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Mudita In Yoga – Joy – Blissfulness – Happiness

Mudita is a term in Yoga which signifies blissfulness and happiness. The term is mentioned by Sage Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra as one of the four bhavanas (mental dispositions) to be cultivated within oneself to acquire peace of mind.

Sage Patanjali states that serenity of mind arises from the cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy (mudita), and indifference towards happy, suffering, meritorious and envious persons, respectively (Yoga sutra, I.33).

Vachaspati Mishra comments with respect to the cultivation of joy on seeing others happy and through it the taint of jealousy ceases.

Mudita is an important aspect in Buddhism and Jainism.

There are four attitudes – friendliness, compassion, joy (mudita) and indifference – are called brahma vihara (the divine abiding), and the aspirant is asked to develop these attitudes with regard to all beings. So they are called aparimana (immeasurable).

These four attitudes are discussed as the four meditation subjects by Buddhaghosa in his Visuddhimagga. With regard to mudita, he states: “one who begins the development of gladness should start with a boon companion. Having thus aroused gladness to a dear person, he can then direct it successfully towards a neutral one and after that towards a hostile one. (The Path of Purification IX SS 84 – 87).

Visuddhimagga describes the characteristics of mudita as follows:
Gladness is characterized as gladdening (produced by others success). Its function resides in being free of envy. It is manifested as the elimination of aversion (boredom). Its proximate cause is seeing beings’ success. It succeeds when it makes aversion (boredom) subside (The Path of Purification IX SS 95).

Shantideva, the author of Siksasamuccaya, describes, in detail, joy as a form of contemplation and contends that it makes one steadfast and patient.

Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar and Dictionary Vol II (1970) Franklin Edgerton – Motilal Banarsidass New Delhi
The Yoga System of Patanjali (1966) J H Woods - Motilal Banarsidass New Delhi
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VII page 208-9 - IHRF