Entertainment vs Ananda

All of us crave for and seek happiness. But do we know what true happiness actually is?

‘Feel-good’ movies, a tasty dish, a pleasant or delightful fragrance, a melodious song, a tender touch, seeing a beautiful thing – all these give pleasure and make us feel more upbeat. And, we often confuse or mistake these feelings as happiness.

But, these feelings are not true happiness; they fulfill or satisfy our worldly desires as they are at the level of the senses. This is entertainment, which is temporary or short-lived. A tasty meal will stay with you only until your next meal.

True bliss or happiness is ananda, which is at the level of soul. For example, you watch a movie that stays with you for long after the movie is over. You keep on thinking about it for days to come. Or, you watch a dance drama and your expressions or emotions become one with those enacted on the stage. This is ananda. You become one with the character. You lose track of time.

This is the rasa theory of natya shastra, which establishes a relationship between the actor and the audience. The two are connected at the level of the soul.

According to the Rasa theory of the Natya Shastra, entertainment is a desired effect of performance arts but not the primary goal, and the primary goal is to transport the individual in the audience into another parallel reality, full of wonder and bliss, where he experiences the essence of his own consciousness, and reflects on spiritual and moral questions (Wikipedia).

This is the difference between ananda and entertainment.

Krishna has used the word ‘prasanna’ in Bhagwat Gita, which is inner happiness and not just happiness.

Ananda can be achieved only if you live in the present and not in the past or the future.

Take ‘anand’ in whatever you do; do your duty with devotion and discipline, which means, to be more productive, lose track of time…

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