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True happiness of jiva.

From: bindinganavale suresh (suresh_b_n_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Mon Jun 05 2000 - 23:10:41 PDT

Dear Bhagavathas,
                 This article attempts to investigate
the meaning of "Happiness" with respect to an
conscious entity like the jiva atman from
visistaadvaita school of thought.

In the Vedarthasangraha of Bhagavad Ramanuja,there is
a wonderful discussion on the nature of ananda or
Bliss,where it is mentioned that "Ananda or Bliss is a
particular kind of cognition i.e knowledge".

Now,in this world, we observe that the common dharma
or instinct of every living being around us(including
us) is to be happy and avoid sorrows.So the goal of
every thinking and emotional being is to abide in
happiness.

The definition of Happiness and sorrow varies from
species to species and finally from individual to
individual.On analysis,it can be found that the
difference in the definitions is due to difference in
values, which in turn is due to difference in
knowledge and belief in the same.This is the
reason,why different people pursue different and
sometimes mutually contradictory goals.

For example,
the goal of a materialistic person is to make money
and lead a comfortable life on this earth and he
avoids or overcomes all the obstacles that come in his
way with respect to his goal.But,the goal of a
spiritual seeker is such that he has some renunciation
to the goals of a materialistic person and seeks to
abide as a spiritual entity,which he thinks is his
true   nature through knowledge and faith.

Ramanuja in his work Vedarthasangraha clearly mentions
that"A person's goal in his life depends upon what he
concieves himself to be".

If a person thinks that he is the body,then his goals
are with respect to that particular understanding.
On the other hand if he is educated that he is a
conscious entity called jiva atman,which is different
and transcendental to the body he is in, then the set
of values as desirable and undiserable are with
respect to the Knowledge of the self.

But,when a question such as "What exactly is true and
real happiness to an individual and also the highest
good?" is asked, Sri.Ramanuja says that
service or kaimkarya to the Supreme Lord known as
Narayana,who is all pervading, omniscient,omnipotent
etc., is the highest joy and good of the
jiva atman.

Now it can be asked how is such an answer proved.
Bhagavad Ramanuja outlines the answer so beautifully
as follows:-

The Individual person in this world when he forms a
true conception of himself through the "knowledge of
vedantha",knows himself to be an attribute or prakara
or sarira of the Supreme Brahman immanent in him.He
understands that he exists because Brahman exists as
he is one of the attribute of Brahman.In other words
the true nature of jiva is that it is one with Brahman
as its attribute and mode and exists solely for its
substance i.e Brahman.In itself it is solely of the
nature of consciousness and bliss,different and
transcendental from the body it is in i.e different
from and modifications of prakriti. 

Any knowledge of the jiva atman devoid of its
metaphysical status as an attribute or amsa of the
supreme brahman is incomplete and cannot be said
to be its "True nature".

A person with the above understanding is cured from
the
delusion of seeking happiness and immortality in the
ever changing prakriti.
Such a person also understands himself to be Immortal
and free from defects of prakriti (felt in his
samsaric life), as the unique, transcendental, eternal
and unchanging amsa or attribute (which is also known
as jiva atman or jiva bhuta)of the one and only one
Brahman, and not as a person with caste,
colour,secular qualification and other identifications
which are
temporary and do not have an eternal value.

Such an understanding and subsequent realization
surely leads one to joy.

In short an Individual with the above knowledge
chooses to do loving service to the Supreme brahman
Narayana eternally as it is in accordance with reality
or tattva and gives up his career as a slave to the
gunas of
prakriti.

Conclusion :- Service to the supreme brahman Narayana
either in this world or during moksha is the true
activity of the jiva atman as it is in accordance with
its true nature or tattva and all other services or
activities to objects othan sriman Narayana is in
accordance with one's karma.True joy or eternal
happiness consists in exercising the freedom
of the jiva atman(given by the lord)in the service of
the lord and not in surrendering the same to the gunas
of prakriti.

This article is written to share my thoughts only from
the ontological point of view.When i say service only
to Lord Narayana,i also include Bhagavathas who are
god  like and one with the Lord in thoughts and deed.

Sri krishnaarpanamamasthu
B.N.Suresh

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