What is Happiness?
Happiness refers to the mental state of emotional well-being such as:
feeling pleasurable, cheerful, and joyful,
being contended and satisfied,
being joyful delighted, and
being of being in high-spirit.
Happiness according to Indian scriptures
Different person attains the state of happiness by different modes. Hence, they follow different paths to achieve happiness.
The Indian scriptures and sages say that the true happiness lies in renunciation, not in acquisition. Mundane and transitory pleasures, comforts and wealth are the impediments that take one away from the goal of happiness. The Indian heritage defines man as the son of God who is sent into this world to fulfill a mission.
This mission does not allow him to think of personal happiness or well being. His dedicated soul cannot even think of rest before reaching his destination and attaining his goal. On his way to this goal he may have to suffer pain and agonizing experiences, but he overcomes all these and is rewarded with the bliss in heaven.
Man’s quest for happiness
But whatever might be said by our sages or written in our scriptures, man has always been found anxious to acquire personal happiness and mundane glory. Though he is baffled and buffeted his quest for happiness and physical well-being does never end, not is he ever tired of exploring newer avenues. He does not seem to agree with the sages of the past and the wise of the present when they preach that more one suffers in this world the surer would be his chance of enjoying happiness in the other world. He appears to be more eager for happiness and pleasures and prosperity in this world. Instead of waiting for peace of the grave he is more interested in the transitory happiness of life.
Can Money buy happiness?
But in the ever-expanding world life grows more complex every day, while numerous odds keep happiness away from this life. Perhaps, torn by the conflicts and doubts, we do not have an idea about what we want to be happy.
One really wonders what happiness is or where does it lie. Does it lie in wealth, affluence, fame and power?
But when we look around us we find the wealthy, affluent, distinguished and the rulers rather miserable – their discontent and worries growing with each passing day. On the other hand, the beggars in the street are found happily singing the glory of life and sleeping in peace in spite of their penury. Such comparisons show life as enigmas, and happiness remains a riddle that refuses to be resolved. Thus, Money can’t buy happiness.
Often we find that happiness differs in degrees, and it is quite relative – not absolute. One is content with very little, like the cobbler who works the whole day, earns little and still happy enough to sing and sleep in peace. But the other, very rich, is simple born to be unhappy, his discontent robbing him of his sleep and peace of mind. Even when he has succeeded in plucking the moon his insatiable desire for plucking the sun keep haunting him in his sleep. It is a sort of malaise that stands in the way of his attaining the goal of happiness.
Happiness is a state of mind and a realization
Prince Siddharth would not be happy in spite of all his wealth and comfort, because the world beyond the palace was so miserable – afflicted with disease and death, decrepitude and suffering. He vowed to secure happiness for all and salvage the world from the unenviable, unhappy state. His realization was the realization of a social being who desired to be happy in the happiness of the society. All of us cannot hope to attain the height of Buddha, but we can stop straying away from the mainstream and trying to be happy at the cost of or in isolation from others. Happiness is a state of mind and a realization. It broadens up one’s vision and enlarges the world in which all interests merge and all individuals feel equally exalted, completing the emotional identification with one another in the process.