This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
This book is dedicated to the memory of my
Friend, Philosopher and Guide Late Shri Babasaheb (M.G.) Kale
HAPPINESS IS YOURS: A FOREWORD. Chapter 1 Enemies of Happiness.: Anger. Chapter 2 Ego or Self-centeredness. Chapter 3 : GREED. Chapter 4 : Poison of Hatred. Chapter 5 : Jealousy Is Lousy. Chapter 6 : Bust the Lust . Chapter 7 : Pride And Prejudice Chapter 8 : Worry and Guilt Chapter 9: Limit Your Expectations. Chapter 10: Stress Is The Enemy You Create. Ch.11. Positive Attitude. Chapter 12 :Concentrate Your Energy. Chapter 13. Do Not Be Judge of Others. Chapter 14 :Concentrate on the Present. Chapter 15 : Give up addictions Chapter 16: Work Hard; Give Up Lethargy. Chapter 17 : Accept the Change; Keep the Balance Chapter 18: Think before you Speak. Chapter:19 Do Not Feel Inferior: Don‟t Compare yourself to Others. Chapter 20 : Remember Good Things. Chapter 21: Critics Are Well-wishers Chapter 22: Hobbies and Voluntary Service Chapter 23: Be Friendly; Share Joy. Chapter 24: Be Contented. Chapter 25: Take Yourself Lightly Chapter 26: Develop Compassion. Chapter 27: Accept Yourself; Accept Others. Chapter 28: Playact A Role. Chapter 29: Be Religious In True Sense. Chapter 30: Meditate Every Day Epilogue: Parting Words.
HAPPINESS IS YOURS: A FOREWORD.
We all want to be happy. ( who does not?) but hardly a few can really be happy. As Nathaniel Hawthorne said it aptly: “ Happiness is a
butterfly, which when pursued eludes your grasp...But if you will sit quietly, may alight on you.” What is happiness? It is different things to different people.To someone, music may bring happiness; others may find it boring. For me a nice book brings so much happiness. To people who collect postage stamps, just looking at the collection can bring happiness.For some friends, time spent in gardening brings lot of happiness.But happiness is not defined as things you have or do. Our happiness depends on our attitude or our outlook towards life. We cannot control our past; nor can we be sure of our future. Still nobody can prevent us from enjoying the present moment. Life is a process of continuous change.Amidst the change , we seek permanence and security. We expect so many things from people around us and from ourselves too. When things do not happen according to these expectations or people do not act or behave as we would like them to, we end up being grumpy and unhappy. Remember :”No one can make you happy or unhappy ; only you can do it.” Life is just ten percent what happens to you, and ninety percent how you react to it. If you tell me that I am dumb; and I react by calling you an idiot, we both end up being unhappy.Why? Because I reacted and you reacted. Later I might think that I am not perfect and occasionally, I do act dumb, but the hurt cannot be undone.Try to pause a moment before reacting in anger. Happiness has ten enemies. You have to overcome them in order to be happy.They are: (1) Anger:- You cannot be angry and happy at the same time. Give up anger. (2) Ego:- Bigger your ego smaller are your chances of being happy. (3) Greed:- Greed can not be satisfied . Never. It asks for more.Keeps you unhappy.
(4) Hatred:- Hatred is a cancer that expands and fills up your mind, pushing out happiness. (5) Jealousy:- If you are jealous of someone, you are not happy with yourself. (6) Lust :- Like greed lust can never be satisfied. It demands more, keeping you unhappy. (7) Pride:- Pride makes you feel good for sometime, but leaves you insecure in the end. (8) Worry:- Worry or stress causes the mind to sink deeper into the morass.It is a sure recipe for inviting disaster. (9) Expectations:- It is human nature to expect certain behavior from those around us to please us and respect us or love us. when people fail to come up to our expectations, we feel unhappy. (10) Stress:- Modern lifestyle involves doing as many things as possible in the shortest possible time. Thus we have no time to relax, enjoy things we like or even have enough sleep-time. In fact stress is the single biggest enemy of modern life. We have to learn from nature how to be happy. Here is a short poem I wrote about happiness.
Be quiet like a mountain and flow like a river. Swing with wind; and roar with the seas. Bloom like a flower; wither like the leaves. Pour into life like water; you will be happy for ever, Have you observed a pressure cooker on a burner? The pressure builds up within the vessel slowly. When it exceeds a limit, the safety valve
opens and the steam is released with a whistle.The pressure is then reduced. Unfortunately, there is no such device in the human body to eliminate tension or stress. So we fall prey to mental or psycho-somatic problems. What produces tension? It is the faulty programing of our mind‟s computer. Our negative feelings and attitudes are like viruses of mind. They ultimately destroy our mind and our body.We have to get rid of these destructive attitudes and replace them with positive and creative attitudes. This task is extremely difficult and it requires an inner discipline and determination to reprogram our mind‟s computer. Moreover, we have to be vigilant not to allow new mental garbage to form. Only then we can get a lasting happiness ourselves and contribute to happiness of those around us. People confuse happiness with pleasure. Do you see the difference.? Pleasure is a short-term,temporary gratification, whereas happiness is a long-term, stabilizing factor in life. Often, we chose things that are pleasurable and overlook our well-being in the long run. The pleasure of alcohol, tobacco , drugs, sex-related enjoyment, gambling is transient. The smile of a loved one, beauty of nature, sublimeness of arts, music,poetry, etc. bring real happiness. Before making a choice of our major activities, we should ask the question:” Will this result in genuine happiness in my life and for those around me?” Happiness is a state of mind that remains with us despite life‟s ups and downs.There is no mantra, no master-key, no magic that can do the trick.It involves a complete re-education of mind and life-long practice and vigilance. By mobilizing our determination,challenging our negative attitudes and not getting discouraged if things do not improve in the short-run, we can overcome all odds and be happy. Let us also be clear about what is not happiness, so that we can be clear about our goal.
(1) Money: Money is not happiness. It can bring all sorts of comforts but no happiness. Money cannot - repeat cannot buy us happiness.Billionaires can be unhappy like anyone else. (2) Success: Success cannot produce happiness because success is a reward by the society in recognition of your work. Happiness is a feeling you have about yourself. You may succeed as a great statesman and yet fail as a father or husband and thereby be unhappy. (3) Some person: Do not think that someone will come in your life and you will live happily ever after.Nobody can make you happy or unhappy; only you can. (4) Knowledge: Any kind of knowledge that is information cannot ensure your happiness.People who can analyse tend to be an unhappy lot. Happiness is our goal and we travel towards it along the road of unhappiness.We don‟t settle for imperfections in the world and ourselves.So we aim at being perfect in everything.We feel bad and guilty about our mistakes. Instead of being what we are we are trying to become what we are not. This state of not being what we are is the root of our unhappiness. The key to being happy is accepting our imperfections and being ourselves.When we accept ourselves and the world around us, we can begin our tryst with happiness.
Enemies of Happiness.: Anger.
Anger is the enemy number one of happiness. anger is like a strong acid. A small drop of acid can burn your skin. Similarly, anger burns the mind. When you get angry you react to some situation or to someone‟s remarks about you. So you get hurt by your anger. Not only that when you react the person at the receiving end gets hurt too. Your anger may be fully justified if you are fighting for a great and worthy cause. but if you get angry in small matters , you help noone and harm yourself. Anger has a devastating effect on your heart and your blood pressure. Your tension increases as a result and this in its turn is detrimental to the digestive and the nervous systems. Once anger poisons your mind, nothing can help. Your continuous anger can hinder the development of your kids. It destroys peace and happiness in the family.Do you wish well of your family and children.? Then try your best to overcome your anger at the earliest. An angry person loses his sense of discrimination. He utters harsh words that he does not really mean to. If you get angry too often, people will turn away from you.You will slowly be isolated. So when you get angry, pause a moment and think what purpose your anger will serve.. It takes a lifetime of hard work to build a relationship, but few angry words can destroy that relationship in no time.The anger is in a sense a judge, jury, lawyer,witness and jailor- all rolled in one.It condemns us to a slow destruction of our life . So anger does not benefit anyone. You act in haste by being angry and then repent it at leisure.A person who befriends anger does not need enemies. He is his own worst enemy.
