Indian Perspectives on Happiness


Health and well-being have been major themes in Indian scholastic writings and traditional traditions. There are several locations where you may find in-depth debates on ideas like svsthya, sukha, dukha, nada, rogya, and prasannat, among others. Similarly, we discover in-depth examinations of human virtues such as paropakra, shasa, dhairya, ksham, niti, dhyama, pragy, and la, among others. Positive psychology does not adhere to the framework of Indian psychological ideas. The Indian viewpoints on human nature have been stated holistically from a higher level of consciousness that transcends the bounds of everyday perception and the confines of space-time.

Indian Conception of Happiness

The nature and functioning of the human mind, as well as how it might contribute to our pleasure (sukha) and sadness (dukha), are all topics covered in several ancient Indian writings, including the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagwad Gita. In everyday speech, joy is known as "Khushi." These writings offer the social structure and guidelines for leading a healthy life and promoting people's wellness. Several ideas in Indian psychology are connected to pleasant emotional experiences and characteristics. They are in Sanskrit, but there are too many other Indian languages that have versions of them. Here, we solely talk about the original ideas. They fall into four groups in general

  • Those that symbolizes contentment in mundane states of consciousness

  • Those linked to well-being and health

  • Those linked to progress and welfare

  • Those linked to transcendental/spiritual states of consciousness

Indian Perspectives on Happiness

Kumar (2003) proposes three perspectives on the Indian conception of happiness and well-being

Charvaka philosophy

Ancient Indian philosophy strongly emphasized the hedonic happy-like pleasure idea of happiness. It emphasized the present and encouraged people to experience it fully while avoiding sorrow and misery. This exemplified the idea of "Living in the now." However, this method/concept could have been better liked then

Transcendent perspective

The eudaimonic approach emphasizes that Indian perspectives on pleasure and well-being likewise center on significance in life but go further than that to a transcendence condition. The state of "Ananda," or unadulterated happiness, is described as the pinnacle of well-being in this passage. The person overcomes the constraints of this world and enters the divine realm, which provides the highest level of satisfaction—the joyful state of contentment. In order to achieve ultimate pleasure, Maslow included the need for transcendence after the need for self-actualization in his enlarged theory of the Hierarchy of Needs.

Collectivist perspective

: The collectivistic philosophy that most Indians adhere to stands halfway between the extremes of Charvaka's pleasure approach and transcendence as a spiritual path. A life of moderation, concentration on collective goodness, living for others, and other similar human values and principles are encouraged for improving well-being according to the collectivistic philosophy of life proclaimed by Indian tradition.

The spiritual and social parts of Indian perspectives on happiness predominate over the materialistic ones. In their search for the ultimate truth, Indian "Munis" and "Rishis" (Sages and Seers) emphasized what is permanent (truth) and what is not permanent (mithya), as described by Kumar (2003). Knowing one's Self (Atman), transcending the Self, and achieving a higher state of awareness when one understands that "I am That" or "So Hum" leads to eternal enjoyment. I am identical to the cosmos or ultimate reality. You and I are the same; our connections bind us together. This results in genuine happiness and joy (ananda), which lasts forever.

Ānanda: Sustained Happiness and Well-Being

Man is an animal and a person, according to Indian psychology. Nevertheless, since it was formed and is governed by a worldview that acknowledges the validity of both physical and spiritual components of human life, it also goes a step further to assert that man is divine or spiritual. Humans can progress to a higher degree and achieve a Divine status, according to the spiritual worldview of the Indian traditions of the Vedic, Jain, and Buddhist faiths. These personalities go by the names mahtma and mahpurusha.

Man is an animal and a person, according to Indian psychology. Nevertheless, since it was formed and is governed by a worldview that acknowledges the validity of both physical and spiritual components of human life, it also goes a step further to assert that man is divine or spiritual. Humans can progress to a higher degree and achieve a Divine status, according to the spiritual worldview of the Indian traditions of the Vedic, Jain, and Buddhist faiths. These personalities go by the names mahtma and mahpurusha.

They represent the values of kindness, compassion, knowledge, and a sense of brotherhood among all people. Some of them possess exceptional spiritual abilities. Additionally, they are free from desire (kama), rage (krodha), avarice (lobha), attraction and attachment (moha), pride (mada), and envy (mtsarya). They are claimed to maintain a constant state of contentment (nanda) and serenity (sthitaprajna). An expression used to characterize such a condition is "beyond the binary opposites or dualities" (dwandwa), such as "pleasure and pain," "struggles and sorrows," "deprivation and disadvantage," and other experiences that have no bearing on them.

Such a condition is attainable when one is rooted in an awareness that extends beyond what is achievable in a typical waking state. Thus, it is referred to as transcendental or spiritual. Such a base condition or transcendent state is referred to in the Upanishads as turiya, which is Sanskrit for fourth and is distinct from waking, dreaming, and profound sleep. Turiya is constantly present and is known to help the other three states. Operating and being established in that condition are thought to be the optimal states of well-being and thriving. When Krishna urges Arjuna to "do your job as established in Yoga," which is nothing more than that transcendental consciousness, he means exactly what he just said. Dukkha and sukha, in the traditional sense, have little significance for someone in such a condition since they do not have an impact on them. In the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna gives Arjuna some advice that is essentially this.

As a result, in contrast to western tradition, Indian culture has taken a more comprehensive approach to the themes of happiness, quality of life, well-being, flourishing, and human welfare. Three gunas—sattva, rajas, and tamas—explain all good emotions, motivating qualities, and temperamental attributes. A person enjoys a greater sense of general well-being as their sattva guna grows. This is the core of the Indian viewpoint.

Conclusion

The main ideas of positive psychology—happiness, well-being, and flourishing—have been sought by humans for thousands of years. The issues surrounding pleasure, happiness, and contentment have been experienced and addressed in many civilizations and cultures since human beings became sentient, and their activities were not driven by simple biological demands like those of animals.

The spiritual worldview affirms that humans can progress toward divinity on their own. Indian culture, therefore, views people on three levels: as animals, as individuals, and as beings with the capacity to become divine or godlike. In the Indian setting, a variety of ideas are used to denote various degrees of pleasure and well-being.

Updated on: 06-Feb-2023

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