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Happiness Is A Science: The Principle of Vaishnavism

All of us seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means we may employ, they all tend to this end. This is the motive of every action we take.But what is Happiness?Why is it different for different human beings? Can everybody be happy?Why most people live unhappy lives always?

A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA looks at different kinds of happiness.Breaking the study down for the layperson, psychology website www.theemotionmachine.com explained that there are two different types of happiness.

One is the common understanding of happiness, referred to as Hedonic well-being. This is the belief that happiness is based on the amount of pleasureable experiences you have—experiences such as eating a piece of cake, winning the lottery, or playing outdoor games,watching a movie, visiting a mall etc.

The other type of happiness is Eudaimonic well-being. This is the belief that happiness is based on having a higher sense of purpose and meaning in life; in doing things like following your passion, helping others, contributing to society, and identifying yourself as part of a “bigger picture.”

The study further found that people who scored high on meaningful happiness, or Eudaimonic well-being, showed healthier gene expression than those who only scored high on pleasurable happiness, or Hedonic well-being.

The Emotion Machine website then suggested some ways to live a more meaningful life, including expressing yourself creatively through art or music; actively helping others and doing good deeds; finding knowledge and wisdom from your negative experiences and adversity; focusing on growth in your life instead of results; and keeping long-term relationships with family, loved ones, friends, and coworkers.

This is a very insightful study and an effective way to live what the ancient Vedic scriptures would refer to as a “mode of goodness” life in this world—one that is more peaceful, moral, satisfying and helpful to society.

The Vedic and Gaudiya Vaishnava teachings followed by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness however offer more insight that take the search for happiness—which is an intrinsic need in every person—to a new level.

The ancient wisdom text Bhagvad-Gita explains that we are not our bodies or minds but that we are eternal souls who are never born and never die. ISKCON Founder Srila Prabhupada often cited the analogy of a car and its driver to describe the relationship between the body and the soul. The soul is the driver of the car (the body), which only has value when the driver is present.

Prabhupada also used the analogy of the bird and its cage. If we simply focus all our energies on cleaning and decorating the cage, and forget to feed the bird inside, it will die of malnourishment. Similarly, if we ignore the needs of our selves — the spirit soul within the body — we will never be truly happy.As is the case with most humans on this planet,and hence they all lead an unhappy life.

So what are the needs of the self? Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, explained that the natural state of the soul is to love and serve God, just as the natural state of a fish is to live in water. When we act against this intrinsic nature and just try to enjoy with our bodies, we never really feel satisfied — as the National Academy of Sciences’ recent study has found.

 

Knowing this, ISKCON devotees — while they may still be living externally ‘normal’ lives, working and caring for their families — try to offer the results of their work to Krishna The Supreme God, worship Him, and always try to please Him according to the directions of ancient wisdom texts like the Bhagvad-Gita. They also try to chant God’s name and absorb themselves in thoughts of Him. This brings a deep sense of peace, fulfillment and deep happiness that soothes the spirit soul.

Devotees of Krishna also understand the value of helping others. Vaishnava scriptures often say that Vaishnavas are sad to see others suffer, and become happy when they see others happy.

But while devotees appreciate how typical welfare work helps others live an easier life in this world, they ultimately want to assist souls in getting in touch with their intrinsic love of Krishna by chanting His holy names viz. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare;Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare. And they want to help them get out of this world, where happiness is so elusive, to live with God and serve Him happily for ever.

This is the Science of Happiness because it can be achieved by every human being if he/she follows the right methods of devotion to Krishna; as we’re not physical beings, we’re spiritual beings. Only Krishna can fulfill our spiritual hunger and thirst completely. And while we may be hedonistically happy without Him, it is only by knowing & loving Krishna that we can have Eudaimonic happiness with true joy, fulfillment and peace.

Author
Nishant Sharma
Krishnapath Volunteer

 

 













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Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare  ॐ हरे कृष्णा हरे कृष्णा कृष्णा कृष्णा हरे हरे। हरे रामा हरे रामा रामा रामा हरे हरे॥ ॐ