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Lasting Happiness Stem From Our Divine Nature

According to Vedanta we are divine in the core of our being, but it remains hidden from us. Animal nature, human nature and divine nature are intertwined in our personality. Divinity remains an unknown component in us until we transcend our animal nature and human nature and begin to manifest our divine nature.

All lasting happiness and knowledge stem from our divine nature. Human life becomes meaningful to the extent this hidden divinity becomes manifest. Sri Shankaracharya glorifies human birth and says that not striving to attain Self-knowledge is tantamount to killing oneself, since one holds fast to unreal things of the world.

If crookedness forges one more link in the chain that binds us to the world, uprightness help us manifest our hidden divine qualities. Bhagavad Gita lists arjava or uprightness or simplicity, as a sign of Knowledge. Uprightness is a virtue an aspirant needs to assiduously cultivate on the path to perfection.

Every action or thought leaves a subtle impression in our mind, impelling us to repeat the action or thought. This effect may not seem to be of much consequence in the beginning, but the kinks in character and their power become evident only when one begins to turn a new leaf. One then begins to appreciate Duryodhana’s predicament. A bundle of bad impressions, he let his notorious uncle strengthen them by his bad designs. When the situation went beyond his control, Duryodhana remarked, ‘I know what is dharma, but am not able to practise it. I know what is adharma, but I am not able to refrain from it.’

All may not be as crooked as Duryodhana, but shades of it inhere in everyone until the dawn of Self-knowledge. In other words, perfect alignment in thought, word and deed is possible only when we attain perfection. In everyday life we know how difficult it is to carry out resolutions: acquiring a new good habit or kicking a bad one. Where lies the difficulty? The problem stems from the kinks in our character or the knots in our mind. Any attempt to discipline the mind invites its instant resistance, since by nature it likes to follow the path of least resistance. That is, it always likes to tag itself to sense organs and their respective sense objects. This link applies not only to gross objects, but also subtle enjoyments. A weak will and a dormant buddhi are responsible for this tendency of the mind. The first step towards uprightness is disciplining the mind and the senses and freeing the will from their hold.