The article is written and published by Swami Premananda Bharathi of Avadhootha Asramam, Sadanandapuram P. O., Kollam, Kerala, India.
How to be Happy?
1) Have full and complete faith in the existence of an Almighty power,which guides the destinies of the Universe.
2)Have as the object of life,realisation of the Almighty power.
3) Consider all your action as offerings to the Almighty Power.
4) Consider all your fortunes and your misfortunes to be the results of your own actions of this as well as of previous births, and hence do not feel glad when fortune favours you and do not feel sorry when misfortune betfalls you.
By adhering to these four principles you can always be happy.Happiness is only a state of the mind.The world outside gives you happiness or unhappiness only according to your mental outlook.Suppose you desire a piece of cake,You work for it and get it,you feel happy.If you do not get it,you feel unhappy.The cake is not an absolute source of happiness.
It is a source of happiness only if you wish to have it. If you have a natural distaste for cake,then your getting it does not give you happiness. On the other hand if you have a natural liking cake for cake, your getting it gives you happiness.
Even if you like the cake,after having eaten to your full satisfaction, any further service of the cake to you,only makes you unhappy.Again if you have a disease,which will become worse by the taking of cake,then also service of cake to you, will only make you unhappy.From these observations,one can see that the cake is not an absolute object of happiness. The instance of the cake can be applied to anything worldly.Success in examination of student,success in business for businessman and satisfaction in any walk of life,will give happiness only if the mind desires the satisfaction earlier.
Such being the case you should not put desire on any object in the world.But the mind requires a resting place.It cannot rest in absolute ethereal space. Hence put the mind on infinity.As you have not realised infinity,you choose some object as a replica for infinity and let your mind rest on this replica.
This attitude of mind has many advantages. Let us suppose that your younger brother cries.You try a number of ways to stop the crying of the brother.You give him chocolates, toffees, lozenges, pebbles for playing, spinning tops, dolls of various kind etc.
Suppose that finally the brother tells you that he is not going to stop his crying,whatever you do,then you will naturally be tempted to give him a slap on his cheek and ask him to cry as much as he liked. In the same say if you ask your mind,whether it will be satisfied with any thing,that you would give to it, it will frankly reply that it will not be satisfied with anything that you would give to it. When the mind gives you this answer,you should take it as a signal to stop all your further efforts to satisfy it. If you win for the mind the position of the lord of even the whole universe,then also it will not be satisfied.Even if the mind is satisfied,in a fraction of a second,it will switch on to some other object for satisfaction. Such being the case,there is no purpose in your efforts to please your mind by worldly objects.
Sitting idle without doing anything is also an impossibility. Hence be doing what duty occurs to you as an offering to please God, the Infinity. Once you complete doing the duty and getting as reward the blessing of the Almighty, allow the mind to rest in God, the Infinity. A fish-eating bird happens to be on the mast of a ship and the ship leaves the harbour and gets too far for the bird to fly over to the shore. It has to be content by remaining on the mast itself. It takes a short flight, catches a fish and returns to the mast. If it chooses to take some rest in the ocean, it is doomed, as by the time it would return to the ship, the ship would have gone too far for the bird to return to the mast of the ship. Whatever be the bird’s efforts to catch the fish, it should never lose its eye on the ship. In the same way, whether you succeed or fail in the performance of the duties, you should not forget the fact that your object of the performance is the blessing of the Almighty. Let the mind apply itself to the performance of the duties and return to its resting place on God, the Infinity.
You walk into a shop, pay the price of an article and take delivery of the article. Thereafter there is no bond of attachment between you and the shop. In the same manner you get a duty to be performed; perform it and get as its reward, the blessing of God. Thereafter there should be no bond or attachment to the duty performed and yourself. You let your mind rest on Infinity, just as the bird takes its rest of the mast of the ship.
The atheists have a charge that religion, spirituality and super-worldly thoughts are the cause of all the troubles that humanity is confronted with. It is easy to see that even if there is no God, and even if God is only a creation of man, God is the noblest of man’s creations, just a man is the noblest of God’s creations. If we discard the existence of God, we degrade ourselves to the level of birds, beasts and barbarians. Man is just between the devil and god. If there are human beings with beastly and devilish tendencies, There have been persons who have prayed:-
“I do not desire to be emperor of the world, I do not desire to be emperor of heaven, I do not desire even salvation, but what i desire is to try to reduce the sorrow of those who suffer from misfortunes”. Our efforts must be to raise ourselves from our devilish tendencies to Godly tendencies and for these, thought about God is absolutely essential.
Some say that quest of God is something like search in utter darkness for a black cat which is not there. If God exists and we assure Him not to exist, it is a mistake. If God does not exist, but we assume Him to exist, this also is a mistake. If we are bound to fall, let us fall to the safer side. Of the two mistakes let us examine which is the safer.
