Types of happiness and heaven or Moksha?


1. Types of happiness and unhappiness

1.1 When alive

A. According to the scriptures: Physical (adhibhautik), divine (adhidaivik) and spiritual (adhyatmik) are the types according to the scriptures. These types are classified according to the cause of happiness or unhappiness. We will understand this better with an example. Let us take the example of the sun.

  • 1. Physical (adhibhautik): The sun being of the form of radiance, it has a tremendous amount of heat. The warm sunlight feels pleasant in winter but the same proves distressful during summer. Thus, the happiness or unhappiness experienced from the various objects created from the five great cosmic elements (panchmahabhuta) are termed as physical (adibhautik). The happiness and unhappiness from fire, drought, excessive rainfall, so also from animals and man are included in this type.

  • 2. Divine (adhidaivik): The deity Savita regulates all the activities of the sun. This deity is appeased by one who repeats (chants) Her Name and blesses him. Hence, such happiness is termed as divine (adhidaivik) happiness. However, should this deity get enraged it curses the person who consequently has to experience unhappiness. In short, the happiness and unhappiness arising from the grace of the deities or their rage, those from ghosts, spirits etc., unhappiness experienced after death are included in this category.

  • 3. Spiritual (adhyatmik):

    Physical: Due to an imbalance of the three humours (dosha), vata (wind), pitta (bile) and kapha (phelgm).

    Psychological: Due to the six foes of the soul (shadripu) namely, desire (kam), anger (krodh), greed (lobh), vanity (mada), attachment (moha) and jealousy (matsar). These defects too are dependent on the three humours vata, pitta and kapha.

        To overcome the unhappiness arising from physical and divine causes, generally external measures need to be employed. Thus, this unhappiness is curable with external remedies. Psychological unhappiness on the other hand need internal measures for their amelioration.

1.2 After death

One experiences unhappiness on not obtaining those objects which gave oneself happiness when alive.

1.3 Worldly, in other worlds and spiritual

  • A. Worldly: Relative to objects

  • B. In the subtle worlds: Relative to objects

  • C. Spiritual: Unrelative to objects

1.4 Relativity

  • A. Relative to unhappiness: One feels happy after recovering from an illness. If one who is unhappy due to ignorance is enlightened with knowledge the unhappiness vanishes; this can be called happiness relative to unhappiness.

  • B. Relative to happiness: When a well-to-do person procures a huge fortune, he feels happier.

If the reverse is true, one gets unhappiness relative to happiness and unhappiness.

1.5 Individual (vyashti) and for the sake of society (samashti)

‘Like every individual the target of society too should be happiness. Happiness of the society is the happiness of all or most of its members. Despite keeping this as the objective, society has to remain content with psychological happiness. With respect to physical happiness it is observed that if an individual begins experiencing excessive happiness then he begins to encroach on the happiness of another. Food, clothing and shelter are the basic needs of man. But it is not possible for society to provide them in abundance to the entire population. It is assumed that every individual will be given a minimal share of food. However if one tries to acquire an extra portion, another is deprived of it. Psychological happiness differs in this aspect. As an individual begins to experience more and more psychological happiness, he becomes the cause for others’ happiness, for instance by painting beautiful pictures, writing exquisite novels and plays, giving wonderful dance and vocal recitals, etc. Consequently others too acquire happiness from all this and as a result the artists become famous. Fame is a very luring psychological happiness. Just like sandalwood which imparts its fragrance to others, by reducing one’s physical happiness man should sacrifice oneself for the sake of others and be praised by society. This proves to be favourable for both and so the society too makes progress.’

2. Types of happiness

‘प्रापणात्‌ सर्वभोगानां परित्‍यागो विशिष्‍यते ।’ means true happiness lies in the sacrifice of pleasures than in indulging in them.

2.1 Sattvik (sattva predominant), rajasik (raja predominant) and tamasik (tama predominant)

  • A. Sattvik: Giving happiness to others without thinking about one’s own happiness or suffering. Giving happiness to others does not reduce one’s happiness, as actually it is 100% happiness. This is happiness arising from the mind.

  • B. Rajasik: Trying to acquire happiness without causing any unhappiness to others. The happiness obtained from the sense organs and the motor organs is called rajasik happiness, eg. eating a delicacy. In this case, happiness or contentment is obtained instantly but ultimately it culminates into unhappiness for the reasons given below.

    1. One cannot experience a lot of happiness, eg. one can get a stomach upset by overeating a sweet dish.

    2. One cannot obtain the objects the moment they are desired, e.g. the sweet shop may be closed or a particular sweet may not be available in the shop.

    3. Sometimes it so happens that, the happiness gets converted into a necessity, e.g. after enjoying travelling by car it becomes a habit. Thereafter, if the car is unavailable for even a day, one feels unhappy.

  • C. Tamasik: One derives happiness by inflicting others with unhappiness and running away from the hardships of life, e.g. drinking alcohol, taking narcotics, harassing others. This may also be termed as happiness arising from ignorance.

