First off, nothing else can make anybody happy (Sukhi) or unhappy (Dukhi) if that individual does not want to be.
If something or somebody can make an individual happy (Sukhi) or unhappy (Dukhi), then this essential would mean that you have given the remote control of your mind in the hands of that “something” or “somebody”, and so let them decide the state of your mind!
We all can attest to the fact that all human efforts and activities are aimed at two things: (1) gaining happiness (Sukh); and (2) freedom from all Dukh (suffering, sorrow, pain, affliction, agony, unhappiness …). Accordingly, all our endeavors are motivated by impulse to seek out joy-giving things and circumstances, and avoid any sorrow-giving things and situations. The Gurbani affirms this as follows:
- ਸੁਖ ਕਉ ਮਾਗੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਦੁਖੁ ਨ ਮਾਗੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: Every one asks (begs, craves, wishes, etc.) for (worldly) Sukh and none asks for Dukh. (sggs 57).
- ਜਤਨ ਬਹੁਤ ਸੁਖ ਕੇ ਕੀਏ ਦੁਖ ਕੋ ਕੀਓ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥: Man makes all sorts of efforts to find happiness; but none to earn pain (sggs 1428).
Dukh or problems will happen in life. There is no escape from them. However — since the Gurbani teaches a practical Way of living — the Wisdom of the Gurbani provides strength to our weak mind to cope with them.
In general, in human history, we have been living in the most materially prosperous time.
Still, it seems as we are not happy.
It’s because happiness is a state of the mind, not a function of material prosperity. The Gurbani attests to this:
- ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਬਹੁਤੈ ਧਨਿ ਖਾਟੇ ॥: There is no Sukh in earning lots of money. (sggs 1147).
The Gurbani indicates that happiness (Sukh, Bliss, Peace…) comes when the mind living daily life with the divine Virtues (ਮਨ ਦੇ ਗੁਣ) such as – Truth (ਸਤ), contentment (ਸੰਤੋਖ), mercy (ਦਯਾ), patience (ਧੀਰਜ), Sahaj (ਸਹਜ-Natural State of Being), Wisdom (ਗਿਆਨ), lack of desires, annihilation of false ego-sense (Haumai) and craftiness, etc.
- ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਚੁਕਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Subduing ego, lasting Sukh is obtained, and emotional attachment to Maya is dispelled (sggs 110).
- ਗੁਨ ਗਾਵਤ ਸੁਖ ਚੈਨ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: by living the divine Virtues in daily life, Sukh is realized (sggs 1272).
- ਹੁਕਮੈ ਬੂਝੇ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਏ ॥: One who understands God’s Hukam finds lasting Sukh (sggs 424).
- ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਨਾਮ ਧਿਆਏ ॥: There is no peace without remembering (i.e., living in daily life) the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth, Shabad…).(sggs 1145).
So, the Gurbani tells us there is NO Sukh in:
- ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਲੋਭ ਮੋਹ ਅਭਿਮਾਨਾ ਤਾ ਮਹਿ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਹੀ ਪਾਈਐ ॥: Lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment and pride – (caught in them) Peace is not obtained (sggs 614).
- ਜਿਨਾ ਰਾਸਿ ਨ ਸਚੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਉ ਤਿਨਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: Those who do not have the Fund (i.e, Capital, Asset) of Truth, how can they find Sukh (Happiness, Bliss, Peace…)? (sggs 23).
- ਸੁਪਨੈ ਸੁਖੁ ਨ ਦੇਖਨੀ ਬਹੁ ਚਿੰਤਾ ਪਰਜਾਲੇ ॥੩॥: Even in their dreams, people find no Peace; they are consumed by the fires of intense worry (sggs 30).
- ਹਉਮੈ ਸਭਾ ਗਣਤ ਹੈ ਗਣਤੈ ਨਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਨਾਹਿ ॥: All accounting is in egotism, in these, there is no Peace (sggs 36).
- ਆਤਮਾ ਰਾਮੁ ਨ ਪੂਜਨੀ ਦੂਜੈ ਕਿਉ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਇ ॥: They (Manmukh) do not worship the Aatam Raam, how can they find Sukh (i.e., Joy, Happiness, Peace…) from another (i.e., duality, Maya…)? (sggs 1415).
