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Consciousness and health

The Seeking of Happiness

Dr. Soumitra Basu

Most of us are seeking happiness in a world torn by conflict, strife, stress and war. Most of us are seeking a refuge where there can be some peace from this turmoil of life. But we are usually misled for we do not know the art of seeking happiness. We seek happiness from things which are impermanent. These include external things, relationships and ideas. Things do not last forever, relationships break, if not forcibly then by death, and ideas and beliefs fluctuate constantly. We seek happiness in them but overlook their transient nature and as a result, sorrow becomes our constant companion (1).

We are unhappy for we are suffering as we are let down in our pursuit of happiness. Or is it that we are born into suffering which is our native state and we are seeking happiness to dispel that suffering? Indeed, it is true that evolution started from the Inconscience, where suffering was present. If we pursue the history of consciousness as presented by Sri Aurobindo, we find that the Superconscient values of Knowledge, Light, Life, Love and Joy are turned into their nether opposites of Ignorance, Darkness, Death, Hatred and Suffering in the Inconscience. When evolution started from the Inconscience, it naturally carried those negative stains into the manifestation. And therefore suffering is very basic in life. It is not only personal but impersonal as it has a cosmic character. The milieu may be different throughout the world but the phenomenon of suffering is the same.

Throughout history, there has been an advent of messiahs, prophets, Avatars, who pointed out ways to emerge from suffering into happiness. They taught that if one could listen to suffering and work through it, one could experience happiness. Psychologically speaking, happiness and suffering characterise the vital plane of consciousness. One can shift from one mode to the other but as both happiness and suffering exist in the vital, a reverse-mode shift is always possible. Happiness therefore seems to have no permanency. Ultimately, death arrives and suffering seems to triumph! Therefore, it has been professed to remain detached from the vital to remain happy. How? True detachment would mean not to possess anything.

What do we mean by not to possess anything? We live in a world of transactions where we have to make use of things at our disposal. That is necessary for our bare survival. Therefore, we have to learn the true technique of detachment. The Mother explains this lucidly:

“To possess nothing does not at all mean not to make use of anything, not to have anything at one’s disposal. ‘Happy is he who possesses nothing’: he is someone who has no sense of possession, who can make use of things when they come to him, knowing that they are not his, that they belong to the Supreme, and who, for the same reason, does not regret it when things leave him; he finds it quite natural that the Lord who gave him these things should take them away from him for others to enjoy. Such a man finds equal joy in the use of things as in the absence of things. When you have them at your disposal, you receive them as a gift of Grace and when they leave you, when they have been taken away from you, you live in the joy of destitution. For it is the sense of ownership that makes you cling to things, makes you their slave, otherwise one could live in constant joy and in the ceaseless movement of things that come and go and pass, that bring with them both the sense of fullness when they are there and, when they go, the delight of detachment (2).”

But beyond the ambit of the vital is a deeper source in the inmost recesses of the being. This is beyond the grasp of the ego to which the vital is linked. This is the soul-space, the home of the Beyond-Ego principle — the Psychic Being. It is the source of uninhibited Bliss and Delight. The Psychic Being is a projection of the Jivatman and therefore has been projected from the Superconscience. It has, unlike the external being of man, no link with the Inconscience and therefore no link with the suffering, ignorance, falsehood and death that reside in the Inconscience and stain the emerging being with their presence. The vital can be de-linked from the ego and brought under the influence of the Psychic Being. It can then be linked to the unstained Delight and Bliss carried by the Psychic Being.

A contact with the Psychic Being can help an individual to be free from the negative stains of the Inconscience and experience Delight and Bliss without any contact with suffering. “Delight means to live in the Truth, to live in communion with eternity, with the true Life, the Light that never fails. Delight means to be free, free with the true Freedom, the Freedom of the constant, invariable union with the Divine Will (3).”


1. Krishnamurti JK. The Book of Life. New York: Harper Collins; 1995, July 5.

2. The Mother. The Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 3. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 2003, p. 253.

3. Ibid., pp. 253-54.

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World of transactions