3 Types of Happiness & Commitment or Willpower  (184)


Lesson 184 shows examples of 3 types of determination and 3 types of happiness. And Science of Happiness.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40


  • VERSE 26: Sattvic Doer (Kartā):
    • Does actions without pride. EG: “I am a big person doing this important thing. I will get name-fame for it!”.
    • Although in privileged position, all their inner talk is about “What can I GIVE? How can I serve BEST?”.
    • No dramatic emotional turbulence during success/failure. Unlike EG: sport teams win/lose. The winners show hooligan behavior on streets. While loser team supporters vandalize shops to vent out anger. Or coaches on soccer field show extreme emotion during win/loss.
  • VERSE 27: Rajasic Doer (Kartā):
    • Doing entirely driven by personal biases for likes/dislikes. What's in it for ME?  
    • Skeptical to give to charities to due confused value-system. And even tries to stop others from giving. If they do give, it's to be VALIDATED by the public.
    • Elation/depression due to values not in accordance with WHAT-IS. So ongoing inner conflict.
  • VERSE 28: Tamasic Doer (Kartā):
    • Uneducated in thinking. Thus doings are clumsy, unrefined.
    • Unbending like a stick. Doesn't prostrate to anyone.
    • Mostly depressed/gloomy. Even procrastinates to advice to improve.
  • VERSE 30: Sattvic Intellect (Buddhi):
    • Knows what gives bondage VS. freedom, both relatively (addressing obstacles in each stage of life) and absolutely (removal of ignorance).
    • Recognizes jñānam is needed for moksha, and not “more action”.
  • VERSE 31: Rajasic Intellect (Buddhi):
    • Interprets things in V30 wrongly. 
    • Misinterprets śāstra. EG: Brahman and Krishna are different in BGita.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 32:

adharmam dharmam iti yā manyate tamasā āvṛtā ।
sarva-arthān viparītān ca buddhiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī ॥ 18-32॥
(Swami D/P.)  Tamasic intellect is that which is covered by ignorance, which regards improper (adhrama) as proper (dharma), and all things the reverse of what they are.

  • ESSENCE of Tāmasika Intellect: It either does not understand at all, or completely misunderstands people and situations, therefore comes to wrong conclusions.
    • EG:
      • Teacher was demonstrating harmful effects of alcohol by showing how worms died in a glass. One student concluded, “I get it. Drink whisky when you have worms in your stomach!”.
      • Vedanta guru says, “Your nature is free of virtues/sins”. Tamasic intellect misinterprets as license to do anything.
    • In both cases, we can see how tamasic intellect prompts jiva into sinful acts due to misinterpretation.
  • Verse:
    • yā āvṛtā tamasā; Veiled by ignorance (sustained by lack of involvement in world).
    • manyate adharmam iti dharmam; Views improper as proper. For this reason, has no doubts, because ignorantly-certain about his/her conclusions. Meaning they’ll give you discourse on a topic (full of misinterpretations) with total confidence. Most dangerous types! (As seen with many Christian Evangelists).
      • EG: Arjuna concluded Mahabharata war is adharmic in CH1 and lectured Krishna why it was improper. 
        • 1.39: War causes destruction of family.
        • 1.40: Destruction of the family causes destruction of family cultures and values.
        • 1.40: Destruction of family cultures increases unrighteousness.
        • 1.41: Increase in unrighteousness causes impurity in women.
        • 1.41: Impurity in women causes admixture of castes.
        • 1.43: Mixtures of castes causes fall of family values/tradition.
        • 1.44: Destruction of family values brings hell.
        • Killing/burning holy place of those who are not “my God” worshippers.
    • sarva-arthān viparītān; Views everything perversely (makes perverted connections).
      • EG:
        • “Our public transport is so good… because no one is using it!”.
        • Might is right, so I will bully everyone.
        • Iphone inside juicer. Shooting trees to see if bullet will penetrate. Shampoo prank. (All are using items for what they are NOT intended for, then justified as “fun”).
  • Revision of 3 Types of Intellect:
    1. Tama intellect:
      • He who doesn’t know, and doesn’t know it. EG: Anti-social behavior consider “normal”.
      • He who doesn’t know, but thinks he knows. EG: I know what God is; learned about him in school.
    2. Raja intellect:
      • He who doesn’t know, but knows it. Teach him. EG: My mind is noisy. I know know how to manage it.
    3. Sattva intellect:
      • He who knows, and knows he knows. Wise. Follow him.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 33:

dhṛtyā yayā dhārayate manaḥ-prāṇa-indriya-kriyāḥ ।
yogena avyabhicāriṇyā dhṛtiḥ sā pārtha sāttvikī ॥ 18-33॥
(Andre) Sattvic fortitude (determination/commitment/will) is that which makes one [most intelligently] utilize the functions of the mind, lifeforce and sense-organs, and is made unswerving through yoga (practice).