Generally happiness experienced by the intellect is sattvik, that by the mind is rajasik and that by the body is tamasik in nature. The happiness derived after the intellect acquires spiritual knowledge is merely due to the elimination of ignorance which is gross. When the mind experiences happiness, its grossness too is decreased.

2.2 A pleasurable feeling, a pleasurable sensation (mod) and happiness (pramod)

When one sees an object which endows happiness a pleasurable feeling is generated in the mind. When that object is procured there is a pleasurable sensation and when experiencing it there is happiness.

2.3 According to the organs

All types of happiness arises from Brahman (God principle)

  • A. Brahmanand (Advaitanand): Happiness in its pure form is termed as Brahmanand or (Advaitanand), i.e. Bliss arising from Brahman or non-duality (advait).

  • B. Vidyanand (dnyananand): Happiness obtained from the intellect is termed as vidyanand or dnyananand, i.e. happiness obtained from knowledge (dnyan).

  • C. Vasananand: Happiness obtained from gratification of desires and aspirations, so also of anger, egoism, jealousy, etc. is termed as vasananand, i.e. happiness obtained from desire (vasana).

  • D. Vishayanand: Happiness (worldly happiness or object pleasure) obtained from the sense organs is termed as vishayanand.

Happiness other than Bliss obtained from Brahman (Brahmanand) are all of an impure nature and cannot grant complete contentment. Although all types of happiness arise from Brahman (God principle) yet the quality of happiness depends on the purity of the person experiencing it. Just as a reflection of an object is clearly seen in clean water but is not at all seen in muddy water, similarly only if the ego (aham) is pure does one experience the supreme Bliss of Brahman and not otherwise.

3. Climax of happiness and unhappiness

The peak of happiness is orgasm and that of unhappiness is when a seeker gets dejected when he does not find God. Since the happiness obtained during intercourse is physical, it is tamasik in nature, while the unhappiness experienced by the seeker is sattvik.

4. Efforts to obtain happiness and alleviate unhappiness

4.1 Efforts to obtain happiness

In schools, colleges, etc. one is taught history, geography, mathematics, etc. but not how to find Bliss. Hence living beings try to find as much happiness as possible with the five senses, mind and intellect.

4.2 Efforts to reduce unhappiness

यन्निमित्तं भवेच्‍छोकस्‍तापो वा दु:खमेव च ।
आयासो वा यतो मूलमेकाङ्‌गमपि तत्त्यजेत्‌ ।।
                                                                      – महाभारत १२.१७४.४३

Meaning: That which causes grief, stress, unhappiness or pain has to be sacrificed even though it may be an organ of our body. – Mahabharat 12.174.43

Instead of trying to acquire happiness man makes more efforts to reduce suffering, for example by going to a doctor when ill, getting the radio or car repaired when it breaks down, etc. Very few people regularly exercise to remain healthy, get the car serviced periodically, etc. The efforts made to alleviate suffering are not always successful. For instance, an incurable illness, old age and death are things about which an ordinary person can do nothing to reduce the consequent suffering.

In short, since one does not know how to obtain Bliss, the life of the majority of people is spent in trying to find small pleasures and in overcoming unhappiness.

5. Quantity of happiness obtained through various bodies

वेदनानां अधिष्‍ठानं मनो देहश्‍च सेंद्रिय: ।
केशलोम नखाग्रान्नमल द्रवगुणैर्विना ।। – चरक शारीर १

Meaning: The hair on the body, tips of the nails, sweat and faeces do not experience unhappiness. Charak Sharir 1

5.1 Happiness obtained through the physical body through the medium of the five senses

Eating one’s favourite dish, listening to music, watching a movie, etc. are pleasurable initially but if one repeats the act over and over again the happiness obtained from it goes on decreasing and ultimately the same thing causes unhappiness. Hence in the holy text, Shrimadbhagvadgita (2:14) it is said,

मात्रास्‍पर्शास्‍तु कौन्‍तेय शीतोष्‍णसुखदु:खदा: ।

Meaning: Cool and warm responses of the sense organs with objects give happiness or unhappiness respectively.

If a person begins eating a favourite dessert like ice cream, then he will relish the first three or four plates. He will eat the next three or four plates with less enthusiasm and finally will refuse more. If he is forced to eat it, then it will make him unhappy. The same occurs if one listens to the same song or watches the same movie over and over again. That is why the holy text, Adhyatmaramayan teaches that ultimately every kind of happiness culminates in unhappiness.

5.2 Happiness obtained through the subtle body (desire body, mental body)

The quality and quantity of happiness obtained by the mind, for example by loving someone is higher than that obtained through the five senses. Its duration is also longer. Later when love successfully culminates in marriage, the happiness obtained from it decreases.