If your house is on fire , what will you do? The most urgent thing is to put out the fire, not to run after thee person you think is the arsonist and punish him, because in the meantime your house will burn down. When you get angry ,take a mirror and look at yourself.How do you look? Your face looks like a bomb ready to explode any moment.So what do you do? Just breathe in calmly and breathe out smiling; you will immediately feel the relief.Smiling allows mindfulness to be created in you and this helps you to embrace your anger.The anger is like a howling child that needs its mother to embrace it.The awareness created by deep breathing will transform the anger. Your anger is your baby; embrace it with tenderness and accept it. You can transform it into positive energy.When you are angry, you believe that the other person is responsible for your misery. But if you look deeply, you realize that the seed of anger is the main cause of your suffering.. When we cultivate mindfulness,we stop blaming the other person and feel a lot of relief.After some deep thinking you even feel compassion for the person. You need only a few minutes of mindful breathing to reestablish yourself in here and now. Then you go to the other person , look into his eyes and sincerely say you are sorry. In short, we should be able to control our anger. We should master it rather than allowing it to master us.Its destructiveness has to be checkmated. but I do not know of any person who does not get angry at all. He may suppress it or master it well, but not to be angry at all is just out of this world. It needs a buddha, a „jina or a mahatma. Although we cannot banish anger totally, one good method to overcome it is to sublimate your anger by channeling it to a greater cause. You can direct your anger to promote a worthy cause. thereby you will have less chance of getting angry in small routine matters.
Ego or Self-centeredness.
For any individual, the most important person is himself. All human beings have to some extent this „narcissist „ tendency. That is why crooks and scammers succeed in their jobs by flattering us. Even as the human race we are self-centered in believing that man is the ultimate creation and that the whole universe was created and evolved in such a way that man was the center of the universe. Even our gods liked praises. That is why we praise god and then place our wishes before him for saying „tathastu‟.(so be it) We always give top priority to our comforts, feelings and happiness and forget conveniently if it might bother or inconvenience others.On top of it , we always expect others to be considerate and sympathetic to us!This is our self-centeredness. We always foist our ideals, prejudices and beliefs on others- many times in the name of majority decision, but if we are in a minority we speak about fighting for our rights till death. This attitude distances us from the dear ones around us. If I wanted to become a doctor,but could not realize my dream, I might force my son to join a medical college,without bothering to think about his aptitude or his liking.Then, when our children grow up and emulate us , we find fault with them.Instead of being dictatorial, we should understand that everyone is entitled to the same consideration as we are.If we consider the feelings of our family members, a lot of tension in the families would disappear. Let us begin with our charitable attitude within our family and friends and then expand the field progressively.Let us not have any selfish motive, or expect gratitude; let us not seek attention or fame.Let us relate to others. Christopher Reeves, who played superhero in the movies had a nasty fall during a film shoot and was paralysed from neck downwards.He even needs assistance to breathe.But Reeves overcame his despair and physical handicap. He told himself:” Look at your assets and see what you can do.” Instead of wallowing in self-pity or cursing his bad luck, he spends
time in educating public opinion about spinal injuries and helping other people to cope with their spinal injuries.Relating to others in such a way,gives you a sense of „self-worth‟. The successful people become celebrities. The market and the media promote their picture as larger-than-life and turn them into role models for the younger .The limelight shone by the media and heroworshipping fans turns the celebrities into idols. but these idols have feet of clay and generation when they fall through idol-breaking activities of the media, the noise is ear-shattering. their individual lives and even families are ruined. So be wary of success. Keep your ego on a leash. Every day remind yourself that you are a puny mortal,not even the size of dust in this universe. For people who have an oversize ego ( like yours truly) it helps a lot to cultivate an artistic hobby like poetry, painting, playing music etc. The creativity needed by these hobbies will satisfy your ego and at the same time making you less selfish or self-centered.The art will channel your ego into creative pursuits that eventually bring happiness too.Doing social work through non-profit organization can be equally satisfying and produce a satisfying feeling of contributing something worthwhile and at the same time making you less egoistic or self-centered.
Chapter 3 :
It is our duty to fulfill the our needs and those of our family; but our wants are a different cup of tea. They have no end. Our greed arises from our insecurity that we may find ourselves in dire circumstances. So a man earning five thousand a month may think he would be happy if his income doubled; but when he gets that income he would want twenty thousand a month and so on. Millionaires want to be billionaires.Greed is a monster that is never satisfied, no matter how much you feed it.Greedy people can never be happy in life. As your wants get satisfied new ones arise like a many-headed hydra. If you have no vehicle, you wish for a bicycle or scooter. When you get one you would set your sight on a car. When you have minicar, you would want a sports car and people having one car raise their ambition to having a car for every member of the family. A sadhu was living in a small hut. He was harassed every day by mice. To deal with the problem he got a cat.The mice disappeared, but the cat had to be fed milk every day.So the sadhu kept a cow. The cat‟s problem was solved, but the cow needed fodder every day. So the sadhu had to spend several hours a day grazing the cow, milking it and looking after its needs. He was so busy with these chores that he forgot about meditation and God and ultimately became a farmer. Nobody can get everything he wants. Greed leads to unhappiness.So we should try to be as simple as possible and think deeply before increasing our needs. The less you need, the less tension you will have. ost of our tensions arise from our blown-up wants,, fueled by modern marketing and ads we are bombarded with throughout our lives.
If you are placed well in life, try to help the needy, the less fortunate ones. and receive their blessings.A simple life can be a rich life. Sharing with others and caring for them will overcome your greediness and in the process you will increase your feeling of self-worth.Another way to sublimate the greed is to have a hobby of collecting coins, postage stamps,etc. which are within your means. The time thus spent will keep you away from thinking too much about your wants and compulsive shopping or comparing your lifestyle with others.
Chapter 4 : Poison of Hatred.
Hatred works all 24x7 hours to destroy our peace of mind and happiness. If anger is the acid that burns us, hatred is a poison that kills in the long run.Anger may take you down one step away from the humanity, hatred brings you down another step down.it ensures unhappiness throughout life. People may have dealt you real bad blows , but by refusing to forget you are keeping the wounds raw and festering. There is a remedy . Forgive all those who created roadblocks in your path and made your life unbearable. Forgive them well and truly. Does this suggestion shock you? Only after taking such a constructive step , you will be able to overcome your hatred and forget the painful episodes in your life. It will also cleanse all the accumulated bitterness from your mind .That is the first step towards happiness.Forget the bitterness of the past, if you really want to enjoy life .Those who harmed you did so because it was in their nature. Why should you be unhappy holding on to the memories of past that is dead and gone? There is a story about a sadhu bathing in the river. He sees a scorpian swept away by a strong current. Overcome by compassion, he saves the scorpian and places it in his palm.The scorpion stings him and falls into the river. he sadhu again took the scorpion and placed it in his palm. Every time,the sadhu saves the scorpion, it stings him. A man was watching this from the shore. He was shocked at the sadhu‟s folly. He asked the holy man:”This scorpion has bitten you several times and yet you insist on saving its life?‟” Sadhu answered:” The scorpion acts according to its nature and I act according to mine.If he does not give up his nature, why should I give up my compassion?”
The fire of revenge burns night and day relentlessly. Through your hatred, you hurt yourself much more than any enemy ever did.He hurt you once, or twice, but by clinging to hatred, you are bent upon hurting yourself all your life.We hate people for hurting us physically or emotionally. We thank the doctor, who hurts us in order to cure our sickness.
Forgiveness will release your bottled up energies and help you towards realizing your goal of happiness. Once you drop the burden of hatred and revenge, you will feel calm and peaceful.That is why religions like Jainism give prime importance to forgiveness.Asking for forgiveness and giving forgiveness frees you from the nonessential baggage of vengefulness. Then you start feeling friendly towards all people and do not fear anything. Here is a poem about forgiveness that I wrote: Every man needs to be forgiven.
For he has only taken: not given. On somebody‟s shoulders he has stood, And then has that relationship forsaken. He who cannot forgive others, Destroys the bridge thatHe must some day cross. No point feeling guilty later. Be grateful for the tender love, That verily makes us all human. Man need not be superman Every man needs to be forgiven; If you cannot forgive others,
You cannot forgive yourself How can you expect God to forgive you?
Chapter 5 : Jealousy Is Lousy.
