The book “Ananda: Happiness Without Reason” by Acharya Prashant draws from scriptures like the Gita and the Upanishads, revealing the true meaning of Ananda.
In this book, Acharya Prashant shatters all misconceptions about happiness and its related jargons, and enables the reader to experience real joy, or Ananda. He explains how what we commonly understand as happiness exists only in the backdrop of sadness, and what man is really looking for is not just happiness, but Ananda – an unconditional joy free from both happiness and sadness.
If you have the courage to question your deep-rooted beliefs and enter an unfathomable territory beyond the duality of happiness and sadness, this book is for you.
Read an excerpt from the book below.
“If you want to please yourself, fulfil your deepest desires, not the flimsy ones. You want to love, and you want to love the highest. That’s the real pleasure that you want. So, first of all, become capable of loving the highest, and then fall irrevocably in love.”
Listener: Sir, please explain the futility of chasing bodily pleasures. Looking back, my love for pleasures has always been above everything. There is a very strong feeling of missing out when I don’t act on my urges.
Acharya Prashant: Futility does not lie in chasing pleasures. Futility lies in chasing futile pleasures. Do your pleasures really succeed in pleasing you? It doesn’t look that way. Have you ever really been pleased by anything? What kind of pleasures are you talking of then? Why should you even call them pleasures? Call them illusions.
Being a pleasure-seeker is your natural state. Man, for substantial reason, has been called a manifestation of Joy. Have you seen all these sannyasis from various orders? They address themselves with names such as Turiya Ananda, Atma Ananda, Brahm Ananda and Keval Ananda. There is one thing common in their names: Ananda. Have you never wondered why all of them necessarily have the term ‘Ananda’ in their names? It doesn’t matter what comes before that word; even after everything, ‘Ananda’ remains.
So, it is all right if you love pleasure. Ananda is something that you must love. It is the holiest thing to love. Being a pleasure-seeker is an act of piousness. But we are not pious people. Why? Not because we seek pleasure, but because we hate pleasure. What is it to be a pleasure-hater? It is to be a chaser of incomplete pleasures. Do not say that you are satisfied by momentary pleasures; instead, state that you hate eternal pleasure and that is why you are gratified by momentary pleasures.
Had you really been a lover of pleasure, why would you make peace with these trivial things that you call pleasurable? Some psychedelics, some drugs, some excitement, some women, some booze—that is your pleasure, right? High-speed driving, somehow managing a room in a posh hotel, walking into it with a woman—that is what your definition of pleasure is. How does the bedsheet look after the night? How is the morning after the rampage? How does the bottle look now? What does it give you the next day but a hangover? You call that pleasure?
After five minutes of sex, you turn your back to her and start snoring and she starts farting. Is that pleasure? Seriously? Moreover, after all the orgasmic heights, you rush to the washroom and she hears the flushing of the water in the toilet. What pleasure are the two of you getting? Soon after, you come back and crash like a log, and the next morning your mouth is stinking. Is that pleasure? Broken beer bottles—is that pleasure? Merry made on somebody else’s money—is that pleasure?
I am not denigrating it on moral grounds; I am disparaging it on the basis of its sheer incompleteness. It does not give you pleasure. I am not against your pleasures; I am against your hollow pleasures. Why don’t you chase the highest pleasures? Why not? Yes, life has to be pleasurable. So why not aim for a higher pleasure? Why must you seek the lowest kind of pleasures, and that too when you know that they don’t succeed in fulfilling you?
Remember who you are. Once consciousness is out of you, you are nobody. They will not even keep your ashes. Dogs will dig your bones, if any remain. So, remember who you are. Had you just been the body, why would they have buried you in the ground, or burned your body?
Who are you, then? Let the funeral ground clearly tell you who you are. Are you the body? If you are the body, why is the body burned away after a particular date? Who are you? You are somebody else who is in the body, who uses the body, who speaks through the body, but who is certainly not the body. If you are somebody else, then will the pleasures of the body satisfy you?
You are X, and X has a body. So, should X give pleasure to the body or to himself? If you want to be happy—which you would want to achieve, let’s say, by being drunk—do you put beer in your car’s radiator? When you want to have a good time, you fill yourself up with beer, not your car, right? This is because you are not the car; you have the car. So the car’s pleasure is not your pleasure. When you want to have pleasure, it is not the car you go out and please, or do you?
So, when you want to have pleasure, why do you want to give pleasure to your body? Why don’t you give it to yourself? Instead of giving pleasure to yourself, you keep giving pleasure to your body and your bodily tendencies. How will that satisfy you? The body, after all the pleasures that it has had, will finally turn into ashes. Give pleasure to yourself, not to the body.
What does pleasing oneself really mean? For that, you have to know who you are. You are the one who sits in the body and seeks through the body. You are one who wants to know, who wants to understand, who wants to love, who wants to really seek and reach. That is what you want.
So, if you want to please yourself, kindly fulfil your deepest desires, not the flimsy ones.
You want to love, and you want to love the highest. That’s the real pleasure that you want. So, first of all, become capable of loving the highest, and then fall irrevocably in love with it. That is the pleasure you really want.
You want to know and understand because that is the nature of your consciousness. So go ahead, figure out, find out, know and understand. And the pleasure of understanding is beyond comparison.
All the fun and merrymaking will never give you what you really want. Have some real fun, like an adult, not like a baby. An adult must have grown-up pleasures. Booze and sex are for kids.
“The body, after all the pleasures that it has had, will finally turn into ashes. Give pleasure to yourself, not to the body.” (Advait BodhSthal, 2019)