  • ESSENCE of Sāttvika Determination/Will-Power: It enables one to consistently apply one’s body-mind to the task until accomplished. Meaning it prevents individual from being distracted, dejected or getting impatient.
    • It provides the stamina to overcome obstacles while learning/mastering a new field.
      • EG: Learning to walk, language learning, Asthanga-Yoga, self-inquiry, house-training a dog, teaching a mentally handicapped child, caring for an ill person.
  • manaḥ-prāṇa-indriya-kriyāḥ yogena dhārayate; It makes one want to constantly finetune their instrument (listening to audio, reading books), so it can be utilized most efficiently for sake of being of service. And he/she accomplishes it through Yoga (feeding mind, prana [energy] with healthy “food”, and deliberate control of sense-exposure).
  • Krishna also indirectly acknowledges freewill, which can be used to manage the thrust of our prārabdha-karma (fate).
    • EG Doctor mentions:
      • Terminal illness: nothing can be done.
      • Other diseases: doctor’s advice can’t cure, but keep under control.
      • Lesser diseases: can eliminate.
  • Danger of excess-sattva-determination: Doesn’t earn nor own, hence can’t perform karma-yoga, nor contribute to society. Mind remains biased.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 34:

yayā tu dharma-kāma-arthān dhṛtyā dhārayate arjuna ।
prasaṅgena phala-ākāṅkṣī dhṛtiḥ sā pārtha rājasī ॥ 18-34॥
(Andre)  Rajasic fortitude (determination/commitment/will) is that which makes one pursue dharma (religious merit), artha (security) and kāma (pleasure) – craving for their benefits because of attachment.

  • ESSENCE of Rajasika Determination/Will-Power: Patience or commitment is shown sometimes, towards some people and some activities.
    • EG:
      • Man shows remarkable patience with difficult boss. But little towards wife.
      • Working hard and consistently until exam/project is over. When over, reverts back to impatient/half-committed mode.
      • Fasting on Monday, but feasting on Tuesday.
      • Getting impatient until last moment. EG: Last 10 min of cricket/soccer match. Or last chapter of BGita.
      • Rajasic: “I cannot take it anymore!”  Sattvic: “It should get done.”
  • Verse:
    • dharma-kāma-arthān dhārayate; All will-power directed to samsara/anātmā, because takes names-forms as the only reality. If it’s not this world, it’s heaven.
    • prasaṅgēna; Doesn’t want to part with earned objects/past history due to attachment (one’s identity/pride is placed into the objects).

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 35:

yayā svapnam bhayam śokam viṣādam madam eva ca ।
na vimuñcati durmedhā dhṛtiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī ॥ 18-35॥
Tamasic fortitude is that by which an indiscriminate (person) does not give up sleep, fear, sorrow, depression, and indulgence.

  • ESSENCE of Tāmasika Determination/Will-Power: One is determined to stubbornly hold on to an outdated/wrong notion or course-of-action.
    • EG:
      • Takes wrong turn and feels it’s the wrong way, but something in him/her preventing them from stopping the car and checking.
      • I refuse to look into that! I won’t give up my opinion even if proved wrong!
      • Foolish defiance (opposition): I’d rather die then see my business crumble. After all it’s my life!
  • Verse:
    • svapnam; Enjoys over-sleeping. Or easily falls asleep during day.
    • bhayam; Fear. Doesn’t undertake anything due to fear of failure.
      • Thus resorts to “building castles in the air”. Daydreaming because it’s easier then confronting the real world.
      • Personalities that often have lot to say/criticize online.
        • IE: Social experiment was done in art studio. Guests were invited to point out potential flaws in the painting (many comments). Then asked “What can be done better?” (few to no comments).
    • ṣokam viṣādam; Sorrow and Depression. Disappointed/hurt by smallest things due to one’s non-participation in world. Medicine for depression: getting busy, move (motion is emotion).
    • madam; Majority of actions are for sake of sense-indulgence.
      • EG: Smoking, drinking, Floppy birds addiction in 2013/14. Then blaming the owner for it’s addictive nature.
      • Intellect tends to argue in favor of one’s indulgences. Thus unable to convince him otherwise.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 36:

sukham tu idānīm trividham śṛṇu me bharatarṣabha ।
abhyāsāt ramate yatra duḥkhāntam ca nigacchati ॥ 18-36॥
Oh Arjuna! Now, listen from Me to the threefold happiness in which one indulges because of habit and comes to the end of pain.

