God has been described as Absolute Bliss and the sole entity that can provide this bliss to others as well. He lightens up the world and our lives. The mechanism by which physical light works is that it is transmitted from an object to our eyes. Certain special cells in our eyes get activated and we are able to see as a result of this process. Light, therefore, makes the world visible to us. Similarly, God made the world visible to us in the beginning of this world and is thus addressed as the prakaashak or illuminator.
He breathed life into souls i.e. us, by providing us a body, the senses, a mind and much much more. He is still providing for us and will continue to do so by virtue of his benevolent nature. God is also permeating throughout the universe. Like water flows and occupies every available space if let loose, God occupies every nook and corner of the world.
To this great Lord, the omnipresent harbinger of the entire creation, we pray that we may receive worldly happiness. There is a type of happiness in this world that gives us apparent joy and comfort but ultimately leads us away from morality, values and from God Himself. There is also the other type of happiness that stays with us not only for a moment or two but also takes us towards the path of inner peace and divine accomplishments. We pray to God to grant us this latter happiness, free of all voids and possessive of wholesome richness.
The worldly happiness that we ask for actually comprises of three things – righteousness (dharma), wealth (arth) and indulgence (kaam). The first part of materialistic happiness that we pray for – righteousness – is the most important part and permeates in all the other components. It is an essential constituent of any joy that must follow. Righteousness is to act in accordance with the divine words (as described in the Vedas). To try to achieve happiness by going against God’s words will be a waste of effort.
The other mode of achieving worldly happiness is through wealth. This is tightly connected with the first component. The happiness that we pray for does require wealth so that we can be comfortable and prosperous but it refers to wealth earned righteously (arth). For this, it becomes essential to know, understand and follow the values and principles that make us human. To amass wealth without knowing how to do so, leads to more misery than joy (anarth). Hurting others and contaminating our own purity on the way to acquiring wealth is not what we should be praying for and is worthy of harsh results.
The third part of worldly happiness that we are praying for is indulgence in the wealth which we have gained through proper means. This again requires righteousness. Righteously earned wealth can also be put to unrighteous use and will consequently lead to troubles and unrest. True worldly happiness is attained by following righteousness and by using it to earn as well as to spend our worldly resources.
If carefully followed through, worldly happiness becomes the stepping stone for Absolute Happiness. We pray to God to lead us eventually from righteous materialistic joy to the Ultimate Bliss which is found only in renunciation and consequently salvation (moksh).
Thus, by requesting for all the ingredients of a healthy, happy and wholesome life – Righteousness, Righteously earned Wealth, Righteous Indulgence and Salvation – we pray to our benevolent Almighty for showers of joy from all sides. Indeed, it is said, prayers go up and blessings come down!
Shanno Devi Abheeshtaya
Aapo Bhavantu Peetaye
Shanyo Abhisravantu Nah!