Ramana Maharshi on Happiness

Happiness lies deep within us, in the very core of our being. Happiness does not exist in any external object, but only in us, who are the consciousness that experiences happiness. Though we seem to derive happiness from external objects or experiences, the happiness that we thus enjoy in fact arises from within us.

Whatever turmoil our mind may be in, in the centre of our being there always exists a state of perfect peace and joy, like the calm in the eye of a storm. Desire and fear agitate our mind, and obscure from its vision the happiness that always exists within it. When a desire is satisfied, or the cause of a fear is removed, the surface agitation of our mind subsides, and in that temporary calm our mind enjoys a taste of its own innate happiness.

Happiness is thus a state of being — a state in which our mind’s habitual agitation is calmed. The activity of our mind disturbs it from its calm state of just being, and causes it to lose sight of its own innermost happiness. To enjoy happiness, therefore, all our mind need do is to cease all activity, returning calmly to its natural state of inactive being, as it does daily in deep sleep.

True happiness is therefore the happiness of just being, which is the perfect and absolute happiness that in mystical literature is known as ‘beatitude’. This true happiness of being is also described as ‘the peace of God, which passeth all understanding’, because it is experienced in full only in the perfectly peaceful state of just being, which is the state in which all mental activity has subsided in the clarity of unobstructed self-consciousness. That is, since it can be experienced perfectly only in the state in which we are conscious merely of our own essential being and not of any thoughts or objects, it is true happiness.

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