Jealousy and envy are the most negative emotions. You can sublimate other emotions like anger or greed, but with jealousy you cannot have any positive results. Life is short and full of uncertainties.So why do we want to waste precious time succumbing to such unproductive feelings like jealousy? We have to concentrate fully on achieving our cherished goals in life and not mess it up with envy. Remember that every person is unique and he or she has some special qualities. If you start comparing yourself to others, it will create the slow fire of envy that burns your happiness to ashes.If you keep company with jealousy, you are your own enemy.The flowers that you have planted in your garden are beautiful and nice-smelling. But if you look at your neighbor‟s backyard and see that he has better roses, you will feel miserable.but wait , why not control your jealousy and say to yourself that lovely flowers are there to be enjoyed, be they in your garden or in your neighbors.Does it make my enjoyment any less just by growing in the neighbor‟s yard.A Rose will remain arose,no matter where it blooms. In the Hindu epic Mahabharat, the antagonist Duryodhan is wellversed in all scriptures A very knowledgeable person, but he is suffering from the disease of jealousy.He has been given half the kingdom with best resources, whereas his cousins Pandavas got only forest land. They have to work hard, clear the jungle and then develop the region through the sweat of their brow. When Pandavas prosper by their own merit , Duryodhan‟s life becomes a hell. He calls Pandavas to gambling and through unfair tricks takes away their kingdom and sends them to forest for twelve long years.
His cousin Yudhisthir is different kettle of a fish. his brothers are resentful. His wife Draupadi taunts him all the time for his weakness.But Yudhisthir remains unflappable.After suffering for so many years without complaint he has gained well-wishers even among the enemy camp. Finally in the great war, the right triumphs over might and meanness.So Duryodhan lost due to his mean nature and Pandavas prevailed by overcoming their faults. Unless you are able to wipe out envy and jealousy totally from your life, you cannot be really and truly happy.
Chapter 6 :
Bust the Lust .
Lust is the sex in the body and the sex in the mind. Sex is a basic human need like food, water or shelter. Sex is a means of human survival through reproduction. Sex is nothing bad as made out by religions.It holds together the marriage and through it the society.However sex is good in moderation.It should be controlled like any other human impulse like anger, greed or jealousy and hate. The sex first starts in the mind and then intensifies through fantasy and physical proximity and culminates in the physical union. Sex may be just an eight or eleven minutes phenomenon, but thoughts about sex obsess our minds for a much longer period. We might be watching TV or movies,videos or reading fiction, our minds do not refrain from thinking about sexual thoughts.In order to control sex, it is necessary to control our minds. How do we control our minds? The mind is like a wild horse or like a chattering monkey that cannot remain quiet for long time. So we have to train it and control it through discipline.Otherwise it will become our master and control us.We have t study the attitudes of mind and to observe its vagaries by sitting in a quiet place and thinking deeply. The study of mind is called „abhyas „ in the spiritual lingo. The mind is an ocean of roaring waves of conflicting thoughts and emotions. It thinks a million thoughts that hijack our senses away. The mind can cast us in chains of miseries. At the same time, the disciplined mind can liberate us and make us happy.The mind more than anything else reflects the man. Sant Kabeer, the Indian mystic and fourteenth century poet compares the mind to a mirror.He advises us to keep the mirror free from
dust and blemishes. Then it will shine in all its glory and guides us to a lasting happiness.You can run away from the society, but you cannot hide from your mind . Holy men and saints are as fallible as common people if they are not vigilant enough. It is not easy to control the mind. It is a slippery customer . Mental discipline takes regular practice, watchfulness and lot of patience. It is easier to conquer the external enemies than to master your own mind. We should listen to the feeble „ inner voice „ and to follow its guidance in our actions.An unknown lawyer named Mohandas followed his conscience and evolved to become the world-renowned Mahatma Gandhi. The great Indian King Ashok who ruled Magadh (Bihar) before two thousand years realized that it was no use killing the enemies after a brutal war in Kalinga.You can conquer by winning over their minds.He controlled his own mind by living according to the teachings of Buddha. He made „dharmachakra‟- the wheel of right behavior as hi symbol. India has honored this saintly king by adopting the dharmachakra now called „ashok chakra‟ at the center of its national flag. Mental discipline cannot be imposed from outside . It has to arise from within us. We have to practice right actions until they become a habit and our response becomes automatic. There is no shortcut to selfdiscipline. Only way is practice, watchfulness and patience.When our mind and our lust are controlled, we feel happy. Remember: No one else can make you unhappy; Only you can. No one else can make you happy; Only you can.
Chapter 7 : Pride And Prejudice
Pride is not only one‟s confidence about being right; it is the arrogance of others being totally wrong.It is good to be confident about one‟s ability, but overconfidence trips us up. Let us not underestimate others and check if our prejudice is not hiding behind the pride.When the judgement is weak, prejudices are strong. Prejudices are opinions we pick up from family, friends, society, media , religion or other sources.Moreover, everyone is a prisoner of his experiences, which lead him to fixed notions that may not always be true. No one can eliminate prejudices totallyenough to recognize them in our daily lives. “Pride comes before fall “ says the Bible. You become overconfident and arrogant with every success you achieve and then underestimate your opponents. This is the „Achilles heel‟ that brings about the downfall of mighty heroes or emperors.When we fail the pride supports us; when we succeed it betrays us.It is the arrogance that leads to destruction. The hindu epic „Ramayan‟ illustrates the downfall of pride . Ravan was a great scholar of all scriptures. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva.He had great physical powers and through his prowess in battle secured victory over devas ( Indian gods). he accumulated so much wealth from his victories that in his kingdom of Lanka all houses are said to have roofs of gold. Ravan had performed a terrible penance to please Lord Shiva, who told him to ask for any boon.Ravan said that he should not be killed by any deva,asura or gandharva.(who were all-powerful). lord Shiva granted the
boon. In his pride Ravan did not include humans or sub-humans in the boon.Ravan‟s pride led him to harass all and create many enemies. But because of the boon he could not be killed in a battle so far.. Finally, Lord Vishnu had to be born in human form as Ram. Ravan kidnapped his wife,Sita and in the battle with the human and apes army, Ravan was killed by Ram‟s arrow.Ramayan teaches us not to be proud and arrogant and not to underestimate opponents. We can justly feel good about our own or our near and dear one‟s achievements. Beyond that we should not be proud of wealth.These days we are asked to assert proudly that :”we are Gujaratis or Indians or Hindus etc. Have we done anything to be proud of? If we desire to overcome our pride and our prejudices, we should learn the virtue of tolerance. We should have a broad mind and ignore other people‟s weak points, while appreciating their strength. Even among family members we have to adjust‟ One who does not adjust and appreciate the viewpoint of others remains lonely and friendless.We always think we are right and knowledgeable, whereas others are wrong and ignorant.Our mistakes are insignificant while other people commit great blunders.Our activity and motives should be appreciated, but we are very miserly in praising good qualities in them. People working for social organizations or volunteering should be particularly tolerant They should meditate at the end of every day, find out their mistakes and try to improve in future.We should make a habit of listening carefully to what others say. Sympathetic listeners are always welcome in any group.People who blow their own trumpet are thought of as bores and avoided like plague. Another useful thing is to suspend our prejudices about people we meet for the first time and not have fixed ideas based on hearsay or previous bad experience with someone else.Do not make remarks like:” all strangers are bad or all easterners are weird.”Being a little humble and kind to others can build up good relationships.
Chapter 8 : Worry and Guilt
We all want security in life. We struggle in life to be free from worries and be secure.However since life comes with an unpredictable future, no one can be absolutely free from worries. The habit of worrying is like a slow fire that burns us slowly and ultimately destroys us. Our past is dead and gone; it cannot be revived however much we wish to. We have to learn our lessons from the past and let it go. We have to move ahead. But the future is not born yet and nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.Even a great hero like Ram, who was an „avatar‟ (human birth) of God did not know what was to happen the next day and that instead of being crowned a king, he would have to go in the forest for fourteen years. No matter what claims, the astrologers make, nobody can guess the future. Yet we mortals worry about our security and make provisions for the proverbial „rainy day‟.Instead of getting anxious and losing our sleep or becoming sick, why not concentrate all our energies in making our present a resounding success.Worrying will only diminish our energies and capacity, which prevents us from concentrating fully and achieving our goal. The antidote to worry is to exclude all thoughts and just concentrate fully on the task at hand.In the hindu „epic‟ Mahabharat, the guru (teacher) Dron tests his pupils in archery. He asks the same question to every student. “ What do you see?”. The students describe everything they see in detail, but the teacher is not happy and none is permitted to shoot the arrow.
