UNHAPPINESS(दुःख) IN LIFE, ITS REASONS AND SOLUTIONS

RAMESH GUPTA MD 2018-01-17


Unhappiness(दुःख) in life, its reasons and solutions
Ramesh Gupta MD
Everyone in life wants to be happy. Unfortunately, happiness and unhappiness are two sides of the same coin. Vedic scriptures clearly state that lasting happiness is a state of aananda, for which there in no word in English and there in no opposite state.
Nyaaya Darshan defines Dukh and Sukha as:
अनुकूलवेदनीयं सुखम्, प्रतिकूलवेदनीयं दुःखम् ।
Anukoola-vedaniyam sukham, pratikoola-vedaniyam duhkham .
According to Sankhya Darshan (maharshi Kapil), unhappiness or Dukhas been divided in three broad categories:

a. caused by other beings- aadhibhautik-dukhas(आधिभौतिकदुःख)
b. caused by nature- aadhidaivik-dukhas (आधिदैविकदुःख)
c. caused by our thoughts- aadhyatmik-dukhas (आध्यात्मिकदु:ख)

These are detailed as follows:

Aadhibhautik-dukhas (आधिभौतिक): Any unhappiness which arises from the action of other humans or other beings comes in this category. Examples are: snake or scorpion bites and attacks by wild animals, Harm or injuries caused by other people physically or emotionally. The ways to avoid these situations obviously is to take all necessary safety precautions and not be in the harm’s way and if confronted by injurious animals or people, it is best to react appropriately even if it means using force. Our Scriptures state:
खलानां कण्टकानां च द्विविधैव प्रतिक्रिया ।
उपानन्मुखभंगो वा दूरतो वा विसर्जनम् ॥

khalanam kantkanam cha dvividhaiv pratikriya ,
Upanan-mukhabhango vaa doorto vaa visarjanam .

The meaning is that you can protect yourself from thorns by wearing good shoes and from the wicked people by staying away from them.
Nowhere in our scriptures are we told to be coward. This is well exemplified in Ramayana and Mahaabharata. Both Shri Rama and Shri Krishna’s actions were clear examples of eliminating the unjust and wicked. A poet Prakash said,
पानी भरे नाव में उचित है उलीच देना,
लग जाये आग तो बुझाना ही उचित है,
छल से कि बल से कि किसी अटकल से भी,
शत्रु को तो सर्वथा मिटाना ही उचित है॥
“pani bhare nav men Uchit hai Ulich dena,
lag jaye Aag to bujhana hi Uchit hai,
chhal se ki bal se ki kisi Atkal se bhi,
shatru ko to sarvatha mitana hi Uchit hai.”

Maharishi Patanjali has shown us the way to deal with others in this world.
मैत्री-करुणा-मुदिता-उपेक्षाणां सुख-दुःख-पुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातः चित्तप्रसादनम् ॥
(योगदर्शन-समाधिपाद-33)
maitri-karuna-mudita-Upekshanan sukh-duhkh-punyapunyavishayanan bhavanatah chittaprasadanam.
(Yoga Darshan Samadhipad 33rd sutra)
• maitri = friendliness, pleasantness, lovingness
• karuna = compassion, mercy
• mudita = gladness, goodwill
• upekshanam = acceptance, equanimity, indifference, disregard, neutrality
• sukha = happy, comfortable, joyous
• duhka = pain, misery, suffering, sorrow
• punya = virtuous, meritorious, benevolent
• apunya = non-virtuous, vice, bad, wicked, evil, bad, demerit, non-meritorious,
• vishayanam = regarding those subjects, in relation to those objects
• bhavanatah = by cultivating habits, by constant reflection, developing attitude, cultivating, impressing on oneself
• chitta = mind field, consciousness
• prasadanam = purified, clear, serene, pleasant, pacified, undisturbed, peaceful, calm

Path to happiness is in being friendly to good and happy people, be kind to those who are sad, be pleasant to the holy souls and avoid and disregard the wicked ones. Saying bad things to wicked people is like throwing a stone in the mud which only results in splattering the mud on oneself.

Poet Rahim Das ji appropriately said:
रहिमन औछे नरन सों, बैर भलो न प्रीत। काटे चाटे स्वान के, दोउ भांति अनीत॥
Rahiman auchhe naran son bair bhalo naa preet, kaate chaate swaan ke doU bhanti aneet.
The meaning is that irrespective of whether the dog bites or licks, the fear of infection (rabies) never goes away. Such is the case in associating with wicked people.

