy also. Let me work a little harder. Let me employ more clever means. That will give me more happiness.” And sometimes it does give you more happiness.

You become a big industrialist and you tell the entire world,“See, I tried and tried and ultimately I made it. I am the go-getter.” As long as you have beliefs like these, you will not accept the call of Love. You are busy with so many other things, who has time for Love? You are busy with your own achievements, “I can make it, what is all this Love and all. ‘Don’t do anything, just be a lover. Get immersed, drowned, die, dissolve’, what stupidity? There is power in myself. There is strength in my biceps. There is sharpness in my thought. I am like an eagle soaring high, swooping down upon its prey. Succeeding, collecting trophies, collecting encomia, praised all around. What is all this Love, immersion? Why bother? Common fight. Show me what you have got. This plane is all that there is-the dualistic plane. So be an achiever. How much is your salary? How high is your mansion? How many people praise you?”

And Love is a silent call. When there is so much of stupid banter, that silent call is not heard. There are these birds chirping,very unobtrusively. At the same time you can have a cacophony being played here. Who will hear the chirping of these birds? Love is like this, always available but seldom heard.


So, we will be pleasure seekers. We have not come here to waste our life. But then, we don’t want the half-baked, botched up kind of pleasures. We want the utter climax of pleasure, not some stupid foreplay after which nothing happens. We want the deep orgasm of pleasure. Let’s not settle for anything less than that. Let’s not reconcile ourselves to that normal middle class life. A flat, a car, a wife, kids, a little bit of progress,a fine enough bank balance,some respectability, some hope, foreign vacations once a year, this much of pleasure won’t do.It’s insufficient,our appetite is far greater; we want more. This won’t do, that five days in a year you become happy. This won’t do. “I want to be happy and I drink happiness to the hilt.

Give me more, let it keep coming. It’s not damaging my liver. Give me more. Don’t make a fool of me. I am not going to settle for anything less than the highest. I am not going to settle for anything less than the fullest.” Incidentally that is also the religious man, who says,“I am not going to settle for anything less than the highest.” That is the religious mind and I am saying that is also the pleasure-seeking mind. But not your normal worldly pleasure-seeking mind.

So say, and say clearly, announce to yourself,“I am not going to settle anything compromised. I won’t take it.” Somebody will come to you and claim,“I Love you”, see whether that Love will sustain itself under all circumstances, at all times, all places. If it won’t, then say, “Nothing less than the fullest will do. Either give me everything or give me nothing.”

So, previously as well and again and again I say, “Don’t compromise,”and this is what I mean when I say don’t compromise- Don’t accept these petty pleasures that come to you in the worldly plane. There are a lot of these tit-bits of pleasures. A baby is born in the house and for two months you are very happy, and then what happens to that happiness?

Your normal life offers you all these, sporadically, (Smilingly) so that you are not totally disappointed. Because total disappointment will be dangerous for the world. A totally disappointed man will no more belong to the world. So, the world keeps on throwing some crumbs at you so that your hope is sustained. “Ah! Right, I am not starving. Once a week for five minutes I get to be happy. So there is hope! The memory of those five minutes keeps me going!”

What stupidity is this? Don’t settle for this. Don’t compromise. Either everything or nothing. And, everything is possible. Do not become cynical. We are saying,“Everything is possible. Getting the absolute is possible.”

You are not destined to suffer. Nobody is destined to suffer. Infact, nothing suffers, this grass never suffers. Only man suffers. You are not destined to suffer. Happiness is possible. The highest happiness is possible. The absolute is very much within your grasp, you just have to just say,“Yes.”

Chacha? (One of the listeners) Yes?

Listener: Yes Sir.(says feebly )

Speaker: This kind of a “Yes” to the absolute?


Look at the immensity of His (Truth) Love and look at your“Yes”. It should be a loud, roaring, thundering “YES!”Then something will happen. You have to give a befitting response to the Ultimate. He has been such a persistent lover, He has been loving to us despite us being such fools. We have rejected, we have ignored, we have insulted and humiliated, and what’s more, we have often declared that there is nothing called the Source.

Half the world today says that there is nothing called the Source and there is no calling. When there is no invitation, what to say yes to? Inspite of all this, He is there. When somebody calls you with such earnestness, with such unfailing regularity, so unconditionally, then you embrace Him like mad. You don’t whisper a “Yes,”meekly, like a meow.

Somebody has been proposing to you since twelve billion years! And how do you accept his proposal?

(In a very weak and low voice)

“I do.”


Is that how you accept His proposal. We have been liars, fools and cheats, yet He says, “It’s alright. Whatever you are, you are mine. I Love you.”


Five minutes of happiness? That you can easily get. The waiter will bring some snacks and you will be happy.

By the way, is he bringing something?


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