The Gurbani tells us that man’s all efforts are to find Sukh, none to get Dukha (“ਜਤਨ ਬਹੁਤ ਸੁਖ ਕੇ ਕੀਏ ਦੁਖ ਕੋ ਕੀਓ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥”).
If all our efforts are geared to find Sukh, then the question is: Where does the Dukh come from?
- ਸੁਖੈ ਕਉ ਦੁਖੁ ਅਗਲਾ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਬੂਝ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥: But in the wake of Sukh, there comes Dukh. The Manmukh does not understand this (sggs 57).
Although man’s target is Sukh, but his thinking (Soch) and the resuling actions are all Dukh-producing!
- ਮਨ ਰੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਾਰੀ ॥: O mind! Egoism and attachment are such heavy loads of Dukha (sggs 1260).
- ਪੰਚੇ ਰੁੰਨੇ ਦੁਖਿ ਭਰੇ ਬਿਨਸੇ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ॥੧॥: The five senses (of knowledge – eyes, ears, etc.) waste away through the love of duality; full of pain, they pine away. ||1| (sggs 19).
- ਸਭੇ ਦੁਖ ਸੰਤਾਪ ਜਾਂ ਤੁਧਹੁ ਭੁਲੀਐ ॥: All suffering and sorrows cling (to mind) upon forgetting (the Divine Naam = Wisdom, Virtues, Truth, Shabad…). (sggs 964).
- ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਸਭੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਖਿ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਰੋਇ ॥: The love of Maya is total pain; in pain they perish, and in pain they cry out (sggs 316).
As indicated in the foregoing verses (there are many more in the sggs), unhappiness comes from Haumai (false ego sense), mind’s allurement or attachment to worldly things, uncontrolled desires, hunger for Maya or love of duality (two-ness or two divisions of the mind), fear, life full of doubts, Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, and their countless variations.).
In nutshell, a mind devoid of Virtues or Wisdom is an unhappy (or Dukhi) mind.
- ਸਾਚੇ ਨਾਮ ਕੀ ਲਾਗੈ ਭੂਖ ॥ ਉਤੁ ਭੂਖੈ ਖਾਇ ਚਲੀਅਹਿ ਦੂਖ ॥: If someone feels hunger for the True Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…), that hunger will consume his Dukh (sggs 9).
- ਮੁੰਧੇ ਗੁਣਹੀਣੀ ਸੁਖੁ ਕੇਹਿ ॥: (O soul-bride)! Being Virtueless, there can no happiness. (sggs 56).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਵੇ ਬਹੁਤਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਜੁਗ ਚਾਰੇ ਭਰਮਾਈ ॥: Without living daily life with the Satgur’s Wisdom (Virtues…), the mortal suffers immense Dukh all the time. (sggs 603).
The Gurbani shows us how to burn Dukh:
- ਦੀਵਾ ਮੇਰਾ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਤੇਲੁ ॥ ਉਨਿ ਚਾਨਣਿ ਓਹੁ ਸੋਖਿਆ ਚੂਕਾ ਜਮ ਸਿਉ ਮੇਲੁ ॥੧॥: The One Naam (which provides Light of Wisdom in my life…) is my lamp; I have put the oil of Dukh into it. (With that Naam’s lamp-) Light, the oil (of my Dukh) has dried up and I escape my connection with the Jamm (lust, anger, greed, etc.). ||1|| (sggs 358).
Dukh is medicine
The edict of the Gurbani is — “ਦੁਖੁ ਦਾਰੂ” or “Suffering is the medicine”.
Suffering or pain (Dukh) makes the mind strong. So, the Wisdom of the Gurbani — the Ultimate medicine — asks us not to be afraid of Dukh.
- ਦੁਖੁ ਦਾਰੂ ਸੁਖੁ ਰੋਗੁ ਭਇਆ ਜਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਤਾਮਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ॥: Dukh is (or becomes) the medicine, and Sukh (becomes cause of) the disease (i.e., suffering); but if (the Real – spiritual or ਆਤਮਕ) Sukha (is experienced or Realized, within), then (no Dukha remains) (sggs 469).
