What is a happy life? Every one speaks of it, but few know it. We all chose this fickle phantom in a thousand shapes. And yet we remember what a Greek philosopher said: ‘No man should be called happy till he is dead and buried.’ According to many philosophers “life is merely froth and bubble,’ and perfect happiness is not to be found anywhere. Tliat may be the cynic’s way of looking at things. Happiness is the end of human life; its pursuit is almost universal.
Our notions of happiness are different, and sometimes even contradictory. Some find joy in amassing wealth, but others genuinely feel that treasures cannot make us happy.
Hos Some think that happiness is an outward condition and some : external factors such as money, health, work, friendship and virtue are the essential ingredients of an ideally happy life. There is no disputing this observation. Those who think that riches alone bring happiness should care to learn the story of King Midas whose increasing treasure only made him more and more miserable, and ultimately caused his undoing. In life money makes the mare go and gives one a sense of independence, but many poor men manage to keep happy. Many think that happiness lies in health alone, but although health is one important source of happiness, it would be wrong to think that it is the only one. Many a strong, healthy man is found to be unhappy. Another. source of happiness in life is work coupled with play, ‘Blessed is he who has found his work. Let him ask for no other blessedness’ is the exaggeration of a truth. Idleness is the bane both of body as well as mind. Happiness and work go together. Life is not a stagnant pool and our interests should be as wide and varied as possible. We should not forget what the poet says,
What is this life, if full of care
We have no time to stand and stare?
The supreme joy of life lies in mingling work with play
[the_ad id=”17141″]But happiness is as much an inner condition as an outward, external conditon. All the things enumerated above may be there and yet happiness may tantalize us elude our grasp. That is because man is not all matter or flesh; he is spirit too; his ‘soul-hunger’ must be. appeased-spiritual life cannot be neglected. That is one of the dilemmas of the modern civilisation which pampers the body but starves the soul. We have within our reach comforts and luxuries undreamed of the former generations. Yet, the modern man is far from being perfectly happy.
If solid happiness we prize,
Within our breast this jewel lies
And they are fools who roam
The world has nothing to bestow
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From our own selves, our bliss must flow. According to our poet, therefore, true happiness lies within, it per consists in tranquility of mind, in the cultivation of that elusive some thing called perpetual serenity, It lies neither in having a multitude of desires nor in their attainment. We look before and after and pine for what is not. The secret of happiness lies in cutting down our wants to the barest minimum, in having as few of them as possible. How acutely does Goldsmith say
Vain, very vain, my weary search to find
That bliss which only centres in the mind.
Again we must not forget that a good deal of happiness lies in unselfishness, in kindness to others, in silent godliness and in self-devotion, in the cultivation of ‘the spirit that gives itself for others.” To be happy one must not live for himself alone. A really happy man lives for others and hears “the sad, still music of humanity.’ His religion is the religion of humanity.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
Both man and bird and beast.
Cosmic sympathy is the birth of his being.
Lastly, we should not forget that one important secret of happiness is renunciation. ‘Happiness is neither within us nor without us; it is the Union of ourselves with God’; it lies in calm contemplation of the Divine, in constant pursuit of wisdom through self-realization, because.
Self-knowledge, self-reverence and self-control
These three alone lead life to sovereign power.
One may not, however, become a reduce; the monastic ideal is not for everyone to choose. One can live in the world and yet remain out of it.