Finally, Arjun , the favorite student and the protagonist of the epic replies:” i see nothing but the bird. Now I see only its eyes- nothing else.Guru is pleased with the disciple‟s one-pointed concentration and permits him to shoot the arrow. The arrow hits the bird‟s eye. When we are fully immersed in the task, we forget the time and the place and become the activity itself. The beauty of the dance is when the dancer becomes the dance.then we find fulfilment in whatever activity we undertake.This pouring of our self into work,makes our work a worship in the true sense. for such a man like Arjun, Lord Krishna himself agrees to be his charioteer. Worry becomes a habit with many of us. We just cannot stop worrying. For such people the maxim is :”I worry, so I am.”A villager was travelling by rail.The compartment was full and nobody offered him a seat. So he was standing with a heavy trunk on his head. Other passengers mocked him and said:” You can put down the baggage.” The villager said:” The train has so much load to carry; I do not want to increase the burden so I carry my load myself.” Everyone had a hearty laugh at the ignorant man.They explained that ultimately the train was carrying all the load.The villager said:” You are in this world; God carries its burden, but are you not carrying your individual burden (worries) on your heads?”Aren‟t we all like the ignorant villager? Guilt is another part of the past . we all have done things, we ought not to have done and have felt guilty subsequently.All religions take advantage of this part of human psychology,by making us feel guilty and unclean and then offering their product as the super-cleansing agent.. The feeling of guilt so overpowers us that it rules our actions in the present and the future. We need sometimes to visit the psychiatrist in order to overcome this nasty guilt. For the sins of Adam and Eve, who were tempted by the devil to eat the apple, the whole mankind is made to feel
guilty because the bible says:” the sins of the parens visit upon the children.” It is like calling a dog dirty and hanging him for being „dirty.‟ So do not feel guilty at all for anything your ancestors did or you did in the past. The past is there to teach us a lesson about the consequences of our behavior and change our behavior in future.So do not worry or feel guilty, enjoy the life that every new day brings you.
Chapter 9: Limit Your Expectations.
One of the main causes of our unhappiness is that we expect too much from others. Parents have expectations from their children that they study well, get good grades,be equally good in sports and other activities succeed in their profession and marry well and make them feel proud. The children expect their parents to provide all things they need and ask for and love and respect them too. The husband and wife expect love,respect,appreciation of their good points and overlooking weak points as well as taking care of their needs . Friends also have some expectations from one another. The higher our expectations are , the greater is the dejection we will suffer if our standard are not met. When our expectations fail, we become angry or depressed. We blame the other person and start losing or faith in him or her.The person will defend himself and blame us for not coming up to his or her expectations. In the end the relationship is soured and both parties are unhappy. It is therefore essential that we limit our expectations. We should carry on our duties properly and sincerely, but without expecting any return in immediate or distant future.The joy of doing our duty well and truly to the best of our abilities is enough to give us joy, is it not? The sun gives us light and heat, the clouds give us rain and rivers provide water for our needs. Does the nature ask for anything in return from us? The trees give us shade, fragrant flowers and fruits without expecting any return at all. We should learn from nature and give ourselves freely for the good of others around us without expecting any reward or even thanks. At times, the life may overwhelm us.At such moments, we should stand back, reflect on the situation and not allow circumstances to deflect us from our goal of happiness. We need to reset our priorities occasionally.
Let us help others as best as we can, but not impose our methods and ideas on anyone. Happy is the man who has the least expectations from others.Even making others happy with our actions should not be our aim. For everyone has the right to make himself or herself happy or unhappy as he or she wants. Please understand that no one can fulfil your expectations all the time. his circumstances, his mood may not be uniformly good. He might be tired , or stressed or need more psychological space.When we carry on our duties sincerely without expecting something in return, it makes us happy. Why spoil that happiness with or expectations. We might interpret the famous shlok of Geeta “Karmanye va adhikaraste “ in the sense of doing our duties in relationships without expecting any return.Then whatever you get as fruit will be a bonus.The nature provides us so many things necessary for us, but does not ask anything in return. Does the sun, the rain, the river or trees ask for anything from us in return? We should stand back occasionally , reflect on our behavior and reset our priorities keeping our main goal of happiness in mind.Help others as best as we can but not impose our thinking and ideas upon anybody. This is the way to guard our happiness.
Chapter 10: Stress Is The Enemy You Create.
What is stress that has become the bane of modern lifestyle?Everyone feels stressed these days.In simple language stress is when you have to handle more than you can.in more technical jargon, we can say that when there is a mismatch between our logical requiirements and our instictual needs , stress is produced in both body and the mind.Our body is normally balancing calm and anxiety, alertness and relaxation, logic and emotions. The body responds to stress by releasing hormones in the blood that quicken your breathing, speed up your heart and gives you a burst of energy.Stress is a normal response to a critical situation and subsides normally.But if the stress is caused too often or lasts too long, it is a signal for trouble.It produces headahes, migraines,backpain, stomach-upset and insomnia. Further stress may cause moodiness, anxiety or depression.Your performance get affected and your relationships are on the rock. What can we do about this problem? Every individual feels stress and responds to it.You have to figure out what it is that causes your stress. The take steps to reduce the stress.You can not get rid of stress altogether but you can reduce it within tolerable limits. The stress becomes a lifestyle because right from childhood a person is made to feel guilty, if he spends some time doing just nothing.He is told:” Don‟t just sit there do something.as adults, we shun sleep and try to do things. we may end up by losing our sleep and our biorhythm. Here are some suggestions that you may find useful: (1) Time-management: Do important things first. If you feel stressed do not accept additional responsibilities just to please or impress others.Refuse politely.
(2) Get rest; eat well what suits you and avoid what does not.Sleep for at least five to six hours daily. Take a -power-nap in the afternoon if that is possible. (3) Give up addictive habits like smoking ,drinking or gambling.Even long hours at TV or computer can be addictive. Do not burn your candle at both ends. Go to bed at fixed time every night. (4) Have a strong network of family and friends. Time spent in such social activities can reduce stress. (5) Take regular physical exercise. Even a good thirty minute walk can do immense good by releasing endorphins ( special chemicals) in the nervous system so that you feel good. (6) Keep a journal and note down about things that bother you. Express your feelings to someone you trust. (7) relax. Do „pranayam‟ (breathing exercises) and yoga. Regular practice every morning and evening for fifteen minutes can relax you so much that people around you will notice it. (8) Try a hobby on week-ends. For instance, light music can relax you. (9) Try prayer and meditation . We will deal with this topic in detail later. (10)Look at the lighter side of life. Remember” laughter is the best medicine”. It is free. (11)Do not feel guilt-ridden about past and worry too much about future. Learn to live in the present.Past is gone already and future is not there yet. So relax. (12) Try changing the things you can,but remember to accept those you can‟t change. (13) Live a simple life. Try to reduce your wants. The mystic Indian poet Kabeer says:” A person who does not want anything is the king of kings”.Do not try to impress others or compete with them. Simplicity will also keep you away from financial problems. (14) Cut out the negative relationships that produce too much stress.If the relationship with someone is incompatible, it is in the interest of both parties to go their own way. By remaining together such people would be miserable because these days people have a low tolerance limit. (15) Give up multi-tasking. This is the bane of modern times. You eat, talk on phone,check email, watch TV or talk to your kids , all at the same
time.But you are neither here nor there.You don‟t taste the food.Your sympathetic Nervous System is highly strung.You are unable to switch off your brain cortex, when you go to bed. You can‟t sleep, you don‟t relax.If you take sleeping pills or antidepressant drugs,they may help in the short run, but all of them produce side-effects in the long run. We have a long list of enemies of our Happiness. We have to work hard and continuously,but it is worth because nothing is more important than your Happiness. The truth is that we are powerless to influence many of the outcomes in our lives.The more we try to control the events and circumstances, the more we lose our calmness inevitably.we trigger our fear and vigilance systems, creating a body state of constant alertness( somewhat similar to the „red alert „declared after 9/11). This takes toll of the body and mind .As FDR said very appropriately:” We have nothing to fear but our fears.”So take a deep breath, calm your fears and put into effect some of the above-mentioned suggestions that appeal to you. I have described the stressful modern lifestyle in a short poem “Lost on the Highway”. I quote it below:
Lost on the Highway I am lost on the highwaygoing from nowhere to nowhere. Speed is my staple diet; acceleration is my breath. There is no break in my car, but I am in control I think. I have no eyes for the scenic route; all things move in the opposite direction. The road slides under my wheels;
everything is blurred like my thoughts. I am a taut ,violin-string that produces bad music. But I feel high on the hormones, surging through my veins. I am so busy that I have no time; wife kids or even myself. I am lost on the highway. What do you suggest to the character who is „ lost on the highway‟? I would say:” Don‟t just do something all the time.learn to sit quietly . take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the „scenic route.‟
Our philosophy of life is a very important factor that influences our lives. We act only ten percent of times; in ninety percent cases we react. Our reactions are nothing but the response of our mind to the situation and the circumstances.If we are optimistic, we say :“ the glass is half full.” Someone who is a pessimist will find that the glass is half empty. A person can make a killing at the casino.Even if he wins a big amount, after the initial euphoria wears off, he may not be happier than before if his attitude to life is negative. Another person, diagnosed of a fatal illness like cancer, may overcome the initial depression and appreciate the gift of life better than before if he has a positive bent. Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 1996. The prognosis was poor and a tumor metastasized to his brain and lungs. He underwent surgery and extensive chemotherapy. He survived and won his battle with the dreaded cancer. Not only that he returned to his favorite sport of cycling , practised hard every day and went on to win the „Tour de France‟ for seven consecutive years from 1999 to 2005.Tour de France is a rigorous sport that lasts for about three weeks.Now that is an example of great attitude! Let us see good qualities and appreciate good points of people around us. Our appreciation will produce goodwill in them. They will respect you and be helpful to you.No one is perfect. Everybody has weak points. We should disregard the weakness and encourage the good qualities in people we come in contact with. Within a group, such attitude creates mutual sympathy and confidence. Everyone likes to be praised.Praise always strikes a responsive chord in the other person‟s heart.Greet people with a smile and they will
reward you with their smile.In both the brains, chemicals called endorphins are released. Both feel happy.Always be full of hope. Think that the best in your life is yet to come.Don‟t be disheartened by ups and downs of life. You can be happy inspite of them. Anyone who adopts such positive attitude, lives a long, fulfilling life. He shares his happiness with anyone he happens to contact. His home is „heaven on earth‟.Rather, the heaven revolves around him, wherever he happens to be.