The children in a house plan to do some mischief after the father leaves for the school, where the father happens to be the headmaster. The father gets ready for leaving for the school, but for some reason, he cancels his trip to the school and remains in the house. The children think that the father has gone to the school and start on their mischief. The father notes that mischief of the children and pounces on them and gives them the punishment that they deserve. The children had committed a mistake in thinking that the father had gone to the school, while he had not gone. Now let us consider the other alternative. The father for some urgent necessity goes to the school, but the children think that the father is in the house, and engage themselves in such a manner as would be pleasing and satisfactory to the father.
After two or three hours, they see the father returning to the house and then they realise the mistake that they had committed. In the second alternative, the feeling that the father was in the house, forced them to conduct themselves as good children and save themselves from the punishment they got in the first alternative. In the same manner assumption that there is an Almighty power guiding the destinies of the universe will restrain you from doing evil deeds and also persuade you to be doing such actions as will be pleasing to that universal power. Of course you have to assume that, that power is omni-benevolent, omni-competent, omnipotent, omni-scient, omnipresent and omni-everything.
As long as you are conscious of a body, you have to be doing some action. By action, mental activity is also included. Such being the case, let all the actions of the body, mind and intellect be conceived to be offerings to God. If a person for whom you have great regard and respect visits you in your house, you will offer him for food the best of your possessions. You will not give him things which you regard that your guest will not like. In the same way if you consider your actions as offerings to the Almighty, you will not be able to do anything which will be displeasing to the Almighty. You will not be able to do anything which will hurt the feelings of others, as others are also creation of God, the Almighty, You will be forced to conduct yourself in such a manner that the whole world will be pleased with you. If you conduct yourself in a good manner to the world, the world will also be reacting in the same manner to you. This will ensure that nothing will happen that will hurt your feelings.
When you go forward in the struggle of life, it is very probable that good things and bad things will happen to you. Things which you desire might not happen while thing which you do not desire might happen. On these occasions it is necessary that you should not allow your mind to be disturbed. If something good happens, take it that it this the result of something good that you have done in the past. If something had happens to you, console yourself that it is the punishment of some bad actions you had done in the past. In this way you can save yourself from the necessity of finding fault with others or with exterior circumstances.
There is general charge that it is an over-doze of religion and spirituality that it is the cause of all the ills that humanity suffers from. This is not so. If there is any defect, it is because of under-doze of religion and spirituality. Material prosperity is not necessary for happiness. Even if we consider material prosperity is an object, attachment to it is not necessary for its attainment. We can be detached and still have material prosperity. A patient is attended to by the doctor and relations of the patient. If the patient unfortunately dies, the doctor moves on to the next patient. But the relations spend days in mourning for the dead. Intellect and reason tell you that no useful purpose will be gained by the mourning. But the mental and emotional attachment to the dead, takes the upper hand and forces the relatives to mourn. A king wants to know some confidences going on in the house of his minister and takes to the garb or a beggar and sneaks into the house of the minister. The king functions as a beggar, but is not elated if he gets some aims and is not worried if he does not get any alms. This is because the object of the king is not getting alms but is something different. An I.A.S officer who happens to be Collector at Madras gets a promotion-cum-transfer to Delhi with direction to join duty at Delhi in a fortnight. The quality and quantity of his work for the next fortnight will increase very much. He has to finish all his arrears of work in his office. He has to finish all his domestic bonds to Madras. The owner of the house in which he has been living has to be called and the arrears of rent have to be settled. The shop-keepers with whom the might have been having accounts will have to be called and the accounts with them will have to be closed. he has to go round and take leave of his friends.
He has to get ready his replies to the various send-offs that he would be receiving. To conclude, his work for the fortnight will be far more heavy than it used to be, but he is happy to do the work as he would be thinking of his promotion and transfer to Delhi. In the same manner once you become conscious that all material prosperity is transient and that what one should work for is realisation of the Infinite which is the source of all happiness, you would have to finish all the duties that will face you as the result of the mental and physical actions that you had performed when you were under the impression that it is material prosperity that is the end of existence. Performance of duties on the material plane will surrender to you material prosperity and in this manner even if you do your duties with a detached mind you will have to enjoy the benefits of actions performed on the material plane. What you have to be careful is to see that the mind does not get attached to material prosperity even when they present themselves to you.
The suggestions detailed above will guarantee that you will be happy at all times.
It may in this connection be also added that what everyone desires for, and what everyone works for is happiness and
To conclude, the Universe is the creation of the mind, and the mind is the creation of ignorance. As long as you are immersed in ignorance, you cannot realise God or Infinity which is the fountain-head of happiness. For absolute happiness, you should realise God, the Infinity and this can be done only by working for the realisation of God, the Infinity.
(In this article “How to be happy” profuse use has been made of the word “Infinity”. Hence a short article on
“Science and Infinity” is appended below.)
SCIENCE AND INFINITY
As per a leading article in the Indian Express of 10-02-1982, there were then 50,000 atom bombs and further the two super powers were then each spending 100 million dollars a day to enlarge the equipment of destruction. According to the Indian Express of 1-5-1988, there were then forty countries which were each capable of making atom bombs. The Indian Express of 22-1-1989, detailing the car built for the New American President, states that it costs 6,00,000 dollars and also that it is equipped to enable Mr. Bush to press the nuclear button in an emergency.