  • Everyone wants to be happy. But what is happiness? An emotion, a feeling, a chemical reaction in the brain, a concept, an object, a knowledge, mere absence of sorrow?
    • It’s Self’s natural state (ānanda). Meaning, happiness is neither an emotion nor intellectual-thought. Although it DOES take form of emotion/thought/physical-sensation when it manifests through the 5-koshas.
      • EG: Suppose happiness is shining on a mind with a narrative (because of it’s vāsanā), that says “Things should be according to my expectations right now”. This narrative will partially negate the ever-present happiness (content of Being).
      • If it fully negated it, that would result in one’s suicide. Thus suicide is when mind’s-vṛtti completely distorts the “happiness of Being” into something it’s NOT. And in order to restore one’s natural happiness, the person takes an extreme measure of ending the instrument’s life.
      • In fact suicide reveals a great truth. Happiness is the only Truth. If it wasn’t, no one would want to live.
  • Nature of happiness can be categories into 3 qualities…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 37:

yat tat agre viṣam iva pariṇāme amṛta-upamam ।
tat sukham sāttvikam proktam ātma-buddhi-prasādajam ॥ 18-37॥
Listen to me now Arjuna. Sattvic happiness is said to be that which is said to be like poison in the beginning, which is like nectar in the end, and which is born out of the clarity of Self-knowledge.

  • ESSENCE of Sattvic Happiness: When our knowledge, action, intellect, and will are sāttvika, we experience sattvika In that moment, the mind is effortlessly cheerful, peaceful, and poised. A sense of well-being, a feeling that life is precious.
  • Examples:
    • Happiness derived from dispassion, discipline, concentration, and contribution is sattvic happiness.
    • The happiness derived from achieving something from own effort, like art, discovering/solving something, “getting it”, or master a skill – is sattvic happiness.
    • Sattvika happiness comes from the small things like: hug, smile, sunrise, ocean sound, presence of noble beings, listening to God’s glories.
  • Verse:
    • iva viṣam agre amṛta-upamam pariṇāme: It is like poison in the beginning and like nectar in the end.
      • Because initially it seems difficult and unattractive. Because requires discipline and requires to confront unconscious-shadow. But once crossed, results are lasting.
        • EG of hard things: Waking up early, practicing meditation, memorising a poem/prayer like BGita verses or Rudram, learning a language or a new script.
    • ātma-buddhi-prasādajam: born out of the clarity of self-knowledge.
      • The high generated from jnana-yoga, or epiphanies from contemplation/meditations is sattvic.
        • Why does it generate a high? Because each time small portion of ignorance is removed. Underneath that ignorance was the Self (whose nature is happiness).
      • It generates the cheerfulness or peacefulness felt around those with clarity of Reality.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 38:

viṣaya-indriya-saṃyogāt yat tat agre amṛta-upamam ।
pariṇāme viṣam iva tat sukham rājasam smṛtam ॥ 18-38॥
Rajasic happiness is said to be that which is like nectar in the beginning, which is like the poison in the end, and which is born out of the contact between sense-objects and sense organs.

