Aug 11, 2010

HAPPINESS

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:

HAPPINESS
(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

9 comments:

Vrishali said...

Hey Dad,

I agree with you. Happiness does not always come from material pleasures. However, with your explanation, some people may question whether atheists find happiness, as they do not believe in a God. What would your opinion be on that?

I loved your poem. It is very expressive and well written. Keep up the amazing work Pops :)

Love,
Vrishali

Gyan Rajhans said...

Suman Ji:

No doubt, theoretically these are great words. Saint and seers have offered them free. But my suggestion here is that you are different from others. Hence, your success in your attempt will lie, as you say, not in your intellectual agreement with these words, but in telling us your personal experiences. May you be blessed!

Anonymous said...

Mr Suman Saran:
With due respect to you and your views on "happiness",I would like to express my personal views and add that happiness is a state of mind and to reach that level of happiness is not an easy task but certainly achievable.Some people are naturally born happy but for others young and adults they need to search for happiness- a cause or a reason to be happy -not realizing that happiness does not come in a soup bowl.In this context I must say that "even the longest journey begins with a single step" and that life teaches mankind that we do not get happiness by certain external things but we discover it within ourselves.

I beg to differ but you have indicated "temporary happiness" which I would like to term as momentary elevation of mood-just a person would suddenly feel lighter and happier after couple of drinks...yes of course permanent achievement of happiness once again,is a state of mind and it has very little to do with abundance of material possession,love,sex or detachment.It is a state of mind wherein you constantly feel that you are totally aligned with the God and you realize that your soul existence on this earth as a human being is a blessing..."I am he,Blessed spirit,I am he".

I personally feel that if happiness is dependent on certain external or internal factors then it is not happiness and hence cannot be a state of mind.In order for us to attain the level of "state of happiness" is only possible through realization and also by broadening the horizon of the outlook and we all know that human capacity has immense potential and one never knows of it until it is taken to its extreme.

I would like to conclude by thanking you on your wonderful views and also for sharing your wisdom.......the search for happiness is never ending....

Shubhra Sen.

aakanksha said...

hey, suman chacha
That was a good one. I would like to add up a few words to your poem.......its like this:

happiness happiness
the greatest thing that I possess
I want no gold & no more silver
the only thing I want is happiness.......

i completely agree with your views & look forward to hear more from you.
take care.......

manish said...

I think the last four lines of your poem are great way of finding the true happiness...but these are diff cult things to do. We humans are born with ego so it becomes difficult to be true and faithful to ourselves at times.hence the miseries.

Nimesh Bakshi said...

Interesting ......this is one way of defining happiness . More or less I agree with you except on a couple of points. I am not really an atheist but I know a number of people who are atheists and they are very happy as they believe in "Karma" and get heavenly satisfaction and happiness by doing the good work.
Detachment is another complicated thing. People often use this as an escape from the responsibilities that they are accountable for. Buddha may have found eternal happiness but he shunned all his responsibilities and ran away from his family.
For anyone living in this materialistic world the trick to be happy is not in detaching from everyone or shying away from the responsibilities but being able to do following
1) Least expectations from anyone. Not even from his own family members like spouse, parents and kids. It is very important to give everyone his own space and let them live on their own way
2) Being able to "let it go" and move on. Most people are unhappy because they have some kind of grudges against different people. They just can not let the past go and move on.
3)Being able to do things for others. Being able to bring smiles on the faces of other people(family or non-family) and being able to enjoy happiness of other people.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nimesh and Shubhra for your intriguing comments. They are impressive and responding to your comments will be an article in itself. Therefore I will like to keep it short.

First of all, I have never said that an Atheist cannot be a happy person. It is a state of mind which can be attained not only by practicing Bhakti Yoga, but also Karma Yoga and Gyan Yoga which will ultimately overcome cravings of materialistic pleasures and will induce inner satisfaction which is the everlasting happiness. Again this can be practiced by living in this world like a normal human being by believing in oneself(as an Atheist or as a Karma Yogi) or in God with elements of personal discipline, high moral & ethical standards, and sacrifice.

Suman Sinha

Anonymous said...

Suman-ji:
Thanks for sending me your blog. I read every thing in it with interest. There are searching questions raised in different ways by you and others. These questions, in my opinion, have come up in every age and are still unraveling.
Let your blog be a forum where visitors can discuss, share and take some extra steps towards the explanations.
With best greetings and Om Shanti,
Binoy Shanker Prasad
Dundas Ontario Aug 16, 2010

Gyan Rajhans said...

Suman ji:

It just occurred to me that you might not have read any of my 100 posts on my blog. Nina ji is one of my followers. In any case, please read my 2009 post on Gita's Technique of Acquiring happiness: http://gyansrajhans.blogspot.com/2009/08/gitas-technique-of-acquiring-perfect.html

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