Aadhidaivik-dukhas (आधिदैविक): Problems which arise from nature, such as lack of or too much rain, storm, floods, earth quakes, extreme of cold or heat are a few examples in this category. Humans have disturbed nature in so many ways. Deforestation, mining, polluting the rivers, streams and the atmospheres are examples of this category. It seems likely that some of the problems are arising because of that. So we have to respect the nature and then act. Earth is our mother and should be respected accordingly. So many diseases which were unknown to us are now common. HIV is one example. On the other hand, humans have made major advances in protection from natural dangers and illnesses. Vaccinations against small pox and polio are clear examples of this. We need to stop deforestation, plant more trees, control pollution and keep our rivers, streams, ocean and environment clean.

Aadhyatmik-dukhas (आध्यात्मिक) : These are sorrows one gets due to one’s own thoughts and worries. Some of these are real and some may be pure fears. Fear of disease, death and getting old are good examples of this category. Unhappiness resulting from our sensual desires, attachment, anger, greed, jealousy and envy come in this category. Charak Samhita, the main text of Aaurveda states:

धी-धृति-स्मृति-विभ्रष्टः कर्म यत् कुरुतेऽशुभम्।
प्रज्ञापराधं तं विद्यात् सर्वदोष-प्रकोपणम्॥
Dhi-dhriti-smriti-vibhrashtah karm yat kurute(a)shubham
prajnaparadhan tan vidyat sarvadosha-prakopanam. (Charak Samhita 1.1.102)

Dhi –To acquire Knowledge, Dhriti– To bring knowledge into action, Smriti – To bring knowledge in long term memory and enhancing awareness.
This means: When a person commits and acts without wisdom, patience and use of memory, it can result in mental and physical illnesses. Being lost in desires, being disorganized, unusually postponing bodily needs such as urination/defecation, working more than capacity, being up late at night, sleeping in the day time, ingesting undesirable things such as caffeine or taking drugs to alter thought process can cause in physical/mental illnesses, resulting in unhappiness.

Vidurneeti describes that 6 types of people are always unhappy:

ईर्ष्यी घृणी न सन्तुष्टः क्रोधनो नित्य शंकितः।
परभाग्योपजीवी च षडेते नित्यदुःखिताः॥
Irshyi ghrini na santushtah krodhano nitya shankitah
parabhagyopajivi cha shadete nitya-duhkhitah.

The meaning is that a person who is jealous, hates, dissatisfied, angry, one who always doubts, one who does not trust anyone, and the one who’s livelihood is always dependent on others is always unhappy.

Also, mahatma Vidur has said in Mahabharat that the following 6 situations lead to happiness.

अर्थागमो नित्यमरोगिता च, प्रिया च भार्या प्रियवादिनी च।
वश्यश्च पुत्रोऽर्थकरी च विद्या, षड् जीवलोकस्य सुखानि राजन्॥
Arthagamo nityamarogita cha, priya cha bharya priyvadini ch.
vashyashch putro(a)rthakari cha vidya, shad jivalokasya sukhani rajan.


Maharshi Manu said: सर्वं परवशं दुःखम् Sarvam pavasham dukham (4.160)

Being dependent forever leads to unhappiness and freedom if not misused, can be one of the biggest sources of happiness.
According to nyaya darshan, the main reason of unhappiness is the birth itself. Birth is the result of doing actions in life with desire for the fruits of action. The reason for such actions is attachment and jealousy, which are the result of improper knowledge:
दुःख-जन्म-प्रवृत्ति-दोष-मिथ्या-ज्ञानानाम् उत्तरोत्तर-अपाये तद्-अनन्तर-अपायाद् अपवर्गः। (न्यायसूत्र १.१.२)
“duhkh-janm-pravritti-dosh-mithya-jnananam Uttarottar-Apaye tad-Anantar-Apayad Apvargah. (nyaya darshan 1.1.2)


The great war of Mahabharata is a story of immense pain and suffering, mainly the result of misguided human thinking. The shanti parva(chapter) of Mahabharata describes several reasons for the dukha or unhappiness. These are:

1. Desires: तृष्णार्तिप्रभवं दुःखम् — trishnaarti-prabhavam dukham 25.22

We desire to achieve more enjoyment from the objects of nature and other beings. These are sensual desires. We are sad when the desire is not fulfilled. More intense the desire more is the unhappiness. The great sage Shankaraacharya said that the poorest person is the one who has the greatest desires. Need to do our duties to the best of ability is not the same as desires in above context.
2. Ongoing desires: प्रसृतैरिन्द्रियैर्दुःखी — prasritairindriyair duhkhi 202.9

When we are preoccupied with fulfillment of our desires, there is unhappiness as well. Our mind takes over our wisdom and we sink deeper and deeper in the fulfillment of our desires. When this happens, our mind is so preoccupied in fulfilling those desires. Once we keep following our mind, our sensesbecome polluted and are no longer able to act sensibly.

