PASSAGE 7 (Questions 1-5)
We all seek happiness but few, very few, indeed, get it. We are unhappy partly because we desire much more than what we can hope to attain. Our countless desires are hard to be satisfied. And that is what makes us so sad in life.
The secret of happiness lies in the simplification of life. Simple living encourages high-thinking. It leads to contentment. Contentment gives inner wealth, the wealth of the mind and of the soul. A contented man devices himself to virtues like truth, beauty, love, goodness, kindness and charity. By pursuing and inculcating these virtues, a man can feel true happiness. I do not mean that for simplification of life, a man should become an ascetic.
The happiness of a sadhu is of a negative kind. I want positive kind of happiness. For this I must live in the midst of life and faithfully carry out my responsibilities to my home and my country. But all this should be done in the spirit of selfless service. A man who wants to lead a happy life, should also make others happy.
In making others happy he will taste real and lasting happiness. There is a kind of joy in serving others with virtuous motives, in sacrificing what one has for the good of others. An act of goodness is of itself an act of happiness. The secret of perfect happiness lies in renunciation.
Wealth may give us joy for a while and fame may provide us with fleeting excitement. But they cannot give us permanent happiness, kings have everything to make them happy and yet they feel unhappy. It is because they do not practise renunciation. There is a sense of joy in doing one's work honestly and efficiently. A research-worker feels joy in research and a journalist in writing.
In doing one's duty sincerely, one feels peace of mind, which is an important essence of happiness. It is only by cultivating spirit of renunciation, self-sacrifice, contentment and sincere work that one can really be happy. The stings of misfortune spare none, but they will not cow such a person.
What does a contented man do?