Article - The Source of Happiness


When we introspect, we realise that our happiness is always dependent upon some external happening; more so on life going the way we want it to. Say, if I am able to get my dream house, I am happy. Similarly, if my wife and children listen to me or my son gets good grades, if my business is doing well or I get a promotion; in general, if I am popular and people listen to me, I am happy.  Clearly, my happiness is always dependent upon something. This is a kind of slavery, and our whole lives we never stop to ask whether there is another source of happiness that is independent of some favourable happening

Life has its ups and downs and our inner state swings like a pendulum, from that of happiness to sadness. Is it possible for us to be happy when the chips are down or when life is going totally against us? If we can develop this art of seeking and finding happiness in every situation in life, then for the first time we will experience a new different freedom. The events of life will then lose their control over us and so will the planets over our destiny.

Our five senses see and relate to the world outside of us. But, within ourselves we have psychological space which is distinct from physical space. I may love to keep my home clean and tidy but where do I live psychologically? What kinds of thoughts occupy my psychological space? If I am complaining all the time, or feeling hurt that someone is doing better than me, or am thinking of how to get the better of someone, then I am in an utterly untidy psychological space.

If I am taking a walk late at night, I would avoid those areas which are dangerous where I could be robbed. In our psychological country, I never avoid those thoughts which assault me with depression and rob me of my peace and happiness. Creating a beautiful psychological country is the key to real and everlasting happiness. Happiness, then, is always within and cannot be disturbed by the events of life.

The Mahabharata says that on the birth of Sri Krishna, the doors of prison opened up and Vasudeva took him across the Yamuna River in a basket. There was lightning, thunderstorms, and heavy rain, but the young child was sucking the toe of his foot happily. This picture of suckling Krishna symbolises a unique happiness that comes from within, which like the circle created by his mouth and toe is a self-sustaining cycle.

- By Rajen Vakil