“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life,
the whole aim and end of human existence.”
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
~ Dalai Lama
“From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
~ Dalai Lama
“The world is so unhappy because it is ignorant of the true Self. Man’s real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self. Man’s search for happiness is an unconscious search for his true Self. The true Self is imperishable; therefore, when a man finds it, he finds a happiness which does not come to an end.”
~ Ramana Maharshi.
“The purpose of religious lectures and sermons is to awaken in you that irresistible soul-longing for Him.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The desire to be one with God is the greatest of all.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“The soul of man has been separated from its source, wandering in exile in a strange land – “I am stranger on earth” (Psalm 119:19-20) – ever yearning to return to that from which it first sprang, and cleave to the Soul of all souls.”
~ Ba’al Shem Tov, Hasidic master
“O God, you are my God – for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless and without water.”
~ Psalm 63:1
“The longing to go back to the source is present in each being from the very time that it is separated from the source by the veil of ignorance.”
~ Meyer Baba
Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?
Q. Why do all people want to be happy?
A. In seeking happiness, everyone is really seeking Self.
Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously, no matter who or where we are, no matter our age, gender or culture, all humans share a universal and irresistible instinct and desire to return to a soul-remembered original state of Divine Love, Peace and Oneness – a transcendent state beyond words or thoughts so marvelous that its subliminal memory magnetically attracts every sentient being to merge and be At-One with It.
No matter how spiritually evolved we may become, all incarnate human life-forms experience limitation and separation from Source. Though rare beings in deep meditation may transcend this state of seeming separation and limitation, it recurs when they are impelled to return to physicality or subtle form.
Thus great devotional beings like Rumi and Hafiz constantly yearned to return to the Beloved; ever longed for eternal transcendence of the inevitable limitations and sufferings of physical existence.
From my first breath I have longed for Him –
This longing has become my life.
This longing has seen me grow old. . . .
Hafiz expressed his endless longing thusly:
“My soul endures a magnificent longing. … My pen does not have the ability to describe my condition of intense longing due to separation.”
Sri Ramana Maharshi, renowned twentieth century non-dualist sage, even after attaining self realization, reported regularly shedding tears of longing and devotion during visits to the ancient Meenakshi temple in Madurai. In recounting his experience, Maharshi explained that:
“The spirit therefore longed to have a fresh hold and hence the frequent visits to the temple and the overflow of the soul in profuse tears.”
This phenomenon of infinite longing of even “enlightened” beings was explained by Mother Meera in dialogue with spiritual author and teacher Andrew Harvey, and recounted as follows:
“Even avatars have to desire to be in God in every moment. And when avatars die, they desire with all their being to be united with God. ….. Look at Ramakrishna. How much he wept and prayed for the Divine Mother.”
~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236
Thus, incarnation is limitation, and knowingly or unknowingly all beings – even sages – long for transcendence of that limitation. For most humans longing for transcendence is subliminal and experienced as wanting worldly contentment. But what we really seek is return to a soul-remembered state of timeless Oneness beyond any state of mind, beyond conception or imagination.
So, in seeking happiness, what we really seek is Source or Self.
Ron’s Comments on “Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?”
The foregoing quotations and essay help explain why (knowingly or unknowingly) everyone wants lasting happiness.
For millennia wisdom teachers have counseled that
“The purpose of our lives is to be happy” (Dalai Lama).
And to find timeless happiness they tell us e.g. to
“Seek first the kingdom of heaven, which is within.” (Matthew 6:33; Luke 17:20-21)
Most incarnate humans perceive and project self-identity/reality only as beings supposedly separate from Nature and eternally indivisible inner Self-awareness. And thus we futilely seek – but cannot find – lasting happiness through ever impermanent worldly pleasures and satisfactions, rather than through inner identity with immutable eternal spirit.
“Why Does Everyone Want Happiness?” suggests that all beings at least subliminally long for eternal happiness and transcendence of inevitable earthly limitations; that knowingly or unknowingly what we all really seek is return to a soul-remembered state of timeless Oneness as LOVE – beyond mental description, conception or imagination.
