Friday, May 15, 2009

In search of happiness

I will burden you with one more of my old piece.I assure you this is not a sad story but talks of happiness. I will come up with new stories in a couple of days.
When I dropped in one afternoon, I saw my cousin happily reclined in a sofa before a wide TV with one arm around his wife and enjoying a serial. He had a nice flat and a lucrative job with his charming wife also earning as much. They looked a perfect picture of contentment and happiness. After the initial pleasantries, I asked him the hal of everything on his side. His wife had gone inside to make some tea. He pulled a long face and said that he wished God had been kind to him. It was five years since he was married and his wife wanted a baby very much. This set me thinking happiness is not in good earnings or an attractive wife or in owning a posh house or enjoying the comforts of life. It is something more. It varied from individual to individual.
I asked our maid servant one day when she was crying what would make her happy and free from all worries. I was expecting her to tell a big increase in her salary, a one roomed tenement with toilet inside and with an exclusive water tap or some such mundane things. Instead she said she would be happiest if her husband returned from work without taking alcohol and talked to her affectionately instead of the daily beatings from the inebriated man.
My elderly neighbour, a kindly and timid soul was being tortured mentally by a shrew and termagant for wife. She broke his confidence and made him a diffident blundering nervous wreck. The irony is he held high official position before retirement and was regarded well in his circle. He was one day confiding that he would be happiest if the God were to give him deliverance from her by taking him.
What is happiness? Will ten crore rupees give one permanent joy? Are material comforts to be equated to happiness? Possibly none of these. Is the quest for happiness always successful? Happiness is just an emotion like anger, sorrow or depression. It keeps changing from time to time. A small child is happy with a new toy for a few minutes. It soon gets tired of it, throws away and starts crying. Adults too are no different. Happiness is like a mirage always within your sight but never realized permanently.
Happiness again is not related to the character of the individuals. We see wicked men seemingly happy and good men passing though pangs of pain and suffering. I have no explanation for this strange fact except trusting in the law of karma.
Spiritual people talk of divine happiness that realized souls enjoy. I have no experience of it. I think instead of looking for happiness, we should look for contentment. It does not mean we should not attempt to improve our lives. While making an honest endeavour, we should learn to be content with what we have and not aspire for a distant rainbow only to lose the present peace of mind. Real happiness would appear as being satisfied with the results of our efforts without craving for more. It is a state of mind to be cultivated where one would be thankful to the god for his blessings and accepting the difficulties with equanimity wherever it is not possible to remove them. Otherwise how would you explain the restlessness of the very rich to acquire more and the contentment writ large on the face of a cobbler under a shaded tree? Happiness is not elsewhere. It is in your mind.
A sage found a man on hands and knees. He asked him what he was searching for. The man said he was searching for his keys. So the sage too got on his knees to search. After a while the sage asked whether he was sure he lost it there. The man replied that he lost it at home. When asked why he was searching there, he replied he was searching because there was more light there. The lesson in this story is for us to search for happiness where we lost it.


  1. Nice one. Thanks. In itself, there is nothing wrong in writing a sad story because, sorrow is very much a part of life.

    What is important is that the message conveyed should be positive, whether the story is a sad one or a happy one.

    After reading a story, or poem or an article, the reader should be able to appreciate life better or be able to deal with some pain he is facing. That makes a written work successful, in my opinion.

    Best wishes, Parthasarathi. I hope you will soon start writing again.

  2. This is something that my mind dwells on these days and your post came for me at the right time.I have these few questions that i have been searching the answer for some time.
    Why does the world respect only the richest man and not the happiest man?Is not contentment a deterrent for success?I feel sometimes guilty of not pushing myself to the next level taking comfort of the thought that i am happy where i am.Doesn't success stop where contentment begins?Is not the discontent that keeps the successful going and make them more successful?Does that mean that successful people are not happy if we think happiness comes with contentment?
    I have lot of questions that pops in my head every now and then about success and happiness and this post just came up at one such juncture.
    It might be your old piece but it definitely came to me in a new bottle :)

  3. This .. is one of your best posts I have read.. It makes one think.. learn and understand.. there is not a single word or line which can be ommitted..

    I wish you happiness.. always.. n always.. n always..

  4. Happiness, thats a theme which seems new everytime you touch upon it, coz the definition of happiness keeps changing as we travel throu the many chapters of life. Therefore its not an old post, those who have read it before can relate to it again, but this time it might be done differently. Thanks for the revitalizingly happy post:)

  5. I think human nature is greedy.We are never satisfied with what we have n always wants more..I also think we should appreciate what we have n try to find happiness in small things..cuz these are the things will teach you n inspire you for not taking granted anything with what you have are so right about one thing that it is an emotion n it's only in your brain but it also involve your heart too!Nice blog..keep it up.

  6. Very nice read. We always search for happiness in thing we don't have. We negelect to find it in things we already have.

  7. what is happiness? or what gives happiness .. i think we can go on debating on this ...

    contentment or happiness or whatever word we use, i think, what matters is how we feel about it all and how others feel in our company ...

    nice post ...
    not your usal story thing, but a deeper one making us think for long....

  8. i especially like the last story of the sage,
    In our quest to be and find what we dont have, we often forgo the "present", which as correctly as it sounds is truly a present :)

  9. Happiness is a state of mind... If we try to minimise our expectations and be contended with our lot, we could be happy indeed.. If we live in the present rather than in the past or in the future, we will be happy indeed...

    Nice post on a very important question that bothers all mankind...



  10. nice post indeed..i cmpletely agree on ur take on happiness..
    n u kno wot i read it in one go..yippeee..!!!

  11. KP this is so true... Happiness is a state of mind and each one of us craves for something different! Thanks for sharing this link with me.