sukhaṁ tvidānīṁ trividhaṁ śṛṇu me bharatarṣabha
abhyāsādramate yatra duḥkhāntaṁ ca nigacchati
yattadagre viṣamiva pariṇāme'mṛtopamam
tatsukhaṁ sāttvikaṁ proktamātmabuddhiprasādajam
Now hear from Me, O best of Bharata (Arjuna), of the three kinds of happiness. Happiness in which, one rejoices through practice and whereby he achieves the end of sorrow. That happiness which is like poison in the beginning (due to the worldly attachment), but tastes like nectar in the end. That happiness which springs from the placidity of mind, brought about by meditation on God, is said to be Sāttvika.
That happiness which is experienced while with holy company, study of scriptures, meditation, reciting name of God, singing together in a holy group etc. is called 'Sattvika' due to relationship of these activities with God. The reason is that this happiness is neither like the Rajasika happiness-- coming from the relationship of objects with the senses such as respect, comfort, money, pleasure etc. nor it is even Tamasika happiness coming from heedlessness, laziness and excessive sleep.
Question - In the fourteenth chapter, it was said that Sāttvika happiness binds-- 'sukhasaṅgena badhnāti' (14/6), but here the Lord declares that by Sāttvika happiness, sorrows come to an end-- 'duḥkhāntaṁ ca nigacchati'. How to resolve this conflict?
Answer - It means that if an aspirant starts to rejoice the Sāttvika happiness, it binds him i.e., does not let him transcend the Gunas (modes). But if he does not rejoice it, then Sattvika happiness becomes destroyer of sorrows. By rejoicing in happiness, sorrows do not come to an end. By only renouncing enjoyment (pleasure), Yoga is attained. Therefore, one should remain detached from the Sāttvika happiness also. The attachment leads the aspirant to Rajoguṇa which binds him. When Sattvaguṇa gets mixed with Rajoguṇa, it is conducive to downfall.
The Sāttvika happiness appears like poison initially because an aspirant does not attach importance to discrimination. A Rājasika person does not value discrimination. Therefore, appearance of the Sāttvika happiness initially is like poison because of presence of Rajoguṇa. It means that Sāttvika happiness is not painful but because of the effect of Rajoguṇa on one's intellect, the Sāttvika happiness appears to be painful like poison. He aims at Sāttvika happiness but inwardly he has attachment with Rajasika happiness.
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