Happiness Unlimited!!!

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Recently Jayamohan, one of my schoolmates, came to visit me. He is a senior officer in Indian government services. His wife is a bank manager. He has only one son who is working in an IT company as an engineer.
We talked a lot about our school days. He said: “Uday, when you people look from outside, I have everything – money, power, connection, good family background…”
“Everything?” I asked.
“Yes, everything that makes others envy…. But I am not at all happy. I have problems in my office. I am having a heart condition, BP and Diabetics. My wife has work pressure in her bank – she also has some medical problems. My son is not yet married; he is using alcohol and seems a bit depressed. Always tension…tension…”
“Hmm…”
“I have to confess to you, Uday. In the past, we (me and my wife) were always looking down upon you as an impractical, unrealistically romantic, hopeless daydreamer, and stupid. Many times you were a point of discussion for us. You were a freelancer, no secure job, no regular income, three daughters and no son, your wife didn’t go for the plum government job that she had got then, you didn’t acquire any family wealth, lot of responsibilities, and burdens….still see, now you are very happy. Everything might have fallen in place for you. You have traveled all over the world. Even your daughters went abroad for higher studies. Lots of people around the globe love you…You are living a great happy life….”
“Jay, what is your real problem – is it that you are unhappy or I am happy?” I asked him.
“Please don’t think I am envious of you. I would like to know how you managed to be happy…I am seeing your wife is also jovial and laughing…It has been years since I saw my wife smiling like that.”
“Oh, my wife’s happiness is also a problem for you?”
“No – Uday, don’t think I am unhappy about it. As I entered into your house today, I saw from the window that you laugh aloud seeing the movie on your television…”
“Yes, I do cry too… Sad movies make me cry,” I said: ” Why are you telling this?”
“It’s just – I am curious to know how did you manage all these? How to be happy like you?”
“Jay…Ah, now I understand why you are unhappy…”
“Why?”
“You do compare. I don’t. I believe every human being is perfect with all his/her imperfections. So there is no point in comparing two human beings. I am contented with what I have, what the existence has provided me. I have NEVER doubted the intelligence of the existence – it gives what are best suited for me, based on my Karma. I don’t have to get a certificate from others like you about the way I live. So I am happy. In your case, I guess you don’t validate what you have. You always look at what you don’t have.”
“But you too have a lot of shortcomings and problems, Na? How do you manage it?”
“Yes, I do have a lot of problems. I also have pains, miseries, hardships, family issues, and troubles….”
“So, how can you be happy then?”
“I am happy because I have decided to be happy, come what may. You are unhappy because you refuse to be happy.”
“How can you say that? All I want is happiness. But it never comes…”
“That’s the crux of the point. It won’t come. You have placed happiness in the future tense. Besides, you defined happiness as nothing but fulfilling your wants…”
“Still don’t understand. What do you mean by I have placed happiness for the future?”
“Happiness has been a future tense for you. I remember even during your college times you used to say – If I get a job, I will become happy. If I get married to a rich girl, I will be happy. If I build a palatial house, I will be happy. I will be happy only if I get a boy child. I will be happy if I get a luxury car…”
“Yes, what was wrong in that? I have worked hard in an ethical way to get all these things and I now have got everything…”
“Then, why are you not happy Jay?”
“That’s what bothering me…I am still unhappy!”
“Because you have positioned happiness as a thing of future. The fact is that you can never live in the future. You can live only in the present.”
“Eh?”
“When you position happiness as something in the future, you are silently declaring that ‘I am unhappy in the present. Your mind is thus programmed with a permanent status: “I am NOT happy now’. So you are conditioning yourself to believe that happiness comes only in the future. The mind always goes by inputs (See my other articles). But, take any point of time from the spectrum of life; you are living only in the present, you can’t live in the past or future..So…”
“So…?”
“If you are not happy in the present, then you are never ever going to be happy in your life. As I said, you can NEVER live in the future. You can live only in the present, even when you reach the future. So if you are NOT content with what you have right now and if you don’t validate what you have right now and not happy with that, you will never be happy…”
– Accept who you are as you are! Does it really matter if you don’t have the coolest car or the plum job that you have always wanted? You don’t NEED these things to make you happy. The moment you accept your looks, personality, ambiance, situations, objects, etc, AS IS you will be happy. I had learned this from my own experience.
“By being contented and happy you become ambitionless and lazy. You won’t set a goal or fix an aim for success. We should try for better comforts and living standards, right? Come on…everyone needs more money and pleasures…”
“You have to try for whatever you want. Reflect this: I am happy right now. I am contented with what I have. But I want to try out more things. I will work towards those goals with this current (present) happy mind…That’s, you have to carry the moment of happiness while doing your Karma. So you will be happy always, and if you met your goal your happiness will be doubled, and if you are not successful, you still be happy.”
“Oh, that’s the meaning of living in the present with happiness, right? Nobody explained to me as simple as this…” Jay praised me as he is conditioned to think that flattering will make others happy! “Uday, what about the second point – You said that my idea of happiness is want based…”
