One of my colleagues gave me an article called “Happy Like God” written by Simon Critchley, a teacher of philosophy in "The New School", New York, where instead of giving his opinion about happiness, he has heavily quoted the 18th century Swiss born philosopher Jean- Jacques Rousseau.
Therefore, I thought to express my view point about happiness and actually what this noun means to me.
Happiness is not a rational term which can be expressed objectively. Subjectively, it may differ from person to person depending upon mood and the thought process at the time of feeling this abject term.
In order to find the true cause of happiness, I will like to split happiness in two parts viz. temporary happiness and permanent happiness. I will also like to investigate what causes happiness and whether those causes of happiness are permanent or momentary. If it is momentary, then we will keep going back to the state of being not happy or sad, and if it is permanent then there is no point in having a debate on the subject; because the permanently happy person has understood the meaning of life and has gone closer to God where he or she does not need any explanations.
Further, the term happiness depends upon the biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical state of the mind. It is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure or joy. In addition to this, one’s perspective on the definition of happiness also contributes to the quality of their lives. Therefore the state of happiness changes with change in one’s perspective. Due to temperamental connotations, the cause of happiness may be excessive in some cases and subdued in other cases. The positive or negative state of mind also depends upon the socio-economic status, marital status, financial status, health, sex and other situations. The state of happiness also depends upon the person’s extrovert or introvert nature.
A person’s age is also a major factor in determining the state of happiness. Young adults are reported to have more anger, anxiety, and depression due to study-related stress, career stress, financial stress, and stress due to troubled relationships.
The economy of a country and happiness are also closely correlated. On average, richer nations tend to be happier than poorer nations, but this effect seems to diminish with wealth. Apparently, economic freedom correlates strongly with happiness. Thus, in general terms, happiness is characteristic of a good life, that is, a life in which a person executes human nature in an excellent way.
With all said and done, I have seen many unhappy people in spite of social, economic or personal successes. Mundane forms of happiness such as health, wealth and success are not enough to keep them happy all the time. It is the nature of humans to crave for more or something different than what they have already achieved. The intrinsic value of all achievements becomes zero once obtained and in order to get more or something different, they remain unhappy and this never ending cycle continues.
Therefore, ultimate happiness is only achieved by overcoming cravings of all kinds. They can be overcome only by practicing personal discipline, high moral & ethical standards, sacrifice and renunciation. Thus, establishing happiness as beyond material and emotional possession is attainable only through an attentive practice which can extinguish cravings and aversions. I do not mean that by practicing renunciation one is supposed to give up the world and become a monk. Becoming a monk may be the simplest answer, but it is not necessary that all monks will overcome desires such as the power to be recognized as respectable or being a popular monk with some kind of position. One can be happy and may remain in bliss by practicing detachment while living like a normal householder. Detachment means to enjoy the materialistic world but to not get stuck into it like “a bee in the honey pot” and die with pain, sorrow, suffering, and helplessness.
Alternatively, 'Bhakti Yoga' (unwavering devotion to God) is another way to be happy and remain in permanent bliss and yet live a life of a normal householder. I have seen many people reading, listening, quoting, or talking about Bhakti Yoga, but very few have actually practiced it in their lives. Therefore, at times they are happy but most of the time they are consumed with desires or burning in the fire of ego or “I”.
In my upcoming blog posts, I will write about Bhakti Yoga. It will contain my personal experiences and not the quotes from any spiritual book. It will include ways one can use to overcome all obstacles in life and can change the entire course of his or her life positively with the sense of calmness and tranquility. In order to substantiate my beliefs about happiness, I have tried to express my feelings in the form of a poem which is as follows:
(composed on August 10th,2010)
Our brain is the most complicated structure
It is the reservoir of an emotional feelings without stricture
Sometimes it gives immense pleasure and happiness
And sometimes emotional breakdown with immense sadness
Sometimes small events can make our mood high
Or can make our mood low and dry
At times money, power, or position makes us happy
And sometimes the same things make our mood frustrated and crappy
Sometimes we are happy in the midst of nature and good company
And sometimes they make us lonely or make our mood funny
No materialistic pleasure can ever be sufficient
Nor the health, wealth, or the mental coefficient
There is no permanent solution to happiness
It never stays the same with steadfastness
But there is one solution to the peacefulness of mind
This will give the everlasting bliss of its kind
One will have to surrender completely to God
And tune his or her mind to the almighty with an iron rod
Without craving or expectations of any kind
Making us humble unwavering and defined
If we are true and faithful to ourselves
Inner peace and harmony will set in themselves
This will provide the tranquility and the calmness
That is the secret of everlasting happiness.
(Copyright © 2010)
Please write your comments and present your views to be shared by all.
Suman Saran Sinha