3. Attachment (राग/मोह): नास्ति रागसमं दुःखम् — naasti raga-samam dukham 283.33

When mind has an unending urge to fulfill the same desires, it is called Raga (aasakti). Obviously no one can have his/her every desire fulfilled all the time. So when a desire is not fulfilled, the result is anger, which leads to hopelessness with loss of wisdom and the results can be disastrous. Case examples of above statement happen all the time. Take the case of an intensely rich and famous person who seems to be having everything he/she wants in life and yet has to resort to drugs and alcohol and not too infrequently is depressed and may even commit suicide. There is a story of Emperor Akbar, who had one favorite minister in his court. Akbar asked for his advice all the time. One day, when the minister came, Akbar was very busy and did not give him any attention. He waited and waited and finally left the court. He came home and thought to himself that he really was un-needed and all his richness had no value. He made a general announcement in public that anyone can pick up anything from his house. When Akbar finally realized that his adviser had not come to work in last couple of days, he sent his messenger to go get him. By this time the minister had abandoned his home and was relaxing on the banks of a river. When asked by Akbar’s messengers, he refused to go & visit the Emperor. Finally Akbar himself came to request him to return back to his palace. He replied, “When I had everything I was waiting for you and now I have nothing and you are waiting for me”.Akbar got the message and thanked the wise man and left for his palace.

In the second chapter of Geeta, the sequence of events starting from desires to loss of intellect have been stated very effectively and also the solutions of these problems have been detailed.

ध्यायतो विषयान् पुंसः, संगस्तेषूपजायते।
संगात् संजायते कामः, कामात् क्रोधोऽभिजायते॥२.६२॥

dhyayato vishayan punsah, sangasteshoopajayate,
sangat sanjayte kamah, kamat krodho(a)bhijayate. (2.62)

क्रोधात् भवति संमोहः, संमोहात् स्मृतिविभ्रमः।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो, बुद्धिनाशात् प्रणश्यति॥२.६३॥
krodhat bhavati sanmohah, sanmohat smritivibhramah,
smritibhranshad buddhinasho, buddhinashat pranashyati. (2.63)

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन्।
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति॥2.64॥
ragadveshaviyuktaistu vishayanindriyaishcharan.
Aatmavashyairvidheyatma prasadamdhigachchhati. (2.64)

While engrossed in the fulfillment of desires, one gets attached to them and if these remain unfulfilled the result is anger, which further leads to a sense of indecisiveness and confusion, and finally the loss of intelligence and thought process. The solution, therefore, is to get involved into the day to day life while being free from attachment and control senses.

4. Loss of or departure from the loved ones:
दुःखमिष्टवियोगजम्—duhkhamishtaviyogajam 137.60

Departure or being away from loved ones also results in unhappiness. Departure is the rule of nature after being with someone. Only after departure, one can have the pleasure of meeting the person again. Birth and death are eternal rules of nature as well.

My father says:
Milbe te bichhuram balau, mil bichhuro sab koya,
bichhuram aashaa Milankee, mile te bichhuram hoy.

5. Loss of wealth: This obviously leads to insecurity and unhappiness. The last stock market crash was followed by many suicides and cases of depression. If one is asked, “can you give your one hand or eye in lieu of a large wealth”, arguably, the answer will be no to the wealth.

6. Advancing age: Quality of life can be improved with proper diet, exercise and mental peace. Longevity can be even prolonged to some extent with these measures. No wonder, recently yoga has become very prevalent in the world.

7. Being with undesirable people also leads to unhappiness. The seventh principal of Arya Samaj says that our conduct towards all should be guided by love, according to dharma and justice.

In conclusion, the best way to be happy is to meditate and avoid running after sensual desires. This can even lead of salvation of some rare souls.Effort should be made to bring knowledge and preaching in to practice in day to day life.