I D Soni
The Meaning of Happiness:-
In this broken world, we are all seeking happiness, if we could but understand that happiness is an experience which transcends externality. True happiness is not touched by external events.
(i) He is happy, who sees God! God-vision is emphasised by Rishis of the Upanishads. To see God is to be truly happy.
(ii) To see God is to accept the Divine Will. We become unhappy by following the path of desires. Nations are not happy because they are dominated by desires, of parties or dictators.
(iii) These desires constitute what the Gita calls dvandas or pairs of opposites. To be happy we must rise above these pairs – pleasure and pain, prosperity and poverty, praise and blame, life and death. These “pairs” are the world’s values. Rise above the world’s applause and censure if we really want to be truly happy.
(iv) God-vision is realisation. Rise the dvandas and realise our unity with the universe. It is the sense of separateness which makes us unhappy. Let the abheda – buddhi go! Develop the bheda – buddhi, the consciousness of unity with the cosmos! Separation means “tension” and “tension” brings unhappiness.
(v) If we are living in contentment, then only we can be happy. But if we are discontented with what we have achieved, we are bound to live in a state of un-happiness. If we become aware of this fact, we will easily be able to fulfil our ambitions and instantly achieve happiness. Happiness is an internal phenomenon; it is not an external achievement.
(vi) When we “separate” ourselves from “others” we feel “isolated”. Let us be one with Nature – and we will be happy. Modern civilisation is aggressive and develops “superiority complex”, which makes one feel “isolated”. All isolation is unhappiness.
(vii) Let us try each day to realise our unity with the human and the animal, our kinship with the plant and the rock. The sun and the moon and the stars, the earth, the water, the wind and the fire and the sky are not aliens. We belong to them they belong to us. Let us enter into unity with them.
(viii) Therefore, we should try to go into silence everyday. One of the “disciplines” to achieve happiness is silence. In periods of silence, we develop the sense of wonder. Wonder is the beginning of knowledge, and wisdom ends in wonder. In periods of silence we feel that we live and move in mystery. And coming out of silence we work in love. Our life becomes a procession of love.
In loving dedication of all we have and all we are to the service of Love is the secret of the happiness which the world cannot give and cannot take away.
WHERE ARE WE SEEKING HAPPINESS?
In the measure in which we make others happy, in that measure – and many times over – happiness travels to us. “Why are we here”? asked a boy of his mother. The mother answered: “To help others”. “What are the others here for”? asked the boy. The mother had no answer.
How true it is that we are here to help others. And the others – especially those that are in need, in suffering and pain – are here so that we may extend to them our helping hand. In doing so we pay off – in some measure – the debt we carry on account of the blessings we receive from God and the surrounding world. When we look around us, we see that the world is sad, is broken, is torn with tragedy and smitten with suffering. Living in such a world, we must share the good things of life with those in need.
Today, we find – especially in cities – we are becoming more and more indifferent to the needs of those around us. “It is none of our business”! we exclaim. The opposite of love is not hate: it is apathy, in difference.
Let us, therefore, do all we can to help others, to give happiness to as many as we can. The happiness we give to others comes back to us. Such is the law! It is commonly believed that we can rise only by putting others down. But the Law states: “Lift, that ye may be lifted.
The Bhagavad Gita declares lokasangraha – welfare of the people – as part of every man’s duty. The day on which we have not helped a brother here, a sister there, a bird here, an animal there – for birds and animals are also our brothers and sisters in the one family of creation – to lift the load on the rough road of life is a lost day, in deed. On the road of life, we meet many who carry heavy loads: and the loads are not merely physical. There are many who carry loads of fear, worry, anxiety, depression, guilt-feelings on their minds. Let us do all we can to lighten the loads.
How true! Everything we have – our time and talents, our education and influence, our wealth and possessions, our health and strength, life itself – is a loan given to us to be passed on to those whose need is greater than ours. In the measure in which we make others happy, in that measure – and many times over – happiness travels to us.
It has been truly said that we pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that we can do, or any kindness that we can show to a fellow being, let us do it now. Let us not defer it or neglect it, for we may not pass this way again.
THE HAPPINESS OF GIVING:-
If we dam up a river, it stagnates. Running water is beautiful water. So be a channel. If anything comes, pass it on. Don’t cling to it. If we are not selfish, we can never be restless. Nobody can upset us, nobody can disturb us. No selfish person can ever find peace, and selfless person can ever be irritated, upset or disturbed.
Enjoy the happiness of giving. Don’t disturb it by expecting anything, even thanks. If we don’t receive thanks, we lose the happiness of having given. And who is the cause of our disturbance? We. When we act, if we have a personal motive or if we expect a reward, we build up a tension even before we start. There is expectation and anxiety.
If we do something for God’s sake, for the benefit of humanity in His name, without the least personal expectation, it becomes karma yoga. The benefit might come, but we don’t expect it. There is no personal motivation. In karma yoga, we are free from the results, either pleasure or pain, virtue or demerit. But if our want is not for our sake, we do not worry about the result. It is not our profit or loss. Eliminate selfishness from our life. The minute we decide to lead a selfless life, eternal happiness is ours.
Let us, therefore, do everything in the Name of God and nothing will affect us. Say, “Let me not use the will I have been given to carry unnecessary burdens. Let me use my will to realise His will”. Then we become a beautiful instrument in the hands of the Lord. The light, the flame; reflects through our chimney (mind). If the chimney (mind) is coloured and crooked, we get coloured and distorted light. So make the chimney (mind) clean and free from all colour. Once the chimney is made crystal clear, we see the inner light shining – a true happiness coming by giving.
THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS:-
There is a story told of un-concerning three men. They were in quest of happiness. Where is happiness? They asked. What is the secret of happiness? How may man have the true joy of life?
The first man felt that happiness abided in pleasure. He pursued a life of pleasure. He was wealthy man. He built for himself a wonderful palace and filled it with treasures of art. He met the world’s prettiest women, and the pleasure – seeking luxury of his home became a legend.
The second one having got huge sum after the death of his father, took to a life of luxury and softness. He gambled: he speculated: he ran after women: he took to wine. Within three years all his money was spent through. He incurred debts. He became penniless. Nobody cared to look at him.
The third man avoided the two extremes. He did not embrace pleasure to the exclusion of everything else. He did not cut himself off from the world realising that where there is no battle, there can be no victory. He devoted his life to duty. He gave his love to everyone.
However, true happiness, is not in a life of pleasure. This is the discovery made by the first man. He discovered that within every pleasure was a seed of pain, that life given to mere pursuit of pleasure was full of boredom. He felt his life was empty to the core.
The second man realised that pleasure and comforts were transient, ephemeral, transitory. Pleasure and comforts are like bubbles that burst. It is an illusion, and it is unsatisfying. There is no happiness in having wealth, positon, status, etc.
The third man loved God and he loved every child of God. He loved also trees and flowers, rivers and rocks and streams. He loved birds and animals, ants and insects. And he had the true joy of life. He made the great discovery that when our heart is full of love, our life is full of joy and happiness. He lived a truly happy man. The secret of happiness, therefore, lies in devoting our lives to a noble aim, a great ideal.
I D Soni