No matter how popular one may become, how much wealth one may accumulate, and how many luxuries one may roll in, still true inner satisfaction will continue to be elusive like the mirage in the desert until we learn to improve ourselves from within. On the 12th day of the Happiness Challenge, let us discuss an eternal divine principle—that the way to happiness is directly correlated with the way to self-improvement.
Has anybody ever taught us to seek happiness? Just as we were instructed from childhood to speak the truth, not tell lies, and not steal from others — in the same way, did anybody coach us to only seek happiness? Similarly, nobody taught us to run after misery. This yearning for happiness arose in us innately.
Why is the search for happiness going on? The reason is that we souls are tiny fragmental parts of the ocean of happiness—that is God. Every part is pulled to its source by the gravitational force. In the same way, we are experiencing this gravitational force towards God in the form of the desire for happiness. Our soul will only find the satisfaction that it is seeking—when it experiences happiness that is ‘sat,’ ‘chit,’ and ‘anand,’ which is the nature of God. Sat means eternal, chit means ever fresh, and anand means infinite in extent.
What is the nature of the happiness we experience from the objects of the senses? Firstly, it is finite in extent. Let us say that we chased the great American dream and became a millionaire by the age of 45. Are we happy? Even then we say, “Now look at the billionaire. Oh my God, he has a private plane and boat! I don’t have it. How can I be happy?” In other words, no matter how much of happiness we give to our soul, if we see there is a higher level of happiness, again we become discontented. Our soul will only be satisfied by infinite happiness.
Secondly these worldly pleasures are temporary. Consider this scenario. Today, as somebody enjoyed a wonderful meal along with drinks, he is happy. Tomorrow, those drinks have given him a hangover, a splitting headache and so, the happiness of yesterday has left. That kind of happiness, which comes and goes, again leaves us discontented.
Thirdly, these worldly pleasures are constantly decreasing. A new Bollywood movie was released. We go to see it and get great bliss. The next day our friend arrives and says, “I have heard there’s a new movie running in town, let us go and see it.” We feel, “Oh God, I will have to go again!” However, we say, “Okay, for your sake. Let us go.” This time the pleasure decreased. A few days went by, and our relative came from out of town and said, “I have heard there is a new movie released here. Let us go and see it.” Then we say, “Look, give me any other punishment but don’t force me to see that movie a third time!” Thus, that happiness is gradually decreasing and then is finished.
Watch this interesting video by Swami Mukundananda –
So, these three problems exist in the pleasures we experience from the objects of the senses. That is why the Vedas say,
आनन्दो ब्रह्मेति व्यजानात्
Know God to be bliss. Your soul will only be contented when it experiences the happiness of God which is eternal, infinite, and ever fresh.
So, what then is the way to become happier? We have to simply go closer to God. How do we do that? By improving ourselves from within and by becoming a better person. This is the one point that most of us seem to miss out.
We may have achieved a measure of success in our materialistic endeavors—in career, finances, family, and social prestige. But to what extent did we prioritize our inner growth? How many hours in a year did we spend on trying to become a better person? We now need to change these priorities. Make that the number one priority in life—how do I become a better person? Then we will find happiness knocking on our doorstep.
So, when we make that the important goal of our life, we will find that external success will automatically follow. We may ask, “Should I then neglect external success?” No, let us chase it, because, doing so will force us to improve ourselves from within. But we have to remember—without inner betterment, that external development will have no value.
So, on the 12th day of the Happiness Challenge, let us do introspection and weigh— how much did I endeavor for external success? How much did I endeavor for internal growth? And then let us make a resolve that we need to increase the priority for the inner development. Let us continue this journey to true happiness and fulfilment as we progress along.