The bliss or joy we always get to enjoy is little, very little. If I eat an ice-cream on a day of 24 hours, the joy I derive out of it is for hardly 10 minutes until I finish it. Sri Adi Sankaracharya in Atma Bodha talks of a bliss that is not broken—Akhanda Ananda. The form of the Self is this unbroken bliss. If I realise that it is my own true self, I too am the custodian of unbroken bliss. Light can never shake hands with darkness. Bliss can never meet up with sorrow and suffering.
However, each and every unit of life—plant, animal, reptile, bird, river, mountain and human—are dependent on just a tiny particle of this infinite mountain of bliss to live a happy life. The Upanishads and other texts keep pointing out to us that right from the creator Brahmaji to the tiniest worm or even a unicellular organism, all experience happiness. However, there are degrees to the happiness. It is not all the same. A lion in the forest that has found its food to eat will experience more happiness than another lion whose food escaped during the hunt.
A person working in the same office who gets a raise will experience more happiness than his colleague whose name has not featured for a pay hike. Even small things like someone looked kindly at me can make me happier than if someone, especially whom I like, ignored me. The incident may happen for just a few seconds, but the experience of sorrow owing to that missing feeling can go on for weeks on end.
All happiness is not extraneous, but experienced from the big store called consciousness which is ever present in chaotic abundance. This presence of happiness can be compared to mountain ranges of sugar, rivers of sugar syrup and lakes and oceans of sugar crystals for the tiny ant to taste. That is the stock of happiness we possess. Yet, unaware of this wealth, we are constantly on the lookout for situations, people and objects that can make us experience joy.The fulfilment of this experience is unadulterated, unstoppable, irreversible experience of happiness at all times and in all places.
Ultimately, happiness is a state of being. It is not caused by anything or anyone. In fact, an object or person can only end up being a reason for unhappiness as they are bound to disturb the equanimity of the mind. When a thought or desire arises in the mind, it is like a stone being thrown into a still lake. It causes ripples of waves in concentric circles. Focussing on those disturbances intensifies the chaotic condition and a mental storm of desires churns the whole being, completely removing the experience of tranquillity. So when we just are—we are happy. When we want to become something, sorrow sets in.