Considering all these, humanity with all its culture and civilization appears to be at present on a live volcano.
We are tempted to put the responsibility for having forced humanity into this dangerous situation on Science. We can argue that but for the adventures and achievements of Science, humanity would have lived such a life that differences among its constituents would have been settled by bows and arrows. Let us try whether we can defend science from the allegation that it is science that is responsible for forcing humanity into this dangerous situation.
To define in general terms, science is knowledge derived by the exercise of the reasoning faculty. In the earliest stages of the Scientist’s studies, science frankly admits that the Infinite or Infinity is a field of knowledge which is beyond its comprehension and that the rules of Mathematics, which forms a part of Science, will not hold good with regard to Infinity. All students of Science will have experienced that while picking up the elements of Mathematics, their senior students tickling them by proving that different finite numbers can be made equal to each other. The senior student makes the junior student agree that Infinity plus three is equal to Infinity; that Infinity plus three is equal to infinity; that hence Infinity plus three is equal to Infinity plus four, that if equals are removed from equals, the remainders should also be equal; that hence three should be equal to four and that by this process of argument all finite numbers should be equal to each other. It will be after some time that the junior student gets over the puzzle. He would then understand that the rules of the Mathematics would not hold good in the presence of Infinity. After this much knowledge of Infinity, the advancing scientist takes no notice of Infinity. He discards it as of no consequence. What we propose to consider now is whether we are justified in treating Infinity with indifference.
A book on reality stats that the size of the Universe is 10 billion light years. A billion according to Chambers Dictionary is a million millions and light year is the distance covered in an year by a beam of light traveling at the rate of 1,86,000 miles per second.
It is quite probable that in the womb of Infinity there would be thousands of such Universe. In the eyes of infinity the Universe itself, might be only a microscopical speck. Such being the case, is humanity justified in devoting all its attention on the finite and refuses to give any consideration to infinity. If a father has two sons and if the father shows all his attention and affection on one and discards the other completely, Nemesis would see to it, that the father would repent for his misconduct.
Man cannot live by bread alone. To him the quest for the creator is as strong an instinct as the instinct for food and other natural needs. A study of the history of humanity through ages tells us that it has been the strength or weakness of the human mind to hunger for the mysteries of the universe. Man’s efforts on the material plane has as the achievements of science yielded him much. But there are certain spheres which have not given him as much success as in the filed of science. The metaphysical plane has been eluding all his attempts. Who has created the universe, why it was created, when it was created, how it was created, how long it will last, what its ultimate end would be, whether as a clock it is unwinding itself or whether the unwinding is accompanied by a corresponding winding so that the universe would last for ever, when did time start, when it will end, what the limits of space are, whether there is an individual soul, separate from the universal soul, what the relationship between the two are, why some people are fortunate to have the plums of life, why life is miserable to some, why things we do not want happen, what the purpose of existence is, whether worldly prosperity can make one happy , why emperors on their thrones are not happy are some of the questions that confront every human being. This quest might have been stimulated by man’s sufferings as a result of the buffetings of nature. But it is not the miserable alone who hanker after the problems of the universe. Persons in affluence have ventured on this quest as much as persons in despair. Emperors like Buddha have kicked off their thrones as these thrones have been found impediments in the pursuit of truth. Though these truths are elusive humanity has not discarded the quest for them. The thought that soul is a myth, but stomach is a reality might give some relief, but such relief will only be temporary and not permanent. It is this quest after truth that has forced religion on humanity or forced humanity into religion. Religion is the Theory and Practice of the quest for the mysterious quest for God, the infinity.
In the beginning of the century, the atom to the Scientist was an irreducible unit like an iron ball. But a century of self-denying toil and research by the Scientist tell him that the atom consists of protons, electrons, neutrons and other substances and also a lot of the same interstellar space as pervades the Universe. These researches by the scientists have also forced on humanity such a dangerous situation that we dread to think of our future and the future of the earth that mothers us. Research on Infinity might most probably give us better and happier results.
Man is between the devil on one side and God on the other. Scientific developments have taken us to the side of the devils. The study of Infinity might take man a Superman and take Humanity to the side of the Gods.
In the eloquent words of late Satyamurthi, there was a time when Indian was seated on a throne of resplendent glory. But in those days, the first quarter of one’s life was to be spent in the studies of the finite and the infinite, the second quarter was to be devoted as householder for the finite and for the preparation for the Infinite, the third and the fourth quarters were to be spent in quest of the Infinite, as Vanaprastha and in Sanyasam. If it was ordained that four days a week should be spent as Sabbath days Humanity would have been safer. If tithe the contribution to be made for devotional purposes was 51% instead of 10% as is supposed to be contributed at present, Humanity would have been better.
To conclude, Science is not responsible for the dangerous situation in which Humanity is finding itself at present. Humanity should devote far more attention to the study of the Infinite than for the study of the finite, if it is to save itself and also the earth in which Humanity lives.
Thanks to Ram Vellinezhi and Nirmala Potti for typing and proof reading the article.