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Athmopadesha Shathakam Verse-22

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Athmopadesha Shathakam (One Hundred verses of Self-Instruction)
Translation & explanation of Verse-22

The happiness of another - that is my happiness;
Ones own joy is anothers joy- that is the guiding principle;
That action which is good for one person -
should bring happiness to another.

(\"Priyamaparanteyathen priyam, swakeeya-
Nayamathinale narannu nanmanalkum-
Kriyayaparapriya hethuvaayvarenam\")

Key message:-
Desires can come into conflict when treated unilaterally and horizontally, but are resolved into the harmony of unity when both the counterparts of the relational situation are brought together through correct Self-knowledge. Vedanta and the Advaitha (non-dualistic) principle embedded in it are not only scriptures to think mere philosophically, but to understand as science that illuminates on the living truth. The law of all morality is stated in the second half of this verse in unequivocal terms. This law is conceived strictly according to the Science of the Absolute, whose method is dialectical, and not merely rational. Thus Narayana Guru is giving a brilliant contribution to the human thought process and actions leading to the universal actualization of happiness.

\"The happiness of another - that is my happiness;
Ones own joy is anothers joy- that is the guiding principle;\"
(\"Priyamaparanteyathen priyam, swakeeya-
There are two real causes of happiness. One is obvious and the other is hidden.
The obvious one is when the cause is known to us. We have many latent urges in our mind, all waiting for a favorable environment to provide an opportunity for their actualization. Hunger is a biological urge of this type. A hungry person is looking for an opportunity to get some food. It may begin as an unconscious motivation, but it soon becomes conscious. So we go to a place where food is available, such as a kitchen or a restaurant. Inside is hunger; outside is the availability of food. When these are brought together, we are satisfied. There are many preferences involved in this ‘priyam’, or this main item of the fulfillment of an urge, to make us really happy. We prefer to eat in a certain restaurant, to be served by a certain person, to eat food prepared in a certain way. We stress the quality of the object as the main condition for happiness. Happiness is thus considered as an external factor which is coming into us. Our desire is inside; happiness is manifesting outside. So it becomes a conditional factor. Narayana Guru tells us that we become confused by thinking of happiness as an external factor.

The Guru begins this verse with a word that has an equivocal meaning, ‘aparan’. When you see a total stranger, that person is entirely different from you. While starting the conversation, each says, “I am so and so”. There are two separate I’s. Then later you say, “Let us sit here and talk”. The ‘I’ has been transformed. There is an ‘us’ where before were two I’s. The other is now melting into the not-other. Paran is other; aparan, not other. When ‘I’ and ‘you’ change into ‘we’ or ‘us’, the other has changed into no more another. This is the implication of the word the Guru uses. We are no more others.

‘Swakeeya priyam’- This can be illustrated by an example: Let us take the case of two middle-aged women living together in a house. One wanted to get up first in the morning, so that she could make tea and bring it on a tray to the other before she woke up. The next day morning, she stealthily got up and tiptoed to the kitchen, where she was surprised to find the other one already making tea for her. All through the story, they were making little martyrdoms to please each other like that. Let my own happiness be your happiness; let your happiness be my happiness. It is this commonality that unites two people; then there is no more the other.
If things and persons outside us are within the scheme of our action, we have to see that it is not unilateral (one-sided). We must make bilateral (mutual) arrangements in the action set-up.

That action which is good for one person -
should bring happiness to another.
(“Nayamathinale narannu nanmanalkum-
Kriyayaparapriya hethuvaayvarenam”):

Here, the hidden cause of happiness is examined.
We are not merely the senses, the mind and our latent interests. Behind all this is a self-luminous light, which assures us of the existence of everything. In fact, it is the primeval existence. It is the ground of all existence. It is only because of this existence that anything is possible. Yet we only see the existence of a person or the existence of an object, and not existence as such. We forget that it is through our participation in the general existence that we become existent. This existence is the existence of knowledge, of a great awareness, of an illuminating consciousness which covers the knower, the known and knowledge.

The overall existence, this all-embracing consciousness of knowledge, is also revealing how one happiness pervades everything. The happiness of seeing a sunset, the happiness of eating a good breakfast, of holding the hand of someone we love, of reading or writing poetry, of painting, of listening to beautiful music, the happiness in all the variety of things you enjoy through the five senses or that are performed by the five organs of action, conceived by mind and enjoyed by mind – are all part and parcel of one universal experience of happiness. You are That. When you realize your real nature from within, there cannot be another, because what is seemingly another is only due to external diversity. In reality, it is part of the same existence of the same consciousness and the same happiness. Thus, the ‘paran’ or the otherness, ceases. There is no other; there is only That. Calling attention to this, the Guru says, “That thou art”. You are That.

Through a realization of the Self, we come to know there is no other. From inside, when you see the oneness of all things, there cannot be a separation of my happiness and another’s happiness. For a realized soul, an awakened one, whatever he or she is doing is a spontaneous expression of Self-love. It is not an ego-centered love, it is the love of the Supreme Self for itself. Two things can bring us together. One is the actualization of an interest or an urge in us, and the other is the universality of the Self. Whatever role we are playing, whether carpenter, smith, plumber, teacher or anyone, there is bipolarity involved in it. In that bipolar situation, we become dialectical counterparts in which a common interest fuses us together.

Narayana Guru, as a realized person, is revealing to us: “Oh Man, please do not think that there is any other. It is only seemingly so. Let all your actions be directed to universal happiness, to the universal actualization of happiness”.

When you engage yourself in an action, look for your counterpart. That comes from above. From below, you also realize that this counterpart is your own Self. In this way, you get a double correction and double incentive to ensure the happiness of all concerned.

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