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The Cause of Happiness and Misery

Ma Gurupriya

26 October 2021

The Shloka says that the Wise and the Scriptures consider that the real cause of happiness and misery is our own mind, and no external situation or anything else.

नायं जनो मे सुखदुःखहेतुर्न देवतात्मा ग्रहकर्मकालाः।
मनः परं कारणमामनन्ति संसारचक्रं परिवर्तयेद्यत् ॥

nāyaṁ jano me sukha-duḥkha-hetur-na devatātmā graha-karma-kālāḥ |
manaḥ paraṁ kāraṇam-āmananti saṁsāra-cakraṁ parivartayed-yat ||

– Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.23.42

These men are not the cause of my happiness or distress. Neither any god, nor the jeeva, nor even the planets, deeds, and time. They (the Wise and the Scriptures) consider that the mind, which sets in motion the wheel of worldliness, alone is the cause.

Points for Introspection:

In our lives, we always experience either happiness or unhappiness. Whether it is happiness or misery, we relate the cause to some object, person or situation. In happiness, we feel fortunate about the external situation that has apparently brought about the happiness. In misery, we blame people or the external situation for bringing about the misery to us. We blame everything, including God, planets, time, or our own deeds.

The Shloka says that the Wise and the Scriptures consider that the real cause of happiness and misery is our own mind, and no external situation or anything else. Because, whatever be the external situation, the joy and sorrow are creations of the mind itself, and our mind has enough potential to remain unaffected under any circumstance.

One may think: “If I become rich, I shall be happy”. But, are the wealthy people really happy? A contented mind is always happy. And it is for the mind to generate contentment. Even a millionaire will not be happy if he craves for more riches or if he is scared of losing his wealth.

Another may think: “I am not happy because nobody loves me.” He blames his family or fate. But, he can easily become happy by loving others. It is for the mind to generate love for others. We don’t need any external support for loving others. Contentment, joy, love, etc. are exclusive properties of our own mind. Some may happily enjoy simple food sitting in a thatched cottage, while some others may cry and lament even while having a kingly dinner. The mind alone is the cause of joy and misery.

Whenever we are overwhelmed with elation or depression, we should remember the message of this Shloka not to get overpowered by external circumstances. Chanting this Shloka helps especially when the mind is depressed or hurt by others’ behaviour or words. It empowers our mind to remain unaffected and hence not to blame anybody.

Word Meaning:

(na) = not; अयम् (ayam) = this; जनः (janaḥ) = people; मे (me) = my; सुखदुःखहेतुः (sukha-duḥkha-hetuḥ) = cause of happiness and distress; (na) = not; देवता (devatā) = god; आत्मा (ātmā) =jeeva, the self; ग्रहकर्मकालाः (graha-karma-kālāḥ) = planet, deeds and time; मनः (manaḥ) = mind; परम् (param) = primary; कारणम् (kāraṇam) = cause; आमनन्ति (āmananti) = They (the Wise and the Scriptures) consider; संसारचक्रम् (saṁsāra-cakraṁ) = the wheel of samsaara (worldliness); परिवर्तयेद् (parivartayed) = cause to go around; यत् (yat) = which;

अन्वयः

अयं जनः न मे सुखदुःखहेतुः, न देवता, (न) आत्मा, (न) ग्रहकर्मकालाः । मनः, यत् संसारचक्रं परिवर्तयेद्, परं कारणम् (इति) आमनन्ति ।।

ayam janaḥ na me sukha-duḥkha-hetuḥ, na devatā, (na) ātmā, (na) graha-karma-kālāḥ. manaḥ, yat saṁsāra-cakraṁ parivartayed, paraṁ kāraṇam (iti) āmananti.

Listen to Chanting Audio for this Verse

“Chanting this Shloka helps especially when the mind is depressed or hurt by others’ behaviour or words. It empowers our mind to remain unaffected and hence not to blame anybody. ”

“A contented mind is always happy. And it is for the mind to generate contentment. ”

“Whatever be the external situation, the joy and sorrow are creations of the mind itself, and our mind has enough potential to remain unaffected under any circumstance.”

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