5.3 Happiness obtained through the causal body (intellect)

Although the happiness obtained by the intellect by studying a particular subject, understanding it, solving a difficult mathematical problem, discovering something after doing research, etc. is of a higher quality and quantity than the happiness obtained through the mind, yet that too is transitory.

5.4 Quantity of happiness derived from various organs

Organ Quantity of
happiness %
1. Sense organs 10
Ears  2
Skin  0.9
Eyes  4
Tongue  3
Nose  0.1
2. Motor organs 10
Hands  2
Legs  2
Speech  2
Genitals  2
Anus  2
3. Mind 30
4. Subconscious mind 20
5. Intellect 30
Total 100

This table clarifies that one who has a handicap in a sense or a motor organ, like one with total deafness or one crippled in both the legs need not get dejected because in reality he is experiencing only 2% less happiness than a person who does not have these deficits. Inspite of this, several people develop an inferiority complex due to their handicap and make themselves unhappy.

5.5 Physical and psychological happiness

Physical happiness can affect health adversely. This does not occur with psychological happiness.

5.6 Various bodies and the quality and quantity of happiness and unhappiness

There are differences in the quality and quantity of happiness and unhappiness obtained through the physical (five sense organs), subtle (vital energy and mind) and causal (intellect) bodies. To cite an example, the pain in the physical body is localised to the site of the injury whereas in the mental body it is generalised. The diagram below illustrates the amount of happiness in various bodies.


Bliss and types of happiness

6. Happiness experienced by animals and man

In case of animals, fulfillment of the sense organs and motor organs means happiness. In case of man, emotions and intellect carry out their natural functions in every happiness generated from the organs, e.g. despite a delicious dish being pleasurable, if it is given to one whose close relative has expired, he will not enjoy it. Intellectually, if one is given one’s favourite sweet dish he will experience happiness but a diabetic will not derive happiness from it, although he may like sweets. ‘The happiness experienced by Lord Indra during sexual intercourse with his consort, Indrani in heaven is the same as that experienced by a dog with its partner on the earth. This happiness is experienced equally by all higher and lower animals.’

7. The seven regions (saptaloks) and happiness


seven regions

The maximum limit of happiness that a man can experience is one unit. A healthy, strong and righteous young adult who has all types of worldly gadgets at his disposal and has an intense desire to experience happiness, is able to experience it. Sage Jaimini defines heavenly happiness as one which is totally devoid of any unhappiness and an extremely happy state. The deities experience happiness in millions of units (1012). Eternal happiness of Brahmanand (Bliss arising from Brahman principle) is hundreds of million times (1020) the happiness experienced by the deities. It is beyond description in words and cannot be conceived by the human mind. Although this is the case, man can undertake spiritual practice consistently and experience the Bliss arising from Brahman in the present birth itself. The earth (bhulok), nether world (bhuvalok), heaven (svargalok) and the maha, jana, tapa and satya loks constitute the seven regions. It is because there is a lot of happiness in heaven that when there is a great amount of happiness on the earth, it is termed as heavenly. However one does not experience Bliss in heaven. That is why one should aim for attainment of the Final Liberation rather than heaven. As one ascends the maha, jana, tapa and satya regions, the Bliss that one experiences increases in quality, quantity and duration.

7.1 Special features of heavenly happiness

  • A. In heaven, one experiences happiness instantly as desires are fulfilled the moment one gets a thought. However, on earth one needs to make efforts to obtain happiness despite which, at times one feels contented and at times not.

  • B. There is only happiness in heaven and it has absolutely no trace of unhappiness. In every happiness experienced on earth there is at least some part of unhappiness. One experiences happiness after eating one sweet dish, (e.g. a ladu) but if one eats 20 of them one develops a stomach ache or suffers from diarrhoea. This implies that in eating every sweet dish there is 1/20th part of unhappiness hidden in it.

  • C. One experiences continuous happiness in heaven. As against this, on earth events which give happiness and unhappiness occur alternately.

  • D. Often on earth relief from unhappiness gives happiness, eg. a hungry person feels happy when he gets food. As against this in heaven, as there are no hardships, unhappiness, fear or hunger one only experiences pure happiness.

Although this is so, happiness experienced in heaven has its own limitations and that of time. Happiness to be experienced by a person in heaven is decided according to the quantity of merits (punya) and their type. Although it is true that everyone experiences happiness in heaven; yet an individual may even feel jealous seeing that another enjoys a greater amount and better quantity of happiness. After enjoying happiness in heaven, a person has to be born once again on earth.

8. Influence of time and happiness and unhappiness

Since one is aware of one’s body during unhappiness, time seems to pass slowly. As against this, there is no awareness of the body during happiness, hence time passes quickly. Thus one experiences time due to awareness of the body. In reality there is no such thing as time.

8.1 Planets and happiness and unhappiness

One is born at such a time when the position of the planets is conducive for one to experience what one is destined. Hence it is not that an individual faces happiness and unhappiness due to the planets.

Reference: ‘Spirituality’, published by Sanatan Sanstha.


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