The basis of man’s real happiness is self-forgetfulness

The basis of man’s real happiness is self-forgetfulness. The more a man is aware of himself or is egocentric, the more liable is he to misery, sadness, and suffering. In the state of neurosis, minor phases of which are depression and melancholia, a man becomes more and more aware of himself. In any condition, such as seeing daffodils growing in a field and swaying in the wind, as described by Wordsworth, the first phase of happiness is forgetfulness of self. In the higher sense, forgetfulness means identity with the objects of love and beauty.

In the inner world it means the love of Truth. The following Sufi poems illustrate the point beautifully:- “I have never been a worshipper of wine or drunkenness. The cause of my intoxication, which produces complete self-forgetfulness, Are the kisses I bestowed on the lips of my Love in a dream.” The word ‘dream’ here means the state of ecstasy called Samadhi, and in Sufi terminology ‘friend’ or ‘love’ means the eternal Truth. The lips are the contemplation of identity with its outer form in the world and its inner form in Truth.

The one great difference between this ecstasy and the ecstasy caused by the contact of the senses with the object of delight is that it is permanent, not short-lived, and needs no means either to produce or maintain it. A candle can light innumerable candles. The light is neither diminished thereby, nor is there self-exaltation over the fact of giving light to others.

Such is the state of a man who has known the Self to be universal. He kindles the light of Truth in innumerable hearts, and that is the real source of his delight, the source of delight being one and the same Self, free from the turmoil of agitation. Self-delight is not real delight: the real delight is caused by giving delight to others. This state is not realized in the realm of empiricism. It is an idealistic state, and its first realization takes place in the deep contemplation of Truth within one’s own Self. The same Truth observed objectively is called Beauty. This is the meaning of the verse quoted above. Here are two more verses conveying the same meaning, taken from the Persian texts:-

“O Saqi, give me a cup of the wine,
By drinking which I may become oblivious
To the world and also to religion.
This is the intoxication which I call Love.”
“In the tranquil moonlight,
The heart of the nightingale
Is pierced by the sight
Of the rose in full bloom.”

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