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Article CXIV: Transient Happiness and Eternal Bliss

In life, we intermittently experience joy and sorrow, depending on material surroundings, overall environments, and specific occurrences. Material objects can give us happiness, relationships can give us happiness, events can give us happiness, etc. Yet all of these experiences are temporary and can only provide happiness for a finite amount of time. Verses 11-15 of the second chapter stress the eternal nature of the Self within, which is beyond these transient experiences. The Self is Divine, and, therefore, eternal and infinite. The Self exists independent of transient pleasure and pain, and the Self represents pure, eternal bliss. By focusing on the Self, one can avoid grieving for the ephemeral challenges of life -- even death itself. The transition between life and death can ultimately be understood as analogous to the transitions between "childhood, youth, and old age" (II:13). As one grows toward enlightenment, one can be less and less dependent on objects and events for happiness, and one can be more and more independent to blissfully experience the Divine Self within. The Gita will further explore the nature of the Self, the paths to orient to the Self, and the experience of realizing the Self.

Gita Full Text:

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter II -- Translated by Swami Chinmayananda

The Blessed Lord said:
11. You have grieved for those that should not be grieved for; yet, you speak words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.
12. It is not that at any time (in the past) , indeed, was I not, nor were you, nor these rulers of men. Nor, verily, shall we all ever cease to be hereafter.
13. Just as in this body the embodied (soul) passes into childhood, youth and old age, so also does he pass into another body; the firm man does not grieve at it.
14. The contacts of senses with objects, O son of Kunti, which cause heat and cold, pleasure and pain, have a beginning and an end; they are impermanent; endure them bravely, O descendant of Bharata.
15. That firm man whom, surely, these afflict not, O chief among men, to whom pleasure and pain are the same, is fit for realising the Immortality of the Self.

East-West Counseling & Meditation -- Modern Psychiatry Integration -- Himalayan Philosophy -- Penn & Stanford Medicine
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