36: Happiness and Grief
The Yogavasishta puts forth a depiction of a person’s outlook driven by his emotional status. “One who is agitated, depressed and sad find the night as never ending. On the contrary, a person who is calm, peaceful and happy, for him the same night feels like a moment.” Everyone has agitations and sorrows in their lives. Each one complains that their sorrows are the worst and that only they have them and no one else. We must remember that happiness resides in us. This realization alone can give us everlasting peace and contentment.
Every human being is inherently happy. However, he broods over the past, thinks “I am so sad” and suffers as a result. For him happiness is like a light shining in the darkness. However, happiness and sadness are like a wheel, happiness follows sorrow and sorrow follows happiness.
Let’s look at an incident in Mahabharata. Yudhishthira was depressed. Seeing his long face, Maharshi Vyasa advised him, “Yudhishthira, the moon looks forward to the full moon night. It does not mourn the waning period. Don’t think or expect to receive only happiness in life. Enjoy your sorrows, your sufferings as well for they are a form of penance. This penance will alone give you eternal happiness.” Yudhishthira accepted the teachings and implemented them. As a result, in the difficult period of 13 years of exile, he ardently practiced yoga and penance and experienced divine bliss. Later, he was crowned the Emperor of India. The message here is that every individual should face positive and negative situations with enthusiasm. This is a motivation to the youth of today.
No one else is responsible for our happiness or grief. One day four friends meet and each one describes their grief. Each one feels that their own suffering is too great. Finally, they decide to share each other’s sorrows. Everyone writes their sorrows on a piece of paper and puts them in front of them. From the big pile, everyone picks up a paper. But after reading the text on the paper, everyone said “No, way! I am okay with my own sufferings.” So saying they go their separate ways.
‘The secret of human life is the attainment of happiness within us.’