Everyone desires happiness. One who doesn’t want it is either a God or a mad man. Though happiness is a universal wish, yet only a few are lucky enough to get it. Different people have different ideas about the ways and means through which they can enjoy it.
As a matter of fact, the meaning of happiness is generally misunderstood. Many people fail to differentiate between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is short lived, while happiness is lasting and permanent. Pleasure is divided through a satisfaction of the desires of the senses, while happiness is a matter of soul.
Different people suggest ways for getting happiness. Some people think that happiness can be had through wealth and worldly possessions. But if this were true, kings and millionaires would be perfectly happy. They would then know no sorrow. But this is contrary to facts. Everybody knows the story of King Midas whom even the Golden touch failed to make happy. Similarity, it is also wrong to think that happiness can be derived through a high position and authority.
A life of peace and contentment is essential for happiness. One should be satisfied with what one has. In the words of Swami Ram Tirth, “Easiest way to the greatest happiness is in the most faithful use of what you possess.”
A man, always worried and always trying to get more, can never be happy. We must always remember the words of the poet, “Happy is the man”, whose wish and care is a, “few parental acres bound”. All religion teachers have emphasized the ideal of a simple life, for such a life alone is conductive to real happiness. We must always try to minimize our wants. Christ, Buddha, Gandhi, all emphasized the importance of voluntary renunciation of worldly wealth as a way to happiness. Indeed, it is only by reducing our wants to zero that we can get perfect happiness. The greater the simplicity of life, the greater the happiness, is a rule universally true.
Among other factors that lead is to happiness, good health is the most important. Without sound health one can never be happy. One who loses his health loses everything. Beside this, a good loving family and a few sincere friends are essential for the happiness of life.
Faith in one’s religion is essential for life’s happiness. In times of trouble, religion can be a source of much peace and comfort. Only a virtuous man with a pure conscience can know real happiness. Religion is morality, and without morality, there can be no happiness in life. It is a matter of common experience that those who are immoral, corrupt or dishonest, are never happy in their lives.
Similarly, some work is also essential for happiness. An idle man is an unhappy man. Whatever one’s work may be, one must do it with interest and with enthusiasm. Our work may be distasteful to us; still we must do it sincerely and put it our best possible efforts. One who loses interest in his work or does it indifferently cam never know real happiness without work. These are the various ways that contribute to human happiness. Happiness can be felt only from within and cannot be derived from worldly possessions and riches.