The Science of Happiness

Oxford Dictionary gives two definitions of “Happiness”:

  1. the state of feeling or showing pleasure
  2. the state of being satisfied that something is good or right

When do we feel pleasure and satisfaction? When one or more of the six senses are gratified, chemicals called endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are released in brain. This chemicals make us feel pleasure and satisfaction. Senses are gratified when they come in contact with their respective objects. Objects of gratification for six senses are following:



Object of gratification




Natural beauty, animations, paintings, carvings, etc. 



Aroma of flowers, perfumes, aroma of food etc.



Touch of smooth surface etc.



Music, Sweet talks, etc.



Taste of eatables


Thoughts & Feelings

Respect, admiration, love, achievement, memories, etc.


Is Happiness just a feeling generated when object of gratification comes in contact with sense? No. True happiness is permanent state of being in peace and contentment. The feeling generated from gratification of senses is just momentary pleasure or satisfaction.

In today’s world, we have misunderstood happiness with pleasure. In the pursuit of happiness we engage in activities of momentary gratification of senses like watching movies, eating in restaurants, dancing in night clubs, drinking, touring, social media, hanging out etc. These activities surely give us the pleasure but that pleasure doesn’t last long. As soon as we end the activity, we start feeling craving for more pleasure. We don’t really feel contented or satisfied. We don’t get the true happiness.

How can we get true happiness? How can we get the pleasure which will lead to contentment? The answer is given in one of the most authoritative book of philosophy, Bhagavad Gita 2.66:

naasti buddhir ayuktasya

na cayuktasya bhaavanaa

na cabhaavayatah shantir

ashaantasya kutah sukham

“One who is not connected with the Supreme can have neither transcendental intelligence nor a steady mind, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?”

A true happiness comes from tranquil mind. The mind can be brought to tranquility only by transcendental intelligence. And intelligence can be made transcendental by connecting the soul (our self) with Supreme.

How to connect our self with Supreme? We can get connected to Supreme by connecting our activities to Supreme. All the activities which we perform can be divided in two categories:

  1. Activities of sense gratification: Activities performed to gratify our own senses.
  2. Activities of extended sense gratification: Activities to derive pleasure by giving gratification to senses of those connected to us.

To connect our activities to Supreme, we have to perform the activities in such a way that senses of the Supreme are gratified. Supreme is not some formless, senseless energy but he is the all energetic person with transcendental senses. He has infinite names of which the most suitable is “Krishna” which means all attractive. When we engage in activities to gratify the senses of The Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna, we will feel the pleasure which will lead to satisfaction. There are nine activities by which one can give pleasure to senses of Krishna, mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.23:

sravanam kirtanam vishnoh

smaranam paada-sevanam

arcanam vandanam daasyam

sakhyam aatma-nivedanam

“Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu (Krishna), remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him”

We need not give up our regular duties. But along with them, if we engage in one or more of any of these nine activities under the guidance of bonafide spiritual master then we will get connected with the Supreme. In doing this activities our senses will be purified as well as gratified with pure objects of gratification as mentioned below:


Pure objects of gratification


Seeing the beauty of transcendental form (Deity) of Lord


Smelling the flowers and scent offered to Lord


Touching the transcendental form (Deity) of Lord


Hearing about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord


Tasting the purified food offered to Lord and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord


Thinking about the Lord’s transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes


If we engage in this way our senses, mind, intelligence and soul will be gradually purified. The more we become purified more we will feel true happiness. That happiness will be unflickered and uninterrupted under all circumstances.