First, let’s try to understand why Sukha is said to be the source of disease (i.e., suffering, Dukha…). The Gurbani tells us that Sukha puts us to sleep (mayaic slumber) — it makes us forget our True Nature (Mool, Truth, Jot Saroop…) as Unconditioned Consciousness. Worldly Sukha thus kills the Spirit per se, not to mention the body. As told in the Gurbani, we are nothing but “Joti Savroop“, which is free from Dukha and Sukha.
- ਸੁਖੁ ਮਾਂਗਤ ਦੁਖੁ ਆਗੈ ਆਵੈ ॥ ਸੋ ਸੁਖੁ ਹਮਹੁ ਨ ਮਾਂਗਿਆ ਭਾਵੈ ॥: People beg for Sukh, but Dukha comes instead. I would rather not beg for that Sukha (sggs 330).
However, worldly Sukha deludes us away from Truth, causing separation where there is none. While intoxicated with mundane Sukha, we care less about the Spiritual matters (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth, Shabad, Naam…) in daily life.
How can Dukha be the medicine?
In other words, Dukh makes us patient and humble and takes us closer to the Truth. It is our reformer and benefactor in disguise—the “Dandaa” (stick) of the Hukam or the Law of Nature, per se. To put it otherwise, every Dukha that enters our mind pulls us towards Bliss. For example, if we look at ourselves in our moments of Dukha, we will invariably find that we not only think of Rabb a lot during those moments, but also do so with more intensity and faith! Dukha thus revives the Divine Consciousness dormant in us. Hence, Dukh acts as catalyst of the Spiritual quest, pulls us towards the Naam (Wisdom, Virtues, Truth, Shabad…), and thus becomes the medicine for all our ailments!
- ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਰਹੈ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗਾ ॥ ਜਨਮੁ ਜੀਤਿ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਾਗਾ ॥੬॥: Recognizing his own selves, a person who remains lovingly attuned (to the Naam), through the Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the SGGS…), he becomes victorious on the battlefield of life, and his suffering run away. ||6|| (sggs 1189).
Know Dukha and Sukh the same
First, the Gurbani wants us to understand the truth that both Dukh and Sukh are part of human life (“ਸੁਖੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੁਇ ਦਰਿ ਕਪੜੇ ਪਹਿਰਹਿ ਜਾਇ ਮਨੁਖ ॥”) – man’s own making.
Depending on one’s Soch (thinking or thoughts) and the resulting actions, a person either experiences Dukh or Sukh in daily life.
Therefore, if one’s Soch (thinking or thoughts) and the resulting actions are primarily Dukh-producing, then one cannot avoid Dukh. To the contrary, if one’s Soch (thinking or thoughts) and the resulting actions are primarily Sukh-producing, then one cannot avoid Sukh either.
Accordingly, the Gurbani reminds us that it’s foolishness to pray or ask the third-party for ONLY Sukh by abandoning ALL Dukh (“ਨਾਨਕ ਬੋਲਣੁ ਝਖਣਾ ਦੁਖ ਛਡਿ ਮੰਗੀਅਹਿ ਸੁਖ”).
- ਸੁਖੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੋਨੋ ਸਮ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨੈ ਅਉਰੁ ਮਾਨੁ ਅਪਮਾਨਾ ॥ ਹਰਖ ਸੋਗ ਤੇ ਰਹੈ ਅਤੀਤਾ ਤਿਨਿ ਜਗਿ ਤਤੁ ਪਛਾਨਾ ॥੧॥: One who knows that Sukha and Dukha are both the same, and honor and dishonor as well, who remains detached from joy and sorrow, realizes the true essence (of living) in the world ||1||. (sggs 219).
- ਜਉ ਸੁਖ ਕਉ ਚਾਹੈ ਸਦਾ ਸਰਨਿ ਰਾਮ ਕੀ ਲੇਹ ॥: If you long for Eternal Happiness (Peace, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਨੰਦ…), then (your mind) must take refuge of Raam (Truth, Wisdom, Virtues, Mool…). (sggs 1427).
- ਡਿਠਾ ਸਭੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਸੁਖੁ ਨ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ॥: (By searching) I have seen the whole world, there is no Sukh without the Naam (i.e., Wisdom, Truth, Virtues…). (sggs 322).