Thus, even elevated mystics like supreme Sufi poet masters Rumi and Hafiz tell us of their life-long tearful yearnings and longings for return to God.
Perhaps such life-long yearnings can help us explain why inevitably incarnation may be experienced as limitation by even the most elevated mystics or sages.
And, perhaps such longings will inspire a new earthly era, as envisioned by Indian Sage Sri Aurobindo, who said:
“The goal is not to lose oneself in the Divine Consciousness. The goal is to let the Divine Consciousness penetrate into Matter and transform it.”
~ Sri Aurobindo – The Mother 15: p.191
As each of us is drawn by irresistible inner longing toward Oneness with Eternal Light, may we become instruments of Divine Consciousness on Earth.
And, may we envision and exemplify an era of lasting happiness for everyone everywhere.
And so may it be!
“Even avatars have to desire to be in God in every moment.
And when avatars die, they desire with all their being to be united with God. …..Look at Ramakrishna. How much he wept and prayed for the Divine Mother.”
~ Mother Meera to Andrew Harvey, “Hidden Journey”, Page 236
“’The visions that come from the Divine change you.
A real vision brings adoration of the Divine,
and in that adoration there can be no vanity. “
~ Mother Meera
“When you know that you are eternal,
you can play your true role in time.
When you know you are divine
you can become completely human.”
~ Mother Meera
After Guruji returned to India in 1980, I remained open to learning from other spiritual teachers. From my experience with Guruji, I had learned that ‘sitting at the feet of a master’ can be quite auspicious. Thus though Guruji encouraged initiates to follow only his Kundalini Maha Yoga path, he didn’t discourage us from seeing other teachers. Once he told my friend Joy Massa, “I’ve learned from many teachers, why shouldn’t you.” So after meeting Guruji I met and learned from many other teachers.
Beginning in 1987, I was especially attracted to the devotional path of Amritanandamayi (Ammachi) of calling and crying to the Divine, and for seven years I attended many of her US darshans and regular programs at her San Ramon ashram. (See https://sillysutras.com/other-teachers-mata-amritanandamayi-ammachi-rons-memoirs/) But while drawn to Ammachi’s devotional path, I continued meeting other spiritual teachers. One of the most memorable was Mother Meera.
Learning of Mother Meera.
In 1991 I listened on New Dimensions radio to Andrew Harvey, masterfully interviewed about his spiritual teacher, Mother Meera, by my friend Michael Toms. I learned that Mother Meera was a young Indian woman who Harvey convincingly portrayed as an alleged avatar of Divine Mother channeling Divine Light (Paramatman). So I became quite curious about Mother Meera, and read “Hidden Journey, A Spiritual Awakening”, Harvey’s book eloquently describing her. Also, at that time a trusted spiritual friend told me of his very profound inner experiences with Mother Meera, which enhanced my interest in her.
Then, in January, 1992, just after my retirement as a San Francisco litigation attorney, I journeyed to India to pay respects to my then one hundred fourteen year old beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, and thereafter to visit my daughter Jessica who – then known as “Yogini” – was living an ascetic life on Ammachi’s ashram in Kerala.
While I visited Ammachi’s ashram, my curiosity about Mother Meera was heightened. I learned that Ammachi had dramatically required that all ashram library books about Mother Meera be removed and burned. So I wondered whether Ammachi regarded Mother Meera as a false ‘avatar’? Also, whether Ammachi was competitive with Mother Meera and other spiritual teachers and, if so, why? (* See footnote)
Meeting Mother Meera.
Later in 1992, on returning from India, I decided to journey to Italy to honor Saint Francis of Assisi, with whom I long felt deep inner rapport. On learning that Mother Meera had moved from India to Germany where she gave darshans at a small town near Frankfort, I decided to fly to Europe via Frankfort, and scheduled several days in Germany before flying to Italy.
