This Chapter is taken from the book Gems from Bhagavan by A. Devaraja Mudaliar
All beings desireof happiness alwatime ys, happiness without a tinge sorrow. At the same everybody loves himself best. The cause for love is only happiness. So, that happiness must lie within oneself. Further, that happiness is daily experienced by everyone in sleep when there is no mind. To attain that natural happiness one must know oneself. For that, Self-enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ is the chief means.
Happiness is the nature of the Self. They are not different. The only happiness there is, is of the Self. That is the truth. There is no happiness in worldly objects. Because of our ignorance we imagine we derive happiness from them.
If, as a man generally imagines, his happiness is due to external causes, it is reasonable to conclude that his happiness must increase with the increase of possessions and diminish in proportion to their diminution. Therefore, if he is devoid of possessions his happiness should be nil. What, however, is the real experience of man? Does it confirm this view? In deep sleep the man is devoid of all possessions, including his own body. Instead of being unhappy he is quite happy. Everyone desires to sleep soundly. The conclusion therefore is that happiness is inherent in man and is not due to external causes. One must realize his Self in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness.
There is a story in Panchadasi, which illustrates that ourpains and pleasures are not due to facts but to our concepts.
Two young men of a village went on a pilgrimage to North India. One of them died there. But the other having picked up some job decided to return to his village only after some time. Meanwhile he came across a wandering pilgrim and sent word through him to his village about himself and his dead friend. The pilgrim conveyed the news and in doing so inadvertently changed the names of the living and the dead man. The result was that the dead man’s people were rejoicing that he was doing well and the living man’s people were in grief that he was dead.
I used to sit on the floor and lie on the ground. No cloth spread out. That is freedom. The sofa is a bondage. It is jail for me. I am not allowed to sit where and how I please. Is it not bondage? One must be free to do as one pleases and should not be served by others. ‘No want’ is the greatest bliss. It can be realized only by experience. Even an emperor is no match for a man with no wants.