Happiness our Real Nature
D.: In what sense is happiness our real nature?
M.: Perfect Bliss is Brahman. Perfect Peace is of the Self. That alone exists and is conscious. The same conclusion is arrived at: (a) judged metaphysically, and (b) inferred by Bhakti Marga (Path of Devotion).
We pray to God for Bliss and receive it by Grace. The bestower of bliss must be Bliss itself and also Infinite. Therefore, Iswara is the Personal God of infinite power and bliss. Brahman is Bliss, impersonal and absolute. The finite egos, deriving their source from Brahman and then Iswara, are in their spiritual nature bliss only. Biologically, an organism functions because such functions are attended with happiness.
It is pleasure that helps our growth; food, exercise, rest, and gregarious qualities. The psychology (and metaphysics) of pleasure is perhaps this; Our nature is primarily one, entire, blissful. Take this as a probable hypothesis. Creation is by the entire Godhead breaking into God and Nature (maya or prakriti). This maya is of two parts: (para) – the supporting essence and (apara) the five elements, mind, intellect, and ego (eightfold).
Ego’s perfection is suddenly broken at a point and a want is felt giving rise to a desire to get something or do something. When that want is cured by the fulfillment of that desire, the ego is happy and the original perfection is restored. Therefore happiness may be said to be our natural condition or nature.
Pleasure and pain are relative and refer to our finite state, with progress by satisfaction of want. If relative progress is stopped and the soul merges into Brahman – of the nature of perfect peace – that soul ceases to have relative, temporary pleasure and enjoys perfect peace – Bliss. Hence Self-Realisation is Bliss; it is realizing the Self as the limitless spiritual eye (jnana drishti) and not clairvoyance; it is the highest self-surrender. Samsara (the world-cycle) is sorrow.
D.: Why then is samsara – creation and manifestation as finitized – so full of sorrow and evil?
M.: God’s will!
D.: Why does God will it so?
M.: It is inscrutable. No motive can be attributed to that Power – no desire, no end to achieve can be asserted of that one Infinite, All-wise and All-powerful Being. God is untouched by activities, which take place in His presence; compare the sun and the world activities. There is no meaning in attributing responsibility and motive to the One before it becomes many.
But God’s will for the prescribed course of events is a good solution of the free-will problem (vexata quaestio). If the mind is restless on account of a sense of the imperfect and unsatisfactory character of what befalls us or what is committed or omitted by us, then it is wise to drop the sense of responsibility and free-will by regarding ourselves as the ordained instruments of the All-wise and All-powerful, to do and suffer as He pleases. He carries all burdens and gives us peace.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
4th February, 1935