What is Happiness?
A rich man in order to be happy, went on searching for it, travelling different countries. He was still not happy. He chased wine, women and other addictions…but his heart was devoid of happiness.
Someone told him that there was happiness in a life of renunciation. So, he decided to try that too. He packed all his wealth, the treasure stored in his house, all diamonds, precious stones, gold …..
He took the bundle and placed it at the feet of yogi and said, ‘Swamiji! I am placing all my wealth at your feet! I don’t need them anymore. I only seek peace of mind and happiness! Where is peace?’ saying thus, he fell at the feet of the yogi in total surrender.
The yogi did not seem to heed his words at all. He hurriedly opened the bundle and checked the contents. It was full of dazzling diamonds, glittering gold. On viewing these, the yogi tied up the bundle and ran with it.
The rich man was extremely shocked. ‘Oh, no! I have surrendered to a cheat, a pseudo Goodman! What a blunder!’ he thought. His sadness turned into anger and he went behind the yogi in hot pursuit.
The yogi was unable to run fast. He went into all the lanes and by-lanes, but finally reached the place from where he had started his run…under the tree. The rich man also reached the same place, panting hard. Before he uttered a word, the yogi said, ‘hey, did you get scared that I would abscond with your wealth? Here, take it! I have no need for it…keep it for yourself!’ and returned the bundle to him.
The rich man was very happy that he got back his ‘lost’ wealth. ‘Here is peace’, said the yogi. The yogi further added, ‘You see, all this wealth was with you even before you came here. But you did not derive joy from them. It is the same wealth that is with you now…but you have found a great joy in your heart! So where did the happiness come from…from wealth or within you?
It is clear from the story that joy and happiness are not outside us. They are within us!
The kingdom of heaven is within you, says the Bible.
Just like the rich man went roaming around with the bundle of wealth, many of us do not realize the truth. That is the reason why we look up to others for our happiness.
When the boss appreciates our work, ‘Good, you did a fine job!’ we literally float. When he utters a word of criticism, all happiness deserts us! So we become a football to be kicked by others.
Here are some examples:
A drunkard lay down in the street, fully intoxicated and senseless. His friend who happened to come by said to him jokingly, ‘Hey, I had gone to your house. I found that that your wife has become a widow. So go home and console her!’
The drunkard was very upset. ‘Oh, no!’ My wife has become a widow!’ He began to cry. ‘How can your wife become a widow when you are alive?’ consoled a passer-by. The drunkard answered, ‘but my friend told me that my wife has become a widow. He is my close friend and how can I disbelieve him?’ the drunkard continued to cry. Our sorrow is similar to that of the drunkard. Even though he experienced sorrow, it was illegitimate as it was born out of ignorance.
In each of us there is a drunkard. Many things which are not really true make us miserable. At other times, matters which are of no real significance, rob us of our happiness.
A farmer has a bumper crop of tomatoes in one season. Yet the farmer seemed to be very worried. His neighbors inquired of him the reason for his worry. He replied, ‘Normally, I feed my pigs with tomatoes.’ The neighbors required, ‘’What is the problem? You have a bumper crop this time!’ to which the farmer replied, ‘Yes. I have a bumper crop; but I do not have a single rotten tomato to offer to my pigs. What will I feed them with?’
To put it simply, happiness is like a lock, intelligence is like a key. If you turn the key of intelligence in the opposite direction, it would lock up happiness. If you turn it in the right direction, the doors of happiness open!