What is Happiness – Ramana Maharshi Explains

All of us have goals in life. Spiritual goals, material goals, and short-term and long-term goals. Do you know that there is one goal which is common to all of us? All of us aim to be happy! If you ask yourself a question about the desired outcome of any of your tasks, I am sure it will come down to a single answer-

I want to be happy

What objects give us happiness?

We have this notion that happiness comes from objects and that is the reason that we have too many desires- one after the other. In childhood, we long for toys and as we grow up we wish for a job, a nice car and then a wonderful spouse.

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This list never ends. But the point here is that if these objects or people can give us happiness then why is it not everlasting? Initially, all these objects and persons give us happiness and later they become a source of misery.

Almost all of us have experienced this at one point or the other in our lives.

We all know that even the wealthiest person who has all the fancy objects is not the happiest one. We also realise that close relationships, once cherished become the greatest life lesson.

This clearly shows that objects and people are not at all the source of happiness.

Where is happiness?

Now we know that happiness is not where we are searching for it, but then you will ask me where it is. Now in order to understand this it is necessary to contemplate the teachings of the wise sage Maharishi Ramana, he said “ That which is bliss is also the self. Bliss and self are not distinct and separate but one and the same. And That alone is Real. No single one of the countless objects of the mundane world is anything that can be called happiness. It is through sheer ignorance and unwisdom that we fancy that happiness is obtained from them. On the contrary when the mind is externalized it suffers pain and anguish”

He explains that if our happiness is dependent on other objects then it must increase or decrease according to the presence of these objects in our life.

Also, if one is not possessing any objects of desire then his or her happiness should be Null. But this is not the case because the greatest of the sages who had no material possessions were the ones who experienced the greatest bliss.

He also says that the man is happiest in his deep sleep when he is devoid of any possession. He is even not aware of his own body in sleep. This infers that the human being’s dependency on objects or people for gaining bliss or happiness is a futile desire.

What do we experience?

Now the question is when our desires are fulfilled and we feel happy for a moment or a few moments. What is that? So, when our desires are fulfilled we feel happy because our mind gets connected to the source of happiness for some time.

It actually becomes quiet for a few moments resulting from a satisfied desire. The mind is not bothered about anything else and only experiences the bliss which is there because of the fulfilment of the desire.

But soon the mind loses its connection to the source due to its habit of hopping from one thought to another and again we find ourselves in pursuit of happiness again, looking forward to the fulfilment of our next desire.

How to achieve eternal happiness? 

It is important to be aware and understand the phenomena behind happiness but it is equally important to take relevant action to achieve the state of happiness eternally. I am sharing three tips to remain in a happy state-

  1. Meditation- It is always said that meditation will bring peace and calmness but the best thing meditation can do for us is bring happiness. Meditation is of many types. You may start by downloading any meditation app from the internet. Start with the simple ones for 8-10 minutes and then graduate to the longer ones. The purpose of meditation is not to avoid or struggle with thoughts or cry about having too many thoughts. Rather the correct way to meditate is to observe all the thoughts which are coming into the mind and let them pass one by one. Face them each at a time and you will notice that similar thoughts will not appear for the next few days. Once you make this a consistent habit you will realise that the mind is no more hopping here and there. The single-pointedness and laser-sharp focus will help you to remain in a state of bliss.
  2. Breath work- Paying attention to the breathing process is very important. When one is anxious or stressed the breathing becomes very fast and unknowingly this shallow and rapid breathing becomes a living pattern. It is necessary to break this pattern to strengthen the spiritual processes. Regularly practising Pranayama is highly beneficial and keeps the mind in a state of calmness. And only a calm mind can experience happiness because it has the ability to focus on positive aspects and ignore the negative ones.
  3. Self-enquiry- It is being said that if you have a question coming up in your mind then ask that question to yourself five times, rather than asking it to someone else. Either you will get an answer to the question will dissolve. Therefore, diving deep into our own self is the best solution to any conflict. Self Enquiry is the method propounded by Maharishi Ramna and it is widely known. He suggests that one must make an effort to know how the mind operates by watching it vigilantly. We must enquire about the source of constant misery within us. Quietly enquiring ‘ who am I’ and from where this ‘I’ came from will pave the way towards profound knowledge.


To conclude, I must say that one must always try to be open-minded to learn and grow in life. It is also important to accept that we need to learn how to remain in a state of happiness. I hope the tools mentioned above will help you to do that. These are tried and tested tips, so do use them and do not forget them after reading.

If you feel that you are stuck and can’t move ahead in life do get in touch with me by clicking here.

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