So, in July, 1992, I traveled to Thalheim, Germany, where I had three powerful evening darshans with Mother Meera unlike any others I had experienced. In an atmosphere of total silence she blessed each devotee, one by one, with a seemingly unchanging expression. As each devotee would kneel before her in complete silence, she gently held their head in her hands for a few moments. Then, as instructed, each devotee sat up as she gazed into their eyes. We were told that during this ritual Mother Meera was clearing blocks and sharing divine light.
On the first of three nights, while awaiting my turn to approach Mother Meera, I started spontaneously crying and swaying. Whereupon her companion Adilakshmi asked me to be still. (Apparently, she didn’t want me to disturb the silent meditators.) As I awaited my darshan turn, it felt to me as if a gigantic Divine Presence was channelling light through an earthly female form, wherein no one was ‘at home’. I didn’t perceive any heavenly light shows, but I did experience a tremendous and almost palpable yet extraordinarily subtle energy unlike any other I could remember. So much energy was being radiated from her eyes that at times I distinctly felt her eyelids move, even when I was seated at the back of the darshan room filled with up to 200 other people.
Especially on the third night, on gazing into Mother Meera’s eyes, I felt as if I had received an immense blessing, but I have no words to describe it. Friends in the audience reported that the energy in the entire room seemed to change while she blessed me that night.
Outwardly Mother Meera’s darshans were very different from Ammachi’s darshans. There was not a single word or sound or smile that I perceived from her during the entire visit. Unlike Ammachi, Mother Meera didn’t overtly seem to encourage devotees to fall in love with her form. Everyone – including Andrew Harvey, who was there that weekend – seemed to get the same impersonal expression and the same darshan time.
Although I was extremely grateful for the blessing of my darshans with Mother Meera, I did not feel devotionally drawn to her as had happened with Ammachi.
Back To Ammachi.
I planned my 1992 pilgrimage to Assisi to coincide with Ammachi’s world tour appearance there. So after seeing Mother Meera in Germany I traveled to Assisi where – as well as communing with beloved Saint Francis – I attended two Ammachi darshans. (See https://sillysutras.com/pilgrimage-to-assisi-communing-with-saint-francis-rons-memoirs/) Also, I was able to briefly see my daughter Jessica who was traveling in Ammachi’s entourage.
In contrast to the silent Mother Meera satsangs attended by no more than two hundred people, there were up to fifteen hundred people attending Ammachi’s Assisi programs, with a carnival-like atmosphere that troubled me, and I was told there were even bigger crowds in France. Also, I learned to my distress that in preparing the large Assisi spiritual venue for Ammachi some of her devotees had covered up pictures of other spiritual teachers which were on permanent display there.
Nonetheless, I had blissful experiences during the Ammachi darshans, where spontaneously I sang, and swayed, and cried to the Divine. During those darshans Jessica/“Yogini” was seated next to Ammachi – happily handing her flowers. Afterwards Jessica reported to me that one day Ammachi had pointed at me singing, swaying and crying, saying: “Ananda!”
Despite my mounting concerns about a growing atmosphere around Ammachi of adulation of the incarnate rather than adoration of the Infinite, I still felt much more resonant with Ammachi’s devotional path than with the austere silence of Mother Meera’s darshans. So – though gratefully I honored and respected Mother Meera – I never again attended her darshans, but continued seeing Ammachi.
*Ultimately, in 1995-6, I learned that Ammachi was competitive with Mother Meera and other teachers in a manner which was contrary to teachings of Guruji, Ramakrishna, and other teachers I respected. The “last straw” incident which sparked my realization of Ammachi’s competitiveness traumatically ended my faith in her as a teacher. It involved another acclaimed Indian Divine Mother avatar, Shri Amma Karunamayi and is confirmed in the recently published memoir of Gail Tredwell (aka “Gayatri” or “Swamini Amritaprana”), who for twenty years was Ammachi’s revered first and closest Western female devotee. (See “Holy Hell, A Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness”, pp. 264-6 )