The Prescription for Happiness And a Donkey

carrotA donkey was stubborn. So an enterprising farmer rigged up a stick with a carrot on a string that would dangle in front of the donkey, a few inches from his nose. The donkey could never get close enough to take a bite. But would keep running to try and “catch up” with the carrot. That means the donkey will move forward. So farmer can put loads of goods in its back.

“That’s why the word donkey is mostly used as a synonym for fool…”Ashraf said.

“Wrong. Scientifically speaking, donkeys are very intelligent creature in the Animal Kingdom. Horses do not have very high intelligence…”I said.

Ashraf has contacted me with a question of “prescription for happiness”. He is born in a conservative Muslim family but he was a hardcore Marxist Communist during his college days. He was college Chairman too. He thought politics is the way to serve people. Later, when he entered into life, he felt confused. He spent his time in pursuit of happiness from one spiritual guru to another. From politics to spirituality. Somebody has forwarded him my article on “Are you Enlightened” ( and hence he reached me.

“Those programs with gurus gave me temporary solace. Then after a while I am back to square one…How can I find happiness?”

“We are all well-educated, knowledgeable and informed (and intelligent like) donkeys moving ahead with the hope that one day – one fine day we can eat that sweet carrot-happiness – that dangles in front of us at a future time. Well, it will never happen…” I said.

“Why the happiness is so elusive?”

“That is because we cling to those flickering opportunities that our short life span offers to pursue some temporary satisfaction of our thirst for happiness. The mind is stimulated by a desire for more and more. We desire to achieve this sort of happiness with a spirit of competition, selfishness and employ unholy methods…”

“Then what to do?”

“We keep running like mad after the oasis in a mirage, castles made of sand, and the gifts of Santa Claus. Stop it. The illusion of happiness created by your mind will never quench the thirst of the inner self. The mind has put you in a prison without bars.”

I reproduced what I have written many times: “Brain, the seat of mind, is just an organ like our hand, legs, eyes and ears…The basic problem with a human being is that he/she trusts the thoughts produced by that mind as TRUTH. Mind is conditioned by inputs. It is similar to the operating system of a computer. Our mind can assume things. Or can pre-judge things or people. It can also interpret situation – everything happens based on inputs in the memory….”

“I understand it theoretically, but how to escape from the baits of the mind?” he asked.

“The good news is that (but unfortunate for mind) mind cannot understand, feel or experience real happiness. Mind always needs logic, pattern, reasoning or belief to understand and feel things. Fortunately or unfortunately, happiness does not fall under these categories…”

“So, how is it good news?” Ashraf asked.

“In the high altitudes of the snowy Himalaya Mountains, there is an endangered species – Kasturi Mrig (Musk Deer). The male deer has a highly prized musk gland, the content of which are literally worth its weight in gold. Local people believe that the Kasturi Mrig always sniffs this scent and runs around chasing the smell without knowing that the origin is within itself.”


“Similarly, the magic of happiness is deep within us. Your inherent nature is happiness that’s why you always seek. But mind doesn’t recognize it. As far as mind is concerned pleasure and comforts are happiness. Mind creates an illusion and temporary image and tells you that image would give you happiness. It prompts you (like a donkey) to chase it and you waste your life chasing a pipe dream. The inner self (the real you) is happy. But the manifested you (mind-designed you) is not.”

“So, as long as mind exists we cannot experience happiness…”

“You are right to a certain extend. Happiness is here and now. It cannot be in the past or future. Mind needs past and future to survive. The true happiness appears when mind ceases to exist. True happiness is free from sufferings and disappointments! You should be happy irrespective of any external happenings. The key to real happiness is within and we always look for the key in others’ pockets. True happiness is the human nature….”

A tired man was walking through a forest on a hot summer day reflecting on his many miseries. He stopped beside the shadow of a tree to rest for some time.

Little did he realize that he was sitting below a miracle tree! The tree would instantly grant wishes of people who sat down beside it. The man was very thirsty. The moment he wished for a drink, a glass of refreshing sweet water appeared in his hand. Though he was shocked, he drank it. He then realized he was hungry and wished he had something to eat. And lo, variety of tasty food appeared before him.

“My wishes are being granted,” he thought in disbelief. “Well, then I wish for a beautiful house” he said out loud. Suddenly a huge bungalow appeared in the meadow before him. Then he wished for a beautiful, loving and caring woman to share his good fortune – boom: A very beautiful and lovely young woman appeared.

“Wait a minute, this is ridiculous,” said the man to the woman. “I’m not this lucky. It must be a dream, this can’t happen to me.” As he spoke this, everything disappeared. He shook his head and said, “I knew it,” and walked away reflecting on his miseries.

Yes, we block ourselves from happiness. We never see the existing blessings that we have and always wish for mind-coined wrong concepts of happiness.

Let me generalize and put it bluntly. No belief, no concepts, no guru, no ideology, and no scriptures can get you happiness. If you chase happiness, you will end up in depression or frustration. If you depend upon outside things or person for happiness, you would end up in misery – the person would eventually leave you or the thing would result in pain later. Happiness is nothing to do external. Because the sweetness of carrot, the fragrance of musk and the miracle tree all are inside you. How can you find it outside?

You can decide – I am happy right now. Because the true happiness is here and now. Otherwise you can move ahead like the donkey in pursuit of happiness that will never come. You can choose between happiness and sorrow. The choice is yours.

Udaylal Pai
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2 Responses

  1. Arcanjoe Almeida says:


    Good Day!

    Again ur experience has made me speechless.. Life is so simple, Happiness is within us… Still we cant it…

    Hats off to you…



  2. M.NageshKini says:

    Happiness is a state of mind where in one can feel it when the wishes are full filled. Once that wishes did not realised one become unhappy.This is the process the thoughts one indulged in. So be happy at any given point of time one has to curtail the wishes on need based that is required for living. One can aspire for whatever good things in life. It is not very easy to embrace. Persistence hard work and perseverance is required to archive it.Simply wishing or wishful thinking is not enough.First of all one should target the goal to achieve, at the same time one should question its necessity of it, if one finds it necessary, then find out the way to full fill it.By these three aspects only one can achieve what has to be achieved.All other aspirations leads to unhappiness. When one is unhappy one finds an excuse for its failure. No one is the cause for our result, it is our own wrong doing is the real culprit. If one understands this logic one can be happy throughout one’s life come what may.

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