How to Be Permanently Cheerful and At Peace According to an Ancient Indian Text

Gita for EveryoneGita for Everyone” is a wonderful book which describes a conversation between Krishna (a Hindu god) and Arjuna (a warrior).

In the book Arjuna asks Krishna for help regarding a difficult situation.

Arjuna is in doubt whether he should fight against his own relatives in a battle. His heart is in pain – he doesn’t want to fight his relatives, however that would go against his duty.

Krishna explains in his reply and the following conversation the whole philosophy of non-attachment, sin and right conduct. I especially liked the “Sankhya Yoga” chapter, as it explains how to become permanently cheerful and at peace.

How to become permanently cheerful and at peace

Krishna told Arjuna that wise people never grieve neither for the dead nor for the living. We have indestructible souls, so there’s nothing to grieve about.

Krishna said that even though we would be mortal, it would still make no sense to grieve about things that are inevitable.

Grief shows lack of wisdom; the perishable body should not be grieved about, because it’s just a cloth for our souls.

No matter whether the situation seems painful or cheerful, one should meet it with the same balanced state of mind and reflect on the situation (instead of reacting). A person who has a balanced mind and thus meets any situation in the same way is a master of life.

As for one’s duty, one should do it despite of what kind of duty it is. Sin is incurred only if the duty is done for selfish reasons. If you can equally handle gain and loss, pleasure and pain, and do your duty without expecting any results, you cannot incur any sin (or karma, in other words).

Krishna says that those people who seek the fruits of their actions cannot hold right understanding firmly. Only those who are uninfluenced by the duality of the world and self-possessed, can be unshaken.

He explains that the person of stable understanding is the one who rejects all objective desires of mind and is satisfied by the self and the self alone. A mind that’s not agitated even though pain is felt, is a stable mind. The person whose likings, fears and anger have passed away, is called a Muni and is of stable understanding.

Such a clear understanding of reality that cannot be shaken is the ultimate mastery of self and life, and the ultimate freedom indeed. What can be more powerful than someone in total control of herself and finding happiness within?

Krishna notes that the will of even a cautious and reflective man can be carried away by the senses.  Thus it’s wise to restrain all the senses, settle in Yoga (transcend the duality, in other words) and aim at Krishna as the highest goal (or, I would say, any divine being or the Universe itself).

Krishna says that wrath causes confusion; confusion causes loss of memory; loss of memory causes the loss of understanding. From the loss of understanding a person perishes. 

However, the man who has full control of himself, moves among objects without being affected by them; such a man attains permanent cheerfulness. When a person achieves cheerfulness, all her worries and pains go away, because cheerful-minded people soon attain a clear understanding of life.

The person who is not settled in Yoga (which can also be called “harmony”, “non-duality” and “union”), on the other hand, doesn’t have such a clear understanding of life. Neither do such people have reflection. If reflection is not present, there’s no peace of mind. And there’s no way someone can be happy without feeling at peace.

The mind which is unrestrained and thus follows the dictates of the senses cannot be settled in clear understanding. Therefore, one should withdraw the senses from the objects of the senses, to experience clear understanding.

The person who runs after his desires never gains peace. Only that who is settled in understanding and meets all the situations in the same (unattached) way, is peaceful.

The person can attain peace if one, shaking off all desires, goes on yearningless, considering nothing as one’s own, and unegoistic.

Conclusion

In this post I summarized the points in the Sakhya Yoga section of the “Gita for Everyone” book. I very much liked this section because it explained, in simple words, how to become permanently cheerful and at peace.

I completely resonated with the message in this chapter and thus had to share it with you. I really recommend reading this ancient Indian text for those who are interested to find out more about non-attachment and how to attain permanent cheerfulness and peace.

If you have something to say, please comment below.

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Simona Rich (444 Posts)

I live in tropical South India, ride scooter, meditate, do yoga and help people create fulfilling and unique lives. Read my story to find out how I changed my life.

Comments

  1. Thank you dear Simona for your nice post.

    It’s good to always keep a balanced state of mind but I think we are human beings and we have feelings( even animals have it too but in a lower state) so it’s okay to get sad or angry sometimes. It’s okay to get very excited sometimes. Also it’s okay to release anger in healthy ways sometimes. What is important, however, is acknowledging it soon and realizing what lessons the situation has for us. The more we practice it, the shorter the time we need to be back to a calm mind will be.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, Simona.
    “As for one’s duty, one should do it despite of what kind of duty it is.” I can’t understand this! If the duty is immoral, one should do it because it’s his duty?! I don’t believe in this.

  3. kaveri hazarika says:

    Hi…Simona.. Read your post. You may like to visit the Brahmakumaris, Spiritual University for once. They teach you the practical application of these scriptures…

  4. I think I’m going to have to read Gita for Everone and the idea of non-attachment. It’s hard for me not to take away from this idea that one should be just stoic about life’s situations. To me, happiness as well as sadness is what makes us human. The idea of non-attachment seems to me that one should be indifferent to others pains and sorrows. I’m not sure I want to be that way if that’s what non-attachment means. Would I ever give to the needy if I felt indifferent to them? I would hope not. Would I feel indifferent at the birth if a new born child, I hope not. I think I may need a better understanding of this concept before excepting it. I really do enjoy all your post though.
    Thanks

    • Thank you for your comment, Kriss. In my experience, non attachment naturally arises out of more understanding. For example, when you understand that each person must learn their own lessons and they’re put in situations (sometimes horrible) in order to learn them, non-attachment naturally comes. It doesn’t mean being indifferent; it means responding neutrally to what happens because you understand why it happens.

  5. Nice post Simona, I recently stumbled onto your site and bookmarked it just because we seem to have similar interests and takes on life. I am also a blogger on similar topics. It has been years since I last read the Gita, and your post was a friendly reminder to pick it up again.

    I think the most important thing when people read ancient texts, is that they try and understand them from a psychological point of view. Our main problem is our attention is completely fused with our thinking process. We take ourselves to be that. Everyone lives in an invisible prison(unconcious), but they believe themselves to be free. First step to freedom is realizing you are in a prison in the first place, and then finding others who have escaped. Probem is people think that just becuase they wake up in the morning that they are awake and conscious. But through disciplines like kundalini yoga, kriya yoga, esoteric Christianity, mindfulness, self-observation, self-remembering, etc. we can break the self-hypnosis with have with the content of our minds, until our very thinking process becomes an object of observation, where our thought awakens and is self-aware (real intuition) moment to moment. With this quality of consciousness we begin understand that we are not our bodies, not our minds, emotions, and moods. You start to realize that your intrinsic nature is beyond the seen, the seer, and even the process of seeing.

    Wonderful site you have, keep spreading enlightening ideas. Namaste.