  • ESSENCE of Rajasic Happiness: When our knowledge, intellect, and actions are rājasika, we experience rājasika happiness.
    • Rājasika happiness arises from sense-organs contacting sense-objects.
      • Meaning rajasic happiness is dependent on state of: (1) object, (2) body, (3) mind, (4) environment (conducive or not).
      • If 4 factors come together, momentary joy is experienced. Which leaves craving for more (because it’s momentary), generating lobha (Greed); thus desire for one-more-time.
        • EG:
          • Having enjoyed event, one immediately starts planning for next.
          • Being praised by some you admire, you start expecting another praise, else angry.
          • Having some “spiritual awakening”, one makes it a goal to have another. IE: No difference between materialistic-greediness and spiritual-greediness. The greediness is still unresolved.
      • If 4 factors don’t come together, then sorrow/dejection/anger (krodha) comes.
        • EG: Tea/coffee is lukewarm. Complaint! Bad weather, complaint!
  • Verse:
    • agre amṛta-upamam pariṇāme viṣam: It’s like nectar at start, and poison in the end.
      • Nectar in beginning: Rājasica happiness are thrilling or exciting, instant and immediate.
      • Poison in end: Because it…
        • Tires the body, exhausts the mind, dulls the senses, drains one’s wealth, depletes vitality. Leaves one empty.
        • Isn’t permanent, producing the agitation of: sense of incompleteness.
          • EG:Once upon a time, there lived a gorgeous princess with her beloved prince. Princess said, O ____ (incomplete).”
        • Law of diminishing returns.
    • viṣaya-indriya-saṃyogāt; Originates when 5-senses contact either sound, sight, tactile feedback, smell, taste of the vyavaharika world.
      • This is represented by Rāvana lusting after Sītā (represents the divine mother; vyavaharika). Or Shurpanakha’s (śūrpaṇakhā) lust for Rāma.
  • NOTE: Rajasic happiness is 100% acceptable, but need to have sattvic-sukham to fall back on.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 39:

yat agre ca anubandhe ca sukham mohanam ātmanaḥ ।
nidrā-ālasya-pramāda-uttham tat tāmasam udāhṛtam ॥ 18-39॥
Tamasic happiness is said to be that which deludes the mind in the beginning and in the end, and which is born out of sleep, laziness and negligence.

  • ESSENCE of Tamasic Happiness: When knowledge, action, and intellect are tāmasika in nature, the result is tāmasika happiness.
    • EG:
      • Happiness that makes it difficult to get out of bed.
      • The happiness of laziness.
      • Happiness gained from sadistic pleasures.
      • Happiness from harming/bulling others or seeing them fail.
      • Happiness from vulgarity.
      • Happiness derived from certain drugs and alcohol. Entirely chemical/hormone based.
      • Happiness/thrill being chased by police.
      • Happiness of rape, murder, revenge, stalking.
      • Tāmasika person says “Ignorance is bliss”.
      • Subscribes to fatalism (to justify one’s inertia). Thus large proportion of free-will deniers comes from tāmasika Never argue them!
  • Verse:
    • mohanam ātmanaḥ; Deludes the mind. Seen above.
    • nidrā-ālasya-pramāda-uttham; born out of sleep, laziness and negligence.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 40:

na tat asti pṛthivyām vā divi deveṣu vā punaḥ ।
sattvam prakṛtijaiḥ muktam yat ebhiḥ syāt tribhiḥ guṇaiḥ ॥ 18-40॥
Among the gods in the heaven, or (among the beings) on the earth, there is no such entity which is free from these three guṇas.

  • Whole universe (sentient and insentient) is born of 3 gunas (prakṛti). Thus all beings are pervaded by various proportions of each guna.
    • EG: Stones (dominant tamas) > Plants (tamas, rajas) > Animals > Humans.
    • And each category itself is divided into varying proportions. EG: Stone-humans. Plant-humans. Animal-humans. Human-human.
  • REVISION OF V18-40:
    • What are the 6 success factors? 
      1. Knowledge/Vision (jñānam). 
        • S: Holistic. Considers many variables at once. Includes well-being of all.
        • R: Partial. 6 men around elephant.
        • T: part = whole. Irrational.
      2. Nature of Undertaking (karma).
        • S: Does for sake of mind-purity. Thinks of consequences.
        • R: Intention is for sake of raga-dvesha.
        • T: No regard for consequences of undertakings; who/what it hurts.
      3. Attitude of the Doer (kartā).
        • S: No ego-pride. All is given.
        • R: Only does if serves his/her biases. Raga-dvesha.
        • T: Procrastinator. Careless during undertakings.
      4. Quality of Intellect (buddhiḥ).
        • S: Cognizes right-wrong.
        • R: Misinterprets right-wrong due to biases.
        • T: Dharma-adharma is reversed.
      5. Nature of Fortitude/Commitment/Will-power (Dhṛtiḥ).
        • S: Do liked-disliked until complete.
        • R: Commits only to liked.
        • T: Stubbornly committed to old.
      6. Nature of Happiness (Sukham).
        • S: Poison start. Nectar end.
        • R: Nectar start. Poison end.
        • T: Bed bliss.
  • How do the 6 success factors determine our life?



Resources:  L184 Mind-Map

Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 20 Sept, 2022


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