47. The Importance of Peace of Mind

Devotion,

by Jayaram V

Notes: I have translated the Bhagavadgita twice. The first one was a loose translation. The second one was a word to word translation with a detailed commentary. The commentary is however different from what you will find here. In this section I will share with you my thoughts about the knowledge, philosophy and wisdom of the Bhagavadgita as I understand it from my perspective. Jayaram V



Summary: This discussion is based upon the teachings of the Bhagavadgita about the importance of peace in human life and why it is preferable to wealth and happiness.

If you are asked to choose between happiness and wealth, what will you choose? You may choose wealth, but wealth does not necessarily lead to happiness or guarantee it. Wealth without happiness is not superior to happiness without wealth. If you are wealthy, but not happy, what is the use of having a lot of wealth? Sometimes when you are unhappy, you may choose to acquire more wealth and luxuries to make yourself happy.

The choice between happiness and wealth

However, it may not be a wise choice to make. In most cases it does the opposite. It will make you unhappy, and even miserable because wealth and happiness rarely go together. It happens only when a person extremely careful and judiciously uses his wealth to increase his happiness and wellbeing. Many people who pursue wealth for materialistic or egoistic reasons realize that money does not buy them happiness. It may even make the situation worse.

The ideal situation is that you should aim for happiness rather than wealth. You may pursue wealth only as part of your pursuit of happiness. In materialistic world you need some wealth to buy some comforts and enjoy your life. However, when you do it, remember that your priority is to make yourself happy rather than risk your happiness to acquire more wealth or power.

If you are happy and cheerful by nature, consider it a huge blessing. If you smile spontaneously, it means you have not allowed your desires to consume your happiness. When you choose happiness as your priority, know that you have chosen wisely.

Happiness is preferable to wealth because wealth, does not guarantee happiness. Happiness with or without wealth is better than wealth without happiness. If you are happy, and if your happiness is not influenced by having or not having, it does not matter whether you are rich or poor. What matters you are happy and blessed.

The choice between peace and happiness

There is another important choice which you may have to consider at some stage in your life. It is especially important when you turn to spirituality. It is about choosing between peace and happiness. Which one do you think is more important? Does peace come first or happiness? You cannot have happiness without peace. The wise ones know it. Hence, they seek peace rather than happiness.

If you have peace, you can have wealth as well as happiness. Without peace you cannot be happy even if you have a lot of wealth. Bhagavadgita refers (2.66) to the deep connection peace and happiness in the following statement, "Asantasya kutah sukham." It means, for the one without peace where is happiness?

Unless you are at peace with yourself and with the world, you cannot be truly happy. You will experience peace when your mind falls completely silent and all desires come to rest. It means to experience peace, either you must have everything, which is practically impossible or you must be free from desires, wants, needs, attraction and aversion. The latter is achieved through spiritual practice. The yogis call it the state of perfection, wholesomeness and completeness. They know that peace is the culmination of all spiritual practice and happiness is one of its consequences.

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