Goodness is the inner side of spiritual merit
While it goodness is a conscious process, it is still a binding force. It can be compared to breathing. Most people breathe badly, but they can be taught to breathe with the whole lung. For a time the correct breathing has to be practised consciously, and to some extent this means taking the attention away from normal activity. But when it is established, it is forgotten. The benefits in the form of improved health and vigour continue, but the process is natural.
In the same way, goodness has to be practised, but when it is largely established, the awareness ‘I am trying to do good’ drops away. The personal happiness which accompanies goodness is an unrecognized binding force: Dr. Shastri sometimes warned, ‘It is not enough to be nice, kindly, good people.’
Goodness is followed by a measure of happiness, but this is never complete; it is periodically harassed by the forces of rajas, passion-struggle. In fact the happiness that the world can give is only temporary, and is not much more than a lessening of the foreground of suffering, while the background remains in the distance.