The secret of unending happiness

Acharya Prashant
8 min readApr 17, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner: What is happiness?

Acharya Prashant: The questioner, it’s important to be reminded, is the ego-self. And the ego-self lives in its own little dualistic world. In its own world, it experiences Sukhā and Duḥkha, happiness and sorrow, pleasure and pain. It knows nothing beyond happiness and sorrow, Sukhā and Duḥkha.

So it is obvious that the question cannot exceed the knowledge or experience of the questioner and the questioner, therefore, asks, “What is Sukhā? What is happiness?”

In his own esteem, the questioner is asking about the highest state of experience that can be had — Sukhā, happiness. By asking about happiness the questioner has disclosed that he takes happiness to be important, rather special, probably the most desirous and coveted state possible.

Fine! We have to give it to the questioner. The questioner is just being honest. The questioner is not asking about conceptual states. The questioner is not probing into mythical, transcendental universes.

The questioner is simply saying, “Sir, to me happiness is the most exalted state possible. What is it?”

The Rishi, the Teacher, takes it up from here. So he says, “Fine! I will tell you about happiness”, and then he says that, “Once you experience the heights of consciousness, when you realize that which remains normally hidden from you, then, upon that realization the joy that dawns upon you is called happiness.”

Look at the Rishi’s approach, the Rishi is not directly saying, “Son, why are you caught in the dualistic paradigm of happiness and sorrow?” Instead, he takes up the word that the student, the questioner is using and elevates that word itself. He infuses that common, that vulgar word, happiness, with a sacred meaning.

So starting from Sukhā, he takes the student to Ānand. He says, “Real happiness is when your consciousness experiences something beyond its normal world. Something that is unlikely to be eclipsed by time: Sat.” That which is Sat. Cit: that which is available only to rarified heights of consciousness. And Ānand: that which is beyond dualistic happiness and sorrow polarities. That is Happiness.

Acharya Prashant