Happiness is often described as a state of mind, achieved through sense of satisfaction or achievement.
Ultimate Happiness is stated to be the goal of every human being, with ‘ultimate’ described in Hindu scriptures as ‘Para Brahman’ which not only defies definition but also goes beyond imagination.
Happiness is a state of bliss in which there are no attachments, earthly pleasures or materialistic values.
‘Para Brahman’ is too big a step to take and hence India’s Gurus and Saints have advocated a gradual process over which the mind is prepared for transformation with piety, concentration and discipline. Idol worship, Pooja, Bhajan, Reading the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible are all part of the process to reach the ultimate.
The secret of achieving the objective is ‘do nothing.’
It may look simple but works in two ways.
One, if you are able to do nothing, you are able to control the ever-wandering mind; then you have achieved the objective.
Second, in the process of trying to do nothing, you will have a wonderful experience.
Sit in a place, either in the Prayer Room or before the Deity. Light a lamp and concentrate on the burning tip; or close your eyes and meditate. Each person can follow his or her own method. The effort here is to keep the mind devoid of all thinking and concentrate.
You will soon discover that the more you try to clear the mind, more and more thoughts enter than ever before. It will be an amazing experience indeed.
You will simply jump from topic to topic, location to location (even to different corners of the world), people to people, from this to that and so on.
It is seemingly a never-ending journey.
It is because of this tendency of the mind to go out of control jumping, the suggestion is to think of God or Nature to ‘concentrate’ and ‘meditate.’
The entire exercise, simply put, is controlling the mind. If you can control the mind, you have achieved everything. If the mind controls you, then you are no different to any ordinary human being.
Controlling the mind is not always easy. It needs continuous and concentrated efforts.
There are various techniques to practice control of the mind.
Almost all religions prescribe fasting as a method of controlling and disciplining the self. Hindus fast on several days of the month, especially on New Moon (Amavasya) Day and Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Christians fast on Fridays during Lent and on any day that they fell like abstaining from food.
Anger at work
In fact, many practice control of senses in different ways even in the office – when the boss is unhappy and uses strong language, you exercise restraint but take out your frustration and anger at colleagues or spouse and children at home.
In life, at home and office, people want to dominate and behave as if they are the boss.
But why not turn such negative things into positive thinking and control your mind? When you achieve the final goal of keeping the mind under your control and make it work the way you want it to work, you would experience a wonderful world and a state of bliss.
Such mind control helps you to contain your desires and achieve ‘self-realisation’ or ‘self-knowledge.’ Once you are gradually able to control your mind, you will slowly ‘realise yourself’ and know that the status of ‘Happiness’ or ‘Bliss’ is not very far.
Word of Caution
A word of caution: Absolute control of mind is an extra-ordinary feat achieved by saints and sages through constant meditation.
We may not be able to achieve that level of mind control. But we still attempt to sit in meditation and it would be possible to gradually reach that stage, where you could be relieved of stress, strain and the other modern day problems.
You would find yourself in a calm state of mind, better prepared to tackle the day-to- day life at home and work and achieve the balance of mind and body.
Ragavan Rengachariar is National Credit Manager and Group Internal Auditor at United Industries Limited based in East Tamaki, Auckland. He is also a religious scholar, voracious reader and a writer of various topics.