A reader posted the following question:

Pranam Swamiji,
My prayers seem to have been answered (partly) as we are able to read your blog. I have a set of questions:
a. What is Happiness ?
b. How do we pursue happiness ?
c. What should we leave to attain happiness ?
d. What should we not leave to attain happiness ?
At this juncture in life, (it seems like a life & death question)some guidance from you would help clear the doubts and show the path forward. Pranam

a. False happiness derived from and driven by external phenomena, and therefore, linked to sense gratification has the flip side: sorrow. True happiness, also known as bliss, is the natural state of mind. Mind’s innate nature is pure bliss.

b. Pursuit of happiness requires either letting go of all desires, or, complete surrender to your Ishta if you are firmly established in bhakti, or, taming the mind if you tread the path of meditation. All three not being mutually exclusive. The more you can give to others, the more you will have from others. Those “others” may not necessarily be the ones you are giving joy to but the providence will give you multifold in return choosing some others as the medium. Once you turn inward, you will always be in a state of happiness completely unaffected by all external phenomena. I say this from first hand experience.

c. All bhava (sentiments) that give you grief and weaken your willpower as well as consciousness should be abandoned. It will come with practice. If you are willing to put in the effort, you will see the results.

d. One must never forsake morality in the pursuit of happiness. The joy from any karma that excludes morality is the false, illusory, and elusive happiness.

Happiness is not a reciprocal arrangement with an individual, instead, it is with God. When you decide to make others happy, the Supreme Soul blesses you with peace as well as happiness. And both of them are required for self-realization or for the attainment of any spiritual goal.

Please reread Himalayan Expectations to understand what destroys one’s state of happiness.

Hare Krishna
Swami