Sukha, Dhukha & Ānanda

Sukha/Sukham and Dukha/Dukham are things that we experience and feel, wherein “SU” means good, “KHA” means space. So, what does “space” have to do with happiness? Space and time wherein one experiences happiness are called SUKHA, and space and time where one experiences sadness is DUKHA. The “KHA” (space) is the same in both cases, the first two letters “SU” or “DU” making all the difference. Having said this, let us ask a question. Say we give riches to the poor, can we guarantee sukham? If not, then who can grant that sukham? Who can flip between “DU” and “SU”? Whatever sukha(m) we have today, will and can we continue to retain it moving forward? Where can one find these answers and knowledge? To share this tatva, Sri Shankara, as a Guru, composed Kanakadhara requesting Sri Lakshmi to grant sukha(m), not just to the brahmin family, but to all who read and cherish the legacy of Kanakadhara. In one sloka Parama Shiva is explained as:

“Nama Shiva-Abhayam ashuPaapa-habayam”
“నమ శివాభ్యం అశుపాప హ్యాభ్యం”
“नम-शिवाब्यां आशुपापा हाबयां”

Meaning, one who can reduce the intensity of all ill that is about to happen to us. He is the one to flip DU to SU.

Ananda(m) is another concept explained by Sanatana Dharma literature, wherein Ānandam closely refers to joy but is not the same as Sukha. Sukha, as discussed, is an experience that is evaluated by a being as joy, and has a counterpart called Dukha. Ananda, on the other hand, doesn’t have a counterpart because Ānandam is not an experience evaluated on the basis of like vs dislike (raaga/dwesha). Ānandam is that aspect of Chita (unblemished awareness) which results from realization and not from material acquisition or desires associated with pride and self identity. Krishna Yajur Veda (Ānandavalli) explains the various levels of Ananda depending on the beings. They are:
Manushya Ananda (Human),
Gandharva Ananda,
Deva Gandharva Ananda,
Pitru Devata Ananda,
Ajanadanam Devata Ananda,
Karma Devata Ananda,
Indradi Devata Ananada,
Bruhaspati Ananda,
Prajapati Ananda and, finally,

Śrī Śankaracharya, in Nirvana Shatakam, addresses Śiva as cit:ānanda:rūpa – meaning the essence of ānanda (supreme bliss) in Cit (Supreme Infinite Consciousness). If Śiva is cit:ānanda then His forever companion Uma is cit:Śakti. Unlike sukha (happiness), which has a polar opposite called dukha (sadness), ānanda has no polar opposite, meaning it is a forever-state devoid of any polarity, irrespective of cit:Śakti being in action or repose (rest). Hence Śiva says to Uma: “I am the sea and you the wave, You are Prakṛti, and I Puruṣa“. This beautiful reference to Śiva/Śivā being both the wave and still water, both the hasty/active/rapid and yet calm and auspicious is described in Sukla Yajur Vedā Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā 16.31. Hence, the Rishis ask Rudra to bestow that Ānandam.

Vedic derivatives for Ānandam:
Mayaḥ = bestower of ananda/bliss RV1.114
śam-yoḥ sumnam = bliss/ānandamRV1.43
Soma: is the lord of the immortalizing nectar, he is the god of Ananda, the divine bliss which belongs to the Amrita or divine nature of Sacchidananda and is its foundation.

Now that we have an understanding of what Sukha and Dhukha are, How and what causes one to get Sukha or Dhukha ? This can be understood through the concepts of Punya & Paapa.                                                                         (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.5-6)


Sri Chaganti Koteshwar Rao (Orator). (n.d.). Kanaka Dhara Stotram [Audio Part 1-19, Recorded by]. Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. Retrieved from