“Yes. Want and need are two different things.”
“How come? ”
“A child will always want chocolate. But parents know that too much chocolate will make it sick. Parents know the kid doesn’t need so much of chocolate…”
“Ah, yes. But in the personal life we want many things to meet our needs, right?”
“Yes, but the question is that whether it is an essential need for you? For instance, I was using a two-wheeler when I had two kids. Me, wife and kids could travel by bike. But when I had three kids and they have grown up, we can’t travel on the bike altogether. And considering the safety of travel in the nighttime with three daughters, I have decided to buy a car. So my purchase of a car was not want-based, but was based on need…And I didn’t buy a car initially not because I was a miser, but I really didn’t need it. Hope you got my point.”
“So, you are indirectly hinting that I brought my luxury car based on want and not based on need…”
“Oh,I can tell that directly. Not only that – the luxury car was a statement of so-called social status. It was part of a show-off, rather than a need. You are proud that you have a palatial house now – five bedrooms. For what? Tell me, when will you need more than two bedrooms in your house? Once in a while when guests may come. If a guest cannot adjust to what I have, I would rather not welcome such guests in my house. So, your palatial house, according to my viewpoint, was want-based.”
“Hmmm…Now I understand why you didn’t buy a luxury foreign car even you got foreign jobs…”
“Oh, I took up assignments only on need-based. There is nothing wrong in making lot of money. However, that’s not just my Karma. The existence provides me enough.”
“Ah – got it. Essential things are the real needs of life…But what about next-generation?…”
“Why should we make money for the next generation? There are two dangers in it. Easy money will destroy them. Let them work hard according to their dharma and earn to make a living…Let them don’t get anything out of turn. Let them live a merit-based life.”
“Hmmm. I would have taught the same lesson to my son. We have pampered him a lot. We always used to tell him, even if he doesn’t work, we have made enough to live for two generations…”
“Jay, there is a second mistake. If your son has enough and all others in your street are poor or anti-social, then, how will he live happily? He cannot live alone in this world. If people around him are becoming robbers, fanatics, criminals what can he do? It is idiotic to think that if we make money, our children are safe and will lead happy life. In fact, it is the other way around. You are destroying your children’s future by making them lazy and morons”
“But money is important in life…”
“Yes, but there are more important things – physical and mental health. Money is NOT worthy of overlooking these two. You need money to take care of yourself, I agree. But making money for future generations in effect will make you more fearful and insecure though we tend to believe other way around. When you always feed your ego with ‘I, me, mine’, you will end up more insecure. On the other hand, if you take up issues of people around you, you become one with them. The real happiness multiples when you care for people around you and share with them. That’s why our ancestors prayed Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu (May everyone be happy)”
“Hmmm. But who will follow such things today? Everyone is after money. If I was not ambitious, I wouldn’t have created wealth. But we know only in the later stage that it won’t come to your help. And money becomes useless for the creator of that…”
“Wrong again. Money is important. If you want to make money, do it with happiness and contentment based on your Dharma. Incidentally, the last time when I visited your house, I have seen a large picture of Vishnu. Is it still there?”
“Yes, why?”
“Have you ever thought why is the goddess Lakshmi always seen sitting next to Lord Vishnu’s feet?”
“It’s the place where a traditional wife should sit…” he said.
“Idiotic and anti-women statement. She is sitting there not because of gender inequality. They are not human beings. Vishnu represents Dharma. Lakshmi is wealth. When you follow your Dharma you can lay down in a relaxed way as Vishnu does. Wealth should be at your feet, not on the top of your head! So follow your Dharma, wealth will come to your feet…”
“You must be right Uday… I have never thought like that…”
“Jay, if you want to be happy, be happy right NOW. Tomorrow may never come. You may become sick and die. Appreciate what you have right now. You just said you have everything. Then should you compare yourself with me?. Why? Let me, your old school mate, be stupid or idiot, but I am happy with that. Then what’s your problem? You are practical, rich, and affluent – be happy with that, so what’s your problem? Stop comparing…”
Let’s choose an unlimited plan of happiness. Spread our happiness around us, as it’s highly contagious.

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3 Responses

  1. H M Dayananda says:

    I love this article. wonderful sir.

  2. Raghu says:

    Planning involves looking at the future using the data from the past. Plan the work and work your plan. That is the common refrain one hears from the environment. In organizations we often do planning. In personal life we plan. If we truly live in the present, should we plan ahead?

  3. AMIR CHAND says:

    My Dear Uday,

    I have read almost all of your articles. I fully agree with all that you say in this particular article. You will be glad to know that I am already practicing what you write in this article and as a result I am generally quite happy ( even if I may not be that happy all the time ).

    Uday, I must tell you that you are doing a really good service/ job. Please continue advising your readers ( I am one of them ).
    In the end, one request. Please allow me to copy some of your articles for my personal collection. Please also allow me to share them with my friends and relatives.
    Thank you very much.
    Yours Sincerely,
    Amir Chand, at Portland.

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