Om Namah Shivaya

The First Principle of Yoga

The deluded man is sure that his happiness is derived from the objects of the world, until pain awakens him to the truth that pain is the result of the enjoyment, whereas the happiness was derived from within himself when the mind ceased to restlessly long for pleasure.

Sleep not only gives us the clue to the great truth that happiness is within us, but also provides us with the two vital laws that govern its experience – forget the world and forget self. These are the two deep sleep state conditions. We cannot go on sleeping for ever, nor should we wake up to misery. To combine the two, we must be conscious – awake, and we must also enjoy the homogeneity that is the characteristic of deep sleep. We must be awake, and yet the ego-sense should not be awake; we must live, and yet forget the world. The unalloyed happiness that we enjoy in deep sleep can be ours if we can forget ourselves during the waking state of activity – intense activity. Desires and cravings produce stress and tension; and, it is only when these have been removed that we are really happy, for then we turn within ourselves. This does not last long. It is immediately followed by the rising of another craving and its chain reaction. This will go on till we (a) prevent the tension from building up, (b) stop the mind from craving for sense-gratification, and (c) train the self to rest in the self all the time, enjoying perpetual happiness.

The dynamism which is part of our – and cosmic – nature, cannot be stamped out. But it is possible to let the ego-sense step down from the pedestal of sovereignty it has usurped, and not to let desires and cravings, selfishness and self-aggrandizement, motivate actions. Then we live in a remarkable state, in which the intellect is in a contemplative mood, while the body and mind are engaged in intense activity.

If we constantly think of and work for the welfare of all beings, self-forgetfully, we shall derive the same happiness that we had during deep sleep. It is strange that we fail to notice that when we are least conscious of our health, we are healthy; and when we are not mindful of pain, it disappears. When we run after the shadow of happiness, it runs away from us; it is because we push unhappiness away that it seems to lean so heavily on us.

The solution lies in rejoicing in the happiness of others, and in understanding the magnitude of human suffering in this world. In both cases, we forget the self; and, that is the first condition for being happy.

Service. Serve all. Serve selflessly. Serve self-forgetfully and self-sacrificingly. This is the first principle of divine life, of yoga, of the contemplative dynamism of the Bhagavad Gita.