- Happiness, object of all human beings
- Wrong notion of happiness
- Role of wealth
- Difference between pleasure and happiness
- Our endless desires
- Good health, essential for happiness
- Reciprocal process
We all want to be happy. Everybody wants to possess happiness. It is the aim and object of all human activities. Man’s quest for happiness has been there since times immemorial. But very few people possess it. Different people have different ideas and concepts about happiness. Most of the people are really ignorant about the nature of happiness and the ways by which it can be obtained. What is then happiness? How can it be achieved? Is it a reality or an illusion? How do happy people live, feel and behave? These are some of the basic questions often asked.
Many people mistakenly take pleasure for happiness and are mad after them. They run after pleasures and are ready to make any sacrifice to obtain them. For these people pleasure is the other name of happiness. But they are in illusion. Pleasures seek more pleasures and enjoyment, which ultimately lead to dissatisfaction, a mad rush for materialistic possessions and a sadless and cutthroat competition. Means of pleasure, convenience, luxury, comforts etc. cannot make a man happy. In that case the kings, princes, business tycoons, the rich and the wealthy of the world would have been the happiest persons. But the reality is quite different. People often grow rich by dishonest means. They deceive others, adopt dishonest means and resort to such other means, which are immoral, unfair and anti-social. Then, how can they be happy? They are always afraid of income tax raids of becoming poor and losing their wealth. Then why this saying, “Unhappy. lies the head that wears a crown.”
Wealth is just a means and not an end in itself. But people have started regarding money and wealth as an end. Money can buy things, comforts, convenience and services of other but never health, character or happiness. It is a mistaken idea that riches and wealth is a passport to happiness. Only the ignorant think that prosperous people are happy. On the contrary the rich are miserable. They are most careworn people and do not enjoy peace of mind, rest, sleep and contentment. There is no end to a wealthy person’s greed. He always wants more and more and it makes him most unhappy and misery.
No doubt poverty is a curse. The poor are always exploited. They become victims of many evils like telling.lie, dishonesty, slavery, flattery and antisocial activities. Money is essential for a good and honest life or else one will have to beg or steal. It is said and rightly so that “Money makes a mare go.” But money has purchasing power only and happiness cannot be purchased. Money stops too short to reach happiness. Money often turns people dishonest, corrupt and immoral because money is the root of all evils. No doubt if money goes before, all ways lie open. But more often than not it opens the gates of evil, hell and unhappiness. Money is like a muck, which taints everybody. It is very difficult to earn and manage money honestly and remain contented. Mõney is a good servant but a bad master but very soon it usurps the position of the master and the master becomes a slave and servant. Money cannot be relied upon to be a source of real happiness.
Pleasures are momentary and short lived. They are just like bubbles of water. They arise out of the satisfaction and gratification of the senses. Thus, pleasures are common to both men and animals. They should not be mistaken with happiness.
It is our endless desires, which are at the root of our misery and unhappiness. The fewer our desires, the better we are. Desires and hectic activity to satisfy them make our life miserable. Then we become slaves of our senses and their satisfaction becomes our main objective in life. Possession of things leads to greed, jealousy and troubles. Contentment, peace, meaningful life and devotion to God are essential elements of happiness. Simple life and high thinking should be our motto. We are what we think and do. Our thoughts should be good, moral and according to the teachings of the great men. And so should be our acts and conduct. Renunciation is the sure way to happiness. Renunciation of worldly possessions is essential for happiness. Life full of prayer and good thoughts help us a lot in being happy, peaceful and contented.
Good health is also essential for happiness. Good physical health is second to good moral character in importance. A sick, diseased and weak person cannot be happy because it is in the unhealthy mind lives. It is said that if character is lost everything is lost. If health is lost something is lost. And if wealth is lost nothing is lost. One has to be industrious and active to be happy. Idle man can never be happy. Whatever one’s profession or work may be, one must perform it dutifully, honestly and with dedication and interest. One should discharge one’s social, family and personal obligations with enthusiasm for work is worship. Work is a great boon and blessing and must be done willingly and in the best possible way.
It is said that we receive what we give. We cannot be happy if we don’t share it with others. Happiness increases by sharing it with others. A happy person is one who believes in giving and sharing. Sharing them with friends, neighbours and relations reduces sorrows and sufferings. The ancient Indian idea of “Vasudheva Kutumbkam” is very significant in this context, which simply means that the whole world is our family and we are all brothers. Not only this, even birds and beasts are our friends and relations. We should realize the essential unity of life and practise it. Compassion, forgiveness, kindness, non-violence in word and action etc. are the essential elements of happiness. A life, how long and rich, cannot be happy without these basic units. Be always useful to the family, society and the nation to be happy. Never lose your usefulness and sense of service to others. Service is a great purifier and ennobling agent. We should follow the teachings of great men and women. For example, Abdul Sattar Edhi and Mother Teresa have been two matchless examples of selfless service and devotion to humanity. We should take inspiration from their life and work.