Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
We are reading the small booklet called "Not Too Loose, Not Too tight - Just right!" This is written by Swamini Vimalananda, and gives a very general overview of Vedanta for the beginner, with emphasis on the sattvic, rajasic and tamasic approaches to life. Remember, we are a mixture of all; use this as your mirror.
सुख/sukha - happiness.
All of us, without exception, want happiness in life. Each of us wants the maximum possible! We feel that different objects, beings or circumstance are 'joy-giving' and hence, we adopt different pursuits with a view to obtaining them. The quality of happiness we experience, though, is coloured by our prevalent state of mind - sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic.
Sattvic; when our vision, actions, intellect and will are sattvic, we experience sattvic joy. Such a mind is naturally and effortlessly cheerful, peaceful and poised. There is a sense of well-being, a feeling that life is beautiful and the living is a joy. The joy that results from dispassion, self-control, discipline, concentration, selflessness or doing good, is sattvic in nature. The sense of satisfaction that one gets from doing a job well, achieving something by one's own efforts, creating a piece of art, discovering something, understanding a subtle subject or mastering a skill is sattvic in nature. What may initially seem difficult and unattractive but which results in one's well-being and gives lasting joy is sattvic. Classic examples are waking early, practising meditation, or memorising arithmetic tables. Sattvic joy can be effortlessly gained from simple things in life like sharing a heart-felt smile, watching the sun rise, good health, breathing fresh air, watching the flight of a bird or seeing the smile of an infant. Being with nature makes the mind restful, peaceful and gives sattvic joy. A sensitive mind and keen senses have the capacity to gain sattvic joy and acquire a taste for it. Sattvic joy is subtle, yet its bondage is also subtle. One can get hooked onto sense pleasures, which later cause sorrow.
Rajasic; when our vision, intellect and actions are rajasic, we experience rajasic joy. Such a mind has a taste for grosser joys. It seeks thrills and excitement from objects and beings, like listening to fast music, watching 'thrillers' or partying. The joy we get from indulgence and comforts is rajasic. It depends on the coming together of various factors like the availability of the desired object, a healthy body and senses, and the right mood or conducive environment. After all these factors come together, we experience momentary joy which leaves a craving for more of the same, or gives rise to new desires. Should the factors not align and we do not get the expected experience, in place of joy we may have dejection, frustration, outright anger. Rajasic pursuits seem very attractive and easy-to-get joys are experienced, but they result in exhaustion of the mind, dulling of the senses, depletion of finance and often fail to satisfy the intellect. A mind which gets habituated to pleasure seeking can hardly entertain noble or great thoughts.
Tamasic; here, the vision, actions and intellect experience a joy which makes it very difficult to get up from bed each morning and the one gets by lying around in bed even after waking up. A tamasic mind revels in laziness, sleep, sadistic and masochistic pleasures, harming and hurting others, vulgarity, drugs, alcohol and so on. Such people feel that ignorance is bliss. Some even take to murder, rape, revenge, loot and plunder. This is a base joy and appeals only to our lower instincts.