Chapter 12 :Concentrate Your Energy.
Imagine that your brain has several compartments or pigeonholes and place each one of your problems in a separate pigeonhole.When you think about solving a particular problem open its pigeonhole. Only after this job is done, you should open another compartment - not before. By this exercise you will concentrate your mind‟s energy on solving one problem at a time with total concentration and efficiency. If the problem is not solved at the end of the day, no worry, go to sleep at the usual time. In the sleep , the problem may get solved by intuition or inspiration. The great scientist Kekule was working on finding the structure of Benzene for several weeks, but had no success. Then during sleep he dreamt of several snakes intertwining into a hexagonal shape. The dream was repeated for two more nights,which inspired Kekule to propose a hexagonal closed-ring structure for Benzene. If even after trying all the approaches, if the problem is not solved, do not upset or disheartened. Take a break; pray to the God within you for help.”God , I tried my best to solve the problem to the best of my ability given to me,but could not succeed. Now, I hand it over to you. It‟ your problem, not mine.” If you desire to be happy, do not get into the habit of multi-tasking, which is really a curse of the modern lifestyle. Multi-tasking is doing several things at the same time like eating lunch, watching TV, talking on phone, tending to the baby and checking the email.Our brains are not designed for such an overload.The Sympathetic Nervous System or brain‟s frontal lobes secrete hormones that raise the heart rate and blood-pressure. The accumulated stress causes various problems like back ache, stomach upset, migraine and disturb the sleep pattern. Any drugs to treat these symptoms will add their own side-effects, compounding the problem.
Prolonged stress can cause ulcers, anxiety and depression. Every third person in the US has to visit psychiatrist. So if you want to be happy, say NO to multi-tasking.
Chapter 13. Do Not Be Judge of Others.
We human beings have a peculiar habit. We are more interested in what others are doing. We keep an eye on our friends, relatives and neighbors as to what they are doing and what they are not. Particularly,the ladies have this habit of poking their nose in the affairs of others.We keep an account of what they do and what they do not. We discuss them behind their backs and criticise them . The neighbors and relatives return the compliment, keeping an eye on our activities and criticising us.This is a meaningless and malicious habit that is widespread in the Indian Society. You are the master of your own life. Why do you want to imitate others? If music makes you happy, play music or learn how to play a musical instrument, but do not send your kid to violin classes just because your neighbor sends his kids. Don‟t make your daughter take dance classes just because all your friends send their daughters to dance classes. Don‟t buy SUV you might not need only to get even with your colleagues.Live happily according to your nature and choices, but within your means. I have heard people say:” these things have to be done to maintain our social status.What will people think otherwise about us.That we can‟t afford to invite a thousand guests at our daughter‟s marriage party or make lavish decorations .” In such one-upmanship people spend money foolishly serving seventy different kinds of „mukhwas‟( after dinner mouth-freshners). Then we prejudge people who are strangers or who speak different language or follow a different religion (by heresay.) without any experience. We think of Punjabis as fun-loving, simple-minded.All Muslims as fanatics or Delhi people as „thugs‟, Gujjus as cunning traders etc.We gossip about celebrities and discuss their flings and affairs with great interest. We love
pointing finger at people but forget that when we point one finger at someone, the other four are pointed at us. Jesus Christ was passing through a village. In the center, a large crowd had gathered and there was great excitement. Christ asked someone what the matter was. He said the people had gathered to punish a prostitute, who had spoiled the young lads of their village. Christ said:” the woman has committed a sin. She should be punished by being stoned.Let the person who has not committed any sin cast the first tone at her.” The people looked at each other. There was not a single sinless person in the crowd! Do not criticise others who could not learn as much as you because they did not have favorable circumstances like you had.The pride of knowledge takes toll of humbleness.Here is a story that teaches us not to overvalue our achievements. A simple boatman was ferrying a great scholar and professor across river Ganga.The professor asked the boatman:” Have you heard of Shakespeare?” No, sir, replied the boatman. “ Well, a third of your life has gone waste. (paanimen gayee) . After another ten minutes he asked : ” Have you heard about Einstein?”. “ Sir, I am poor and illiterate. I know nothing accept rowing my boat to meet two ends meet.” said the boatman. The professor said with mock pity,” another third of your life has gone paanimen”(wasted). In another ten minutes, dark clouds gathered and a storm was brewing.The boatman asked the prof.:” sir, can you swim?” „No, said the learned man. Was too busy gathering knowledge and had no time to learn swimming.” The boatman said:” Well, now your entire life is about to go in water!”
Chapter 14 :Concentrate on the Present.
It is human psychology to remember the past events.If we remember pleasant memories,past serves as an encouragement.But most of us are unable to forget bad experiences or nightmares from the past; we also feel guilty about the mistakes that we committed in the days that are already gone. This mentality is like crying over spilt milk.No amount of repentance can bring the milk back. what has already happened cannot be undone. The arrow that left the bow cannot be called back.The sand of time has slipped through our hands; you cannot get it back. Likewise, the future is not yet there. No amount of worrying about what will happen in future is not going to affect it.Tomorrow‟s sun has not risen; so why lose sleep over what the weather will be like tomorrow? Only thing we have in our hands is the present moment.So let us concentrate our energies in the present and be fully immrsed and involved in whatever we are doing right now.Do not sap your energy with guilt or worry.Concentrate on today. This is your day and you have to make the best use of the time you have in your hands. Another important factor is our attitude towards the task. If we are absorbed in the problem in hand, we do not even feel the lapse of time.We are said to be in the flow when we are totally immersed in the work or play.Concentration on the present with a loving attitude brings about the condition of „flow.‟Sportspersons, athletes , musicians are in the flow when they give their best performances. Did you notice how the olympic 100 m. race was won by Husein Bolt in an easy-looking flow condition? While other competitors seem to be huffing and puffing, Bolt was simply sailing through!That was full concentration on the present moment.
Chapter 15 : Give up addictions
Getting addicted to anything creates problems in life. You might have tried drinking, smoking or drugs in youth , for excitement or due to peer pressure. Any activity that you carry on for three weeks becomes a habit and any habit carried on for long time becomes addictive.However, what creates the problem can lead us to the remedy. Any addictive habit can be kicked if you remain firm enough not to indulge in your habit, come what may for a period of three weeks.Then the habit will wither away. This method called „cold turkey‟ requires a disciplined, firm mind and a support group that does not criticise you, but encourages you in your efforts.I had an opportunity of trying it for kicking smoking habit that I had picked up when I was out of India for a year fifty years ago. Moreover there are self-help social groups like “Alcoholics Anonymous “ that are helpful because all members of the group are trying to fight the same addiction and they bolster each other‟s efforts. Just calculate how much money you have spent on this habit and has it brought you any happiness? Surely not. In fact, your near and dear ones are so unhappy because of it. This amount can be helpful in meeting some of their needs or if you are quite well off, you can use the amount to pay a poor student‟s fees or buy medicines for a poor patient. There is so much poverty around us.God has put us in favorable circumstances.Should we not help other less fortunate, needy persons?Once you make up your mind on giving up addiction, you have won half the battle. Just continue to e firm for three weeks and the monster of addiction will run away from you.
