Sadness and Happiness Defined

Baabaa Nanak says:

  • ਤਰਵਰ ਪੰਖੀ ਬਹੁ ਨਿਸਿ ਬਾਸੁ ॥ ਸੁਖ ਦੁਖੀਆ ਮਨਿ ਮੋਹ ਵਿਣਾਸੁ ॥: Tarvar pankhee bahu nidhi baas. Sukh dukheeaa mani moh vinaas: At night, birds settle on the tree. (Similarly Jeeva -individual beings – come to this Sansaar, the place of repeated suffering) Some are happy, and some are sad. Caught in the desires of the mind (mind’s allurement, mind’s love of worldly objects, etc.), they perish (die of spiritual death – ਆਤਮਕ ਮੌਤ, repeated suffering, etc.) (sggs 152).

As indicated in the foregoing verse, sadness comes from desire (or through mind’s allurement, mind’s attachment to worldly things, etc.).

And, as the following verse of the Gurbani indicates, happiness comes from the lack of desire.

  • ਛਕਿ ਕਿ ਨ ਰਹਹੁ ਛਾਡਿ ਕਿ ਨ ਆਸਾ ॥: Why are you so unhappy? Why don’t you abandon your desires (and become happy)? (sggs 340).

So, clearly, the only way to avoid sadness and experience happiness is to be rid of mind’s desires. Baabaa Nanak again:

  • ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਮਨੂਆ ਚਿਤ ਮਹਿ ਚੀਤਾ ॥ ਐਸੇ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਲੋਗ ਅਤੀਤਾ ॥੫॥ ਹਰਖ ਸੋਗ ਤੇ ਰਹਹਿ ਨਿਰਾਸਾ ॥ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਚਾਖਿ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਨਿਵਾਸਾ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਰਹੈ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗਾ ॥ ਜਨਮੁ ਜੀਤਿ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਾਗਾ ॥੬॥: When the mind remains in the mind, and the consciousness in the consciousness (ceasing of the mind and consciousness from wandering outside, etc.) , such people of the Lord remain unattached. ||5|| (Unattached, they) remain free of any desire for happiness or sorrow (ਇੱਛਾ-ਰਹਿਤ); tasting the Amrit (Naam-Amrit – ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੇਣ ਵਾਲਾ ਨਾਮ-ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ), they abide in the Lord’s Name. They recognize their own selves (spiritual realization, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਨੂੰ ਪਰਖ ਲੈਣਾਂ, etc.), and remain lovingly attuned (to the Lord’s Name). They are victorious on the battlefield of life, and following the Guru’s Teachings, their suffering run away. ||6|| (sggs 1189).

In fact there are numerous verses in the Gurbani that say we should hold on to the One who has no desire.

Filed Under: Gurbani, Joy, Sorrow, Sukh, Dukh
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3 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Maninder

    Thank you for putting this up. My grandfather just passed away and the last quoting from the granth sahib could not have described him better. Reading this, I felt like guru ji was writing about my grandfather.

  2. Warren

    This is a beautiful post. Thank you.

    Before a man reaches self-consciousness, the desires and sorrows of his kamarupa catalyze awareness of his external world, as he is yet too immature in his eternal being to have awareness of the world around him from his own internal activity. The generic desires and sorrows of his kamarupa give him awareness of his external world as, perhaps, the flesh of his hand gives his bones awareness of the physical world – it is a glove of sentience. The more he becomes aware of his eternity, the less sway does his kamarupa hold over him. Is that the meaning of this post?

    • Good comment!

      The more he becomes aware of his eternity, the less sway does his kamarupa hold over him. Is that the meaning of this post?


      The sensory world can never give us any real satisfaction…

      Certain desires may not be in keeping with Dharma. They are fancies that come and go.

      So while fulfilling desires one has to make sure that one’s actions and efforts conform to Dharma – mind linked to the True Nature, Naam…

      Baabaa Nanak:

      ਹਉ ਮੁਆ ਮੈ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਪਉਣੁ ਵਹੈ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਥਕੀ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਜਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਤਾ ਨਾਇ ॥: Haou muaa mai maariaa paoun vahai dareeaaou. Trishnaa thakee Naanakaa jaa mann ratta naai: The breath flows like a river (of desires within that person who is) killed (or possessed) through egotism and mine-ness (ਭਾਵ, ਜਿਤਨਾ ਚਿਰ ਜੀਵ ‘ਹਉਮੈ’ ਦਾ ਮਾਰਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ ਉਸ ਦੇ ਅੰਦਰ ਤ੍ਰਿਸ਼ਨਾ ਦਾ ਦਰਿਆ ਵਹਿੰਦਾ ਰਹਿੰਦਾ ਹੈ). Desire is exhausted, O Nanak, only when the mind is imbued with the Name (sggs 1091).

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