Quest for Happiness in This Material World

Happiness is a state of mind when impossible things seems possible. The approach may seem unrealistic but it’s true. When we are immensely sad, if we are told to do something. We tend to say that it’s not my cup of tea. Probably, most of you have noticed this. This is nothing but state of duality that creeps in.

State of Duality refers to the state of mind when we have to take decisions like good over bad, advantageous over disadvantageous etc. For instance, when we are given an opportunity to work in our dream company with an additional condition that we must work for 10 hours per day, without fail. The initial thoughts that comes to our mind is commonly the state of duality. Hope it makes sense!

In this material world, the definition of happiness is totally different. It’s related to fulfilling needs and desires in all levels. The levels can be mental, physical and spiritual depending on individuals. Mental happiness is achieved by an individual by doing away with stress, anxiety and depression. Physical happiness is achieved by an individual by fulfilling bodily demands and needs, by doing away with pain, disease, old-age. Spiritual happiness is achieved by an individual by associating with Lord and serving others.

According to Bhagavad Gita, there are three kinds of happiness namely Sattwic happiness, Rajasic happiness and Tamasic happiness. “That which in the beginning is like poison but in the end like nectar; that happiness, born from the tranquility of one’s own mind, is declared to be sattwic.” For instance, in the beginning it is normal sometimes for spiritual practice to be boring but at the end, it will be happiness and ease. It appears to be as poison to the ones who are bound in ignorance. “That which in the beginning, through contact between the senses and their objects, is like nectar, and in the end like poison; that happiness is declared to be rajasic.” “That happiness which both in the beginning and afterwards deludes the self, arising from sleep, indolence, and negligence, is declared to be tamasic.”

Diving deep into the book of life i.e. Bhagavad Gita, makes it clear that human beings search for happiness without knowing the actual meaning of it. Some feel that having their desires fulfilled, they get happiness. Some feel that having their needs accomplished, they get happiness. On the other hand, some feel having their dreams transform into reality, they get happiness. So, we can see that depending on situations and circumstances, the significance of happiness changes.

The major problems of this material world are birth, disease, old-age and death. Doing away from this cycle of birth and re-birth gives true happiness, if seen from a broader perspective.

In this material world, people tend to get happiness from temporary things. For instance, addictions are temporary pleasures that give happiness. It is an act that helps one to bypass reality. I heard people saying, “Smoking cigarette/having alcohol helps me to overcome stress, pain and work load.” This expression proves that how ignorant, we are. We are trying to avoid hardships in life and get happiness directly, which is not at all possible in real world.

How can we get happiness?

The solution is quite simple and straight-forward. We can get happiness by understanding the goal of our life. If we set a goal in our life and work accordingly to achieve it, then we will get happiness for sure after achieving it. So, our primary solution is to set a proper goal in our life and sticking to it firmly.

The secondary solution is to search for the absolute truth. We tend to remain in state of darkness if we don’t have absolute knowledge. But if we know the truth that is not temporary rather permanent, then we tend to get happiness from it. If our source of happiness is eternal, then our existence also tends to be eternal. Our body is made up of two parts namely gross body and subtle body. Gross body is made up of air, water, earth, ether and fire. The five elements that surrounds us. Soul or satchitananda is covered with subtle body which in turn is covered by gross body. The characteristics of soul are:

a. Eternal (sat).

b. Thinking, Feeling and Willing (chit).

c. Happiness (ananda).

The evidence of subtle body and soul can be found in the Vedic Scriptures. It is clearly mentioned in the scriptures that it is the nature of soul to search for happiness. The harm is not in searching for happiness. But due to our ignorance, we tend to mislead and find alternate ways to happiness which poses threat and destroy us. So, we should run after finding the absolute truth by our own or read the Vedic Scriptures.

Spirituality is the path of true happiness. The term spirit means “animating or vital principle in man and animals.” The study of the spirit soul is termed as spirituality. Human beings are social animals who are driven to circumstances that lead to happiness. In the quest for happiness, we reach at the peak of our realisation. That realisation is boundless and permanent. One who attains that state of mind, is commonly termed as Yogi.

Happiness cannot be attained with the mode of attachment. To be clear, it is pointless to attach ourselves to some object, somebody or something. We should always keep in our mind that all are transitory except the Lord. Whenever we try to bind ourselves to temporary shells, we also tend to become temporary. Body is mortal while soul is immortal. If we have get attached to worldly dispositions, we cannot be happy ever. For instance, the rate of suicide at teenage increased a lot due to this mode of attachment. They tend to get frustrated with life when their loved ones specially boyfriend/girlfriend leave them. They feel that it is the end of world and they won’t get happiness from elsewhere. So, they tend to end their lives. Love and happiness are the basic needs for all. When they don’t have proper knowledge, these basic needs become their basic demands which is more compulsive in nature.

People in this material world are not happy at all. They appear or act to be happy. The reason behind unhappiness is quite simple. They run after things that don’t last longer. We all know that success and failures are two sides of a same coin. In the same way, happiness and distress go side-by-side. The nature of our mind is to get success in everything we do. It’s not possible to be successful all the time. But we tend to forget that and commit unpleasant acts.

In the scriptures, it is clearly mentioned that we are not the body instead we are spirit souls. If we understand this basic principle, then we will never be sad in our life. As stated earlier, the nature of soul is to enjoy and be happy. We, human beings think that we are supreme and all but we can’t even resist a cut in finger. We run to a medical shop and consult doctor. To be more practical, we can’t even control the rate of flow of thoughts in our mind. In a single day, we have 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts. We can’t even control our anger, fear, action, what to speak about being happy. The day, people will know their insignificance in comparison to Supreme Being, that day will be the day to rejoice and set free.

Poor people is poor because he is not having money and basic civic amenities. If I provide them with money and basic amenities, will they be happy? Please ask this question to yourself. I think that they won’t be happy and content with it. Many people may not agree with me in this point. But think of people who are rich enough, are they happy and content with their life?

The only way to give happiness is by teaching them the rules of life as per the scriptures. If we lead a life centered around Lord (i.e. principles), we will be the happiest person in the world.

“The non-permanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” ~ The Bhagavad Gita.

Reference: Bhagavad Gita by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

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