A well-known social worker Ravishankar Maharaj had been working among poor villagers, persuading them to give up up their drinking.One stubborn farm laborer argued that even though he wanted to give up drinking the drink did not leave him. “ Is it so?” asked the respected Maharaj. He continued with the small talk. Then all of a sudden, he clung to a lamp post and appealed to the villager to help him.The villager tried hard, but could not loosen the vice-like grip. He got exasperated and said:” Maharaj, you are holding the post and not leaving it.Why don‟t you let go of it?” Maharaj released his grip and said with a smile:” Likewise, why don‟t you let go of the drinking?” The villager understood and gave up the drinking habit as he was now motivated to kick his habit. If you want to be happy, say no to addictions. Don‟t think that drinking ,smoking or drugs are the only addictions. So many of us are addicted to our work. we just cannot give up thinking about work and working all the time. Now with the internet and cell-phones,this addiction has even become worse. Even on vacations, you take your work-stress with you. Do you realize that you are stealing time that belongs to your family, especially your kids? How lonely they feel when the parents have no time for them?They think their parents do not love them and blame themselves for the situation.They try first to get the attention of the parents through mischief, fight or breaking things. If they are ignored they try to find love outside and may fall in bad company and take to drugs, other bad habits, even theft and crime. So for the sake of your own family, give up the work, TV or internet addictions too.! I have even come across case, when the husband or wife feels neglected because of these mental addictions and feels that he or she is no longer loved. They quarrel over minor things and finally the matter comes to a head when the aggrieved spouse files for a divorce. Is your addiction so inevitable that you risk your relationship and love for it? Think about it while there is still time or you will regret later.
Chapter 16: Work Hard; Give Up Lethargy.
The biggest reason for our failure is plain lethargy or not trying enough. A lazy person postpones his work to tomorrow, that never comes. He can never carry out any responsibility in time. When he fails, he blames an indifferent God or inimical stars, but God only helps those who help themselves. In ancient times, the students had to stay at the Guru‟s Ashram for learning and getting knowledge and wisdom. One boy was so lazy that he did not study at all, despite the Guru‟s best efforts. (There are such students in every class.)Exasperated with the lethargy the Guru threw him out of the school. The boy was going back home. He was thinking about the problem. He felt thirsty and went to a well. As he was drawing water from the well, he noticed that the rim of the well had deep markings made by the rope for drawing water.He thought:” if the inert well can retain the impression of the rope, why can my mind not retain the impressions of what I learn?”. He realized that his lethargy was to blame, went back to the ashram and fell at the Guru‟s feet weeping.. guru gave him a last chance. The lazy student worked really hard for long hours and became the great sanskrit scholar:Panini. Success in any field is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration. Do not give up. Just persevere until you succeed. There is a story of a king, who lost his kingdom in a battle with his enemies. He had to run away to save his life. He was very much distressed and in a self-pity mood.He was hiding in a cave. In the cave, he saw a spider trying to build his web along the wall. He slipped, climbed again, slipped,but did not give up until he finally succeeded. The king learnt a lesson. “ If this small insect does not give up, why should I give up hope and stop trying? Inspired by the spider‟s
behavior, the king gathered a fresh army, fought the enemies and regained his kingdom.On your way to happiness, you have to try hard all the time and finally you will succeed in your goal. A pearl diver does not get a pearl, the first time he dives . But he persists, taking all the risks to his own life and continues the search. He fights the depth of the sea and the bloodthirsty sharks with dogged determination. In the end he finds the pearl. If God delays success, he does not deny it, but tests your perseverance and dedication .
Chapter 17 : Accept the Change; Keep the Balance
It is human nature to desire security. But life means change. Nothing remains unchanged in life. What you were yesterday, you are not today; and what you are today, you cannot remain tomorrow. Life changes from birth, growth, stagnancy, decay and death. We cannot avoid these stages, nor can we remain fixed at any one stage.Our body and all the parts constituting it change regularly - some daily, some monthly others annually. The worn out cells,are replaced by others, new blood is formed. Bones, muscles, organs, nerves everything is subject to change. An infant may cling to its mother for security, but as the child grows, it wants to experience and explore things on its own.The closeness and safety are balanced with the mental and physical growth of the individual. Love is therefore a commitment to the growth of a child or a loved one.It is not a narrow sense of possession or control. We reap what we sow.But we tend to blame others for our problems and predicament and try to exonerate ourselves from the blame. “ It‟s not my fault, others don‟t cooperate or understand me.” “What can I do, my stars are not favorable?” we often hear such comments. We find a scapegoat in spouse,boss, colleague or friend. We should fight to change whatever we can, but have the wisdom to accept what we cannot. Nothing is permanent in life. Both good things and bad circumstances will change.Just keep your cool and grab the opportunities, when favorable winds blow in your direction. Another problem we all have is that we desire pleasure and shun any pain whatsoever. When you ask for pleasure, pain comes as a part of the package. overindulgence in anything can cause pain. Stuff yourself with your favorite dish and inevitably you will suffer indigestion. Pain in fact is only a warning signal that attracts attention to the problem present in our
system. If the problem persists, then we will have a chronic illness or even a depression. We suffer unnecessarily because we try to avoid or shun pain.When you suffer do not ask „why me?‟ and feel victimized. Dr. Stephen Hawking suffers from hemiplagia (paralysis from waist down) and is confined to a wheelchair, but he has made immense contribution to astro-physics by discovering the existence of „ black holes‟. A disabled athlete , Oscar Pistorius, from South Africa ran with two artificial feet in men‟s 4x400 m. relay race and received ovation. Let us not succumb to the pains, take it as a challenge and overcome it instead of whimpering.
Chapter 18: Think before you Speak.
Words leave deep marks on other people. Once we utter the words, we cannot retract them.Words are like arrows released from the bow. So we should think of the consequences they will have before we utter them. Never hurt anybody‟s feelings knowingly.If you have hurt others unknowingly, look into their eyes and say you are really sorry. The pandavas, protagonists in the Indian epic, Mahabharat had built a great palace in their new capital, Indraprasth. All kings were invited to its inauguration. the palace floor was a great work of art. Through optical illusion, one would see water where there was floor and floor where there was water. Everyone including Pandava‟s antagonist, Duryodhan was fooled.by the trick and their clothes were soaked with water. Seeing this , Queen Draupadi mocked Duryodhan saying:”Blind father would have blind sons” This one sentence hurt Duryodhan so much that he defeated Pandavas through cheating in a game of dice.the Pandavas lost their kingdom and had to spend twelve years in the forest. The proud queen was disrobed before the Kaurava assembly. Unguarded words can produce such terrible consequences. It is difficult to control what we speak. The only control we have is before we speak. After shooting off our mouth, no amount of damage control can help us. You can ignore what you see, unlisten to what you hear, but once you open your mouth,things are beyond remedy.So weigh your words before you utter them.Keep away from arguments that my upset people. You can win an arguments, but you might
lose friends.Avoid bragging about your achievements and speaking ill of others behind their back. Being stingy with words may be good for our happiness.
Do Not Feel Inferior:
Don’t Compare yourself to Others.
We humans have a very bad habit of comparing ourselves with others. we compare our children,wife or husband and families with other and feel inferiority , guilt or jealousy. We have dealt with guilt and jealousy elsewhere. Here we will concentrate on our feeling of inferiority to others with respect to looks, talents, riches, education or knowledge, their social success etc. God is the greatest creative artist. He has created each model differently because he has endowed everyone to be unique. No one can compare with you. You are a unique piece of God‟s art. So do not feel inferior in any way and insult your creator.Every person has some special gift. Some people are good at sports, others at arts or literature or music. Some are good at cooking, others care for gardening. Some people are appreciated for their unique quality of empathizing with others and some people listen to you with such care that it feels good just to talk to them.
