Bhagavan Nityananda’s Solar Punyatithi marks the anniversary of the day—August 8, 1961—when he left his physical form and merged with all-pervasive Consciousness. The Punyatithi is a sacred time to practice remembrance of Bhagavan Nityananda, to reflect on his teachings, to invoke his presence within our hearts, and to honor him.
Bhagavan Nityananda—or Bade Baba, “elder Baba,” as he was fondly called—was Baba Muktananda’s Guru. He was renowned throughout India as a great saint, one who bestowed shaktipat initiation and awakened seekers to their own divinity. Thousands of people traveled to the tiny village of Ganeshpuri, in the state of Maharashtra, India, to receive Bade Baba’s blessings. In his presence they experienced profound contentment.
Continually immersed in the bliss of the Self, Bade Baba embodied the teachings of the scriptures. Baba Muktananda describes how his Guru often taught silently, through a gesture or a look. Occasionally Bade Baba would speak. And when he did, his speech resonated with the power of his state; his words conveyed the knowledge of the Truth.
One of Bade Baba’s teachings was
All happiness you desire is within you.
It is there in its entirety, in its full manifestation.1
In this teaching Bade Baba directs us to turn within. First he tells us, “All happiness you desire is within you.” All happiness is within us for a simple reason: it is our true nature. Happiness is the essence of our own Self. We do not require any object, person, or experience outside of us to experience bliss. We do not need to think, “I will be happy when such-and-such desire is fulfilled.” True happiness is present in every moment.
Furthermore, Bade Baba teaches that this happiness “is there in its entirety, in its full manifestation.” This is because the bliss of the Self is complete, full, and perfect—wanting for nothing.
So, how can we put Bade Baba’s teaching into practice? How can we experience the happiness that is always within us—and then sustain that experience?
One method is to focus our attention on a great being such as Bade Baba. We concentrate our awareness and the energy of our senses on an image, a prayer, or anything else that evokes their presence for us. Then we direct our awareness within. Bringing our attention to our heart, we go beyond the senses to experience the essence of that great being we are focusing on. In doing so, we have their darshan, and we perceive the blissful Consciousness that is our own Self.
We can have darshan of Bade Baba in many ways. We can gaze upon an image or murti of him. We can meditate on his form. We can recognize Bade Baba’s presence in nature—in animals, in trees, in the elements. This is a practice that Gurumayi guides us through in her poem A Temple Without Form. Wherever and whenever we have Bade Baba’s darshan, our hearts, like mirrors, reflect the bliss that Bade Baba embodies, and we perceive this bliss within ourselves.
Another way to practice Bade Baba’s teaching is by paying more attention to the moments when we experience happiness throughout the day. This is a classic dharana, or centering technique, described in the Vijnana Bhairava. This Shaivite scripture explains that moments of delight can be a doorway or portal into the unchanging, everlasting bliss of the Self.
These moments could arise when we greet a friend, when we inhale a sweet fragrance, when we rest in the stillness after meditation, or when we join our voices in chanting the divine name. They could come up when we see a beautiful sunset or the smile of a child.
In such moments, we can shift our focus from what is prompting our delight to the delight itself, and we can make the subtle effort to notice how this happiness is actually arising from within. When we do this, the moment of happiness expands. We tap into the infinite bliss of the Self.
As we engage in this practice over time, our experience of happiness grows and grows—until we recognize bliss as the nectarean substratum of our lives. We come to know the truth of Bade Baba’s teaching that complete happiness is already within us, and we learn to access that joy at any time, in any situation.
On the occasion of Bhagavan Nityananda’s Punyatithi, I invite you to take to heart Bade Baba’s teaching about the happiness within. Bade Baba is ever-present as the bliss of the Self. When we honor him, when we remember his divine presence, when we perceive the truth of his words, we recognize the complete and splendid happiness within ourselves.