With some individuals, you may feel relaxed and peaceful even if they do not utter a word. They have a compassion for others.Feel proud of any talent you have, develop that god-given gift and use it for the benefit of people around you. Sharing yourself with others is a rare and appreciated quality in these days when people are afraid of others and withdraw into a shell . Thus they feel lonely among the crowd of faces. You may be in any profession, pour yourself into your work or your hobby create something - may be a new recipe- share it with others. They will appreciate it and you will feel good too.!Developing your selfconfidence as you go, you will become better and better at your plus points.to develop your poential fully is like worshipping God. It is only through creative work that we can pay a true homage to our Creator. That
is why perhaps we have a saying that:” Work is Worship.”Work as an instrument in the hands of God and enjoy yourself at the same time pleasing your maker too! Do not worry and complain if you are not on the top of the heap. God has bestowed Nature‟s gifts for all. We can enjoy blue sky, sunset, breaking waves on the beach, fragrant and colorful flowers, beautiful rainbow, chirping birds.All these things are free. Nobody owns them and you don‟t pay anything to enjoy natural beauty. Do not compare with others and ruin your mood and God‟s mood. Run your race against yourself; not with other rats.
Chapter 20 : Remember Good Things.
In any life, there are memories of good events and bad events.Remember the good memories and go over them, when you are down. By enjoying the good memories of the past, your attitude towards life becomes positive.Also if there are any bad memories,it is better to learn whatever lesson it has to teach and forget the bad times. Always see the brighter side of life. Think and act positively. Read inspirational books and try to adopt and practise whatever appeals to you.Everything appears green when you view things through green glasses.When our attitude turns positive, life becomes an evergreen journey.Compared to the countless millions in the world, who are poor and do not eat two square meals,or suffer illness because they have no money for treatment or cannot send their children to school, we are so fortunate. God made man as the crown of all his creations.He showered all blessings on him.But there was a risk that he would become arrogant , proud and power-mad and abuse the God-given gifts for destruction. So God said :” let me hide his happiness far away from him.But being sharp, he will find it even if I hide it at the bottom of the ocean or at the core of the earth.” Finally after much thought , God hid the human happiness deep within his heart. Being an extrovert, man looked everywhere but could not find it.Only the wise person, who dives deep within is able to get the pearl of happiness.
Chapter 21: Critics Are Well-wishers
Whatever you may do or do not do, there will always be some criticism. You are damned if you do and damned if you do not .For anything you do or do not , there will always be some criticism. Here is a story that illustrates this point very well. A father and son were going to the market with their donkey. It was a hot summer day and the temperature was above 100 degrees. The old man sat on the donkey and young boy was walking beside the donkey. They came across some people who commented: “ What a heartless man this one. He is riding the donkey in comfort and makes the slender boy walk in the sweltering heat. “ The man felt bad and he asked the son to ride the donkey and he started walking. They had gone another mile, when they met another group of people who said:” what an irresponsible young man this is. He lets the old father walk in the hot sun and himself rides the donkey.” The son felt bad about the remarks and looked at the father. They thought about what the two groups had said and both rode the donkey.Another mile along the road, they met a third group of women who exclaimed:” See how heartless these people are. They are both riding the donkey and the poor animal is carrying such a heavy burden in in this intolerable heat.” Now both felt bad . They got down and tied the donkey with rope to a long stick and carried it along . This story illustrates the attitude of the critics.We should have a thick skin and not be unduly perturbed by criticism.There is another way . Take the criticism as a challenge and develop your abilities . The critics point out our weaknesses and drawbacks and render a valuable service to us.We find the praises sweet and criticism bitter, but bitter medicine can be
god for health.An overdose of praise destroys our sense of proportion, whereas criticism restores the balance.It prevents our ego from being puffed up. We should thank God for the critics for they serve as disguised well-wishers.They throw light on our deficiencies and inspire us towards perfection.If we thus make friends with our critics, nobody can stop our progress.Further, we should remember the pain that criticism causes us and refrain from criticising others under the guise of telling the truth. Social workers should refrain from pulling others down because such behavior introduces politics in the field of charitable social service.
Chapter 22: Hobbies and Voluntary Service
„All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.‟ We learnt this proverb in the primary school, but we take our work so seriously, that most of us don‟t know how to relax. Our idea of relaxing is being a couch potato and sitting in front of the television. In order to relax, a person must cultivate a few hobbies like cooking, gardening, bird-watching,hiking,reading,stamp-collecting,painting. There are thousands of hobbies;choose a few and cultivate them well before retirement. You may be in the active, sports right now, but keep some less active hobbies for the time,when your body will be capable of less strenuous activity.The hobbies are a relaxing pastime and they provide happy moments amidst the stress of life. Another idea is to volunteer your services for a social organization. You can begin volunteering once a week at your children‟s school. This will keep both you and your kids happy.Later when you are about to retire volunteer to serve at hospitals, senior homes,orphanages or other social organization. Volunteering is a great retirement activity that provides you with a good support group and the satisfaction of helping the less fortunate people. In the third world countries, there is so much poverty and lack of good education , poor health facilities, lack of medical care that there is a tremendous demand for volunteers.If you are not in good shape in old age, you can help these institutions with their charity drives by talking to your friends and colleagues. We are by nature self-centered and greedy. these are toxins of our mind. In one medical study, it was found that self-centered people were likely to suffer coronary diseases. Helping others will make you self-
satisfied and cheerful.Those around you will be pleasantly surprised by the positive change in you. When you are involved in social service, take care,not to let your left hand know what the right is doing. Even good deeds tend to boost your ego and be counterproductive to your happiness.Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel Prize winner says:” Only those who serve others are really happy.” Be happy by keeping others happy.
Chapter 23: Be Friendly; Share Joy.
There is a proverb:” Laugh and the world will laugh with you; cry and you will cry alone.”This shows that people are willing to share your happiness but no one wants to share your misfortune. Happiness increases by sharing it with others. If there is a birthday or marriage anniversary or some auspicious occasion in your family, you can multiply your happiness by offering to host a meal for an orphanage or destitute home. thus you can increase your joy by including the less unfortunate beings in your celebration. I shared my seventieth birthday with inmates of an old age home and enjoyed sharing the lunch with them. These days gentleness has almost vanished from our life. Because of a stressful lifestyle, people glare at each other and get upset for no reason. We give priority to our rights and fight for them, we do not care for the rights of others.The moral values are breaking down because of cutthroat competition and any means are employed to succeed. Parents find children burdensome in achieving their career goals. The children, when they become adults, find old parents a burden and a liability.Teachers do not have interest in teaching during school hours, but are more keen on earning side income from tuition classes. „No man is an island, entire of himself‟ says poet John Donne. We all need friends ; we need cooperation and help from others to succeed in life and be happy. Empathy is important quality in creating happy relationship. This means suspending our judgement and putting ourselves in the other person‟s shoes.People who have a good support group around them are more likely to survive heart attacks, stroke or cancer than the lonely souls. If we give a little respect to a person, smile, wish him a good day or thank him or her sincerely, our gentleness finds a responsive chord
in his heart.Even listening sympathetically to someone creates a goodwill for you. If we sow seeds of friendly behavior, people go out of their way to be helpful.Let us start showing respect and friendliness to our family members and friends.Later we can expand the circle and include everyone we come across. Others in turn will become friendly and there will be a ring of goodwill and happiness around us. Respecting our fellow-humans,is a way of making the God happy, for He is the father of us all.
Chapter 24: Be Contented.
This is an age of discontentment and disaffection.The fire of wants is slowly roasting us. Even if we have enough wealth, power, or fame mentally we remain poor and unhappy. There is no remedy for this situation which we have created knowingly. In every field of activity, there is a cut-throat competition and one-upmanship.This rat-race have pervaded business, economics, sports, social and political fields.Even the so-called saints are not free from it for there is a race to build bigger and costly temples among them . In such times, a man who lives a plain and simple life is a real saint! There is a story about a poor cobbler named Raidas. He did his lowly job sincerely and sang bhajans praising the God as he worked. One day a richest man in the town came to the cobbler. He wanted to go on a pilgrimage. In those days of bullock carts, the pilgrimage was hazardous and took years. So the rich man requested the cobbler to keep in custody a touchstone (parasmani- which could turn anything it touched into gold.Why? because the poor cobbler had the reputation of a saint in the town.The cobbler was working,, so he asked the rich man to place the touchstone on a shelf. The rich man went to the pilgrimage. He returned after several years and requested Raidas to return his touchstone. The cobbler said that it was lying on the shelf, where the rich man has placed it. The rich man was impressed by the sincere honesty and contentment of the saint.He fell at his feet and made him „guru‟.Contentment is a wealth that nobody can take away .The contented man is a „ king of kings.”
Chapter 25: Take Yourself Lightly
The biggest problem with our happiness is that we take ourselves far too seriously.We analyze and judge others and and give them big brotherly advice- generally unsought. The children are regularly at the receiving end. Parents, teachers,relatives, neighbors and guests are all too liberal with advice.We should give up our penchant for reforming our family, friends, colleagues, community and the world at large. Remember that „ charity begins at home „ and try your advice first and then offer it . Do not have great ambition of shining s a sun; even a small lamp is good enough to show two steps ahead.Then others will learn themselves from your example and light their own lamps.If you are after fame, even good deeds will blow up your ego. Only selfless service is good for the ego, the rest is hypocrisy and self-deception. Take all your grand notions about yourself with a pinch of salt.If we think a little objectively , we will see that the efforts of our ego at selfaggrandisement are really laughable.So we should occasionally have a hearty laugh at ourselves.This will help us in retaining our sense of proportion. Learn to look at the lighter side of life. Imagine yourself slipping over a banana peel. Can you laugh at the picture of yourself spread over the road and others having a laugh at you. Can you join them in a hearty laugh or do you feel annoyed? if you are the few who can have a laugh at themselves, you don‟t even need to read this book for your happiness. You already have something that brings happiness in life. View funny movies or videos and read jokes or join the several „laughter clubs‟ that have sprung all over the town. Initially, it feels foolish to laugh artificially, but in no time, you start laughing genuinely from the heart. Cultivate friendship with people who are optimistic, positive and smile or
laugh often. In their company, you will laugh and be happy. This is the reason why laughter is called „ the best medicine.‟ Laugh and the troubles will run away from you.People will seek your company for your laughter. I was indeed very fortunate to have the friendship of „late‟ Mahadev (Babasaheb) Kale. He always looked at the lighter side of life and laughed at the difficulties. His wife „late‟ Sumatiben joined him in laughter and often they laughed and pulled each other‟s leg.I learned so many things - particularly to have a hearty laugh at life‟s problems. That is why you will find that this book is dedicated to my friend, philosopher and guide, Baba(saheb). There is a story about taking things lightly. A gypsy was reclining under a tree, when a businessman passed by in his new sports car. he stopped the car and commented:” What a lazy man! Why don‟t you do some work?‟ “ What for?” asked the vagabond in return. “ So that you can earn some money.” replied the busy man. “ What for?” retorted the wandered. “ So that you can enjoy life at leisure.” says the man of the world. “ But that”s what I am doing right now.” tells the homeless man.
Chapter 26: Develop Compassion.
Every person that we come across in our life wants to be happy,just as we want to be happy ourselves.Yet none has succeeded in being happy at all times. People suffer in life due to their own nature or their expectations from others. Because we have similar experiences in life, we should be able to step into the shoes of others and feel compassion for them. In fact, our ultimate goal should be to develop compassion for all life. Since we are connected to our family, friends and colleagues,we can start along our path by developing compassion for them.Compassion is a basic ingredient of love. Love and compassion for our spouse produces lifelong understanding and happiness. Mark Twain says:”No man or woman really knows what a perfect love is until they have been married for 25 years.” Without compassion, our other good qualities remain only on the surface. With compassion, the more you give, the more you will receive. Compassion and sympathy become the basis of mutual trust between human beings. The people who come to you for your riches and power will leave you like a sinking ship at the downturn of your fortune. Only those you have treated with kindness and compassion will remain with you through the thick and thin of life. There is a story to illustrate the idea of compassion. Dayanand Saraswati was a social and religious reformer who founded Arya Samaj. His plain-speaking created many enemies among the conservative people of blind faith. They plotted to kill him. They bribed Swamiji‟s cook to add a slow poison to his food with the idea that nobody could point a finger at them.Dayanand‟s health started deteriorating.Some hakeems (Unani doctors) diagnosed that this might be due to poison in his food.
Swamiji called his cook alone to his bedside and said to him:” Jagannath, if people come to know what you did, they will tear your limbs.Take this money and run away to another country before it is too late.” This is compassion of a great man for one who poisoned him. A feeling of love and compassion for others is an elixir for health, long life, happiness and peace of mind.
Chapter 27: Accept Yourself; Accept Others.
In the modern age our paradigm has been „ man against nature‟ or „ self against others‟, „individuals against the society‟, good against evil‟. This thinking has divided the humanity.We need to break down the walls that divide us and build bridges that unite us. We have to build an inclusive society that works on the basis of cooperation among all its members. We have to first accept the diversity among people and respect it and then work out a mode of living that brings happiness to many- not just privileged few. Everybody has a right to live in his own way, but nobody has a right to harm the others. In nature we observe symbiosis, living together for mutual benefit. The plants produce their food from sunlight,water and carbon dioxide and release Oxygen for other species including men.The bacteria live on the roots of legumes and in return provide nitrogenous fertilizers to the plants. The inert and lower organisms lie in cooperation. The birds and the bees help the plants in pollination and the plants help them with food. We humans who pride on calling ourselves „ the best of all life forms are not able to live in peace and goodwill with our neighbors. Instead we are on the verge of destroying ourselves, all species and the entire planet through our pollution and our destructive weapons. There have been many great inventions , but nobody has yet invented a wonder drug that induces „humanity „in the human species. Mothers and teachers had this job of inculcating good virtues in the young ones through their own example.Now mothers are busy with their careers, whereas teachers are occupied with coaching classes.Education is a massproduct from our school-factories. In order to promote ourselves, we are ready to sacrifice our family, friends or even the country.We are even bent on destroying Mother Earth. We are digging our own grave.
Let us control ourselves and our self-centered nature and look to the interest of those around us, while promoting our own interests.Let us think of the long-term interests of all humans, all life on earth and put it even before our short-term benefit.Let us be human first and everything else afterwards.All progress without humanity is like several zeros without one in front of them.Only through our human qualities can we achieve a lasting peace and happiness for ourselves and our future generations.
Chapter 28: Playact A Role.
We are creatures of habit and are bound by our nature to a great extent. When asked to change any habit, the first reaction is:‟ It is my nature to be angry. How can I change it?‟ Well, there is a way and it is fun too. Let us play agame. Imagine that for one day in a week, you have to play the role of a gentle, kind, good-natured person. Now give the role your hundred percent. You will enjoy the role-playing and it will become a big hit with your family and friends.Why not try playing the role twice a week after some practice? The success and the ovation will encourage you and slowly, you will find that you are becoming a different person altogether. People who meet you after a month or two will be shocked and refuse to believe that you are the same old person.You were a pauper then, now you are a prince.Your personality is a process of acquiring habits. Every process can be changed. Surely, you can free yourself from the old conditioning and remake your personality as you want.You cannot become an athlete or a ballerina overnight. It takes years of long practice and tough will.But is not your own peace of mind and happiness a goal, worthy enough for such a hard work?
Chapter 29: Be Religious In True Sense.
Religion was originally intended to be a bridge connecting the people all over the world. It taught that all humans are one since they are all children of one father, God. Then as time went by, the interpretation of religion was left to the „holy books‟ ,‟ churches‟ and their „holy men.‟The free-flowing river of acceptance then became a cesspool of monopoly and bigotry.Wars were fought in the name of religion and those who questioned the establishment were persecuted. The original bridge metamorphosed into walls dividing people in the name of God. he religion was confined to churches, mosques and temples. Fear was created in the name of God about the dire consequences of questioning the blind faith. Pandit Sukhlalji, a religious philosopher and teacher says that religion depends on the quality of the soul. Even an agnostic can be deeply religious! True religion means to have sympathy and compassion for all living beings, to wish them well and not to hurt anyone in any way through our actions.True religion consists in doing our duties sincerely and to the best of one‟s ability. Running away from life and calling it an illusion is not true religion. Hazrat Bayazid was going on a Haj (pilgrimage) to Mecca.He had saved money for several years to have two hundred dinars necessary for the holy journey and was excited that a cherished dream of his was about to be fulfilled.Next morning , a poor man came to his house. “ I have heard that you are leaving on a Haj. My wife and six children have eaten nothing for a week . We are homeless and helpless because I have no work. I need two hundred dinars to take care of all my problems.” Bayzid got up without uttering a single word. He brought a bag
of two hundred dinars and gave it to the suffering man and said:” Allah knows that your need is greater than mine.Instead of going around Kaba seven times, I will go around you seven times for the Merciful one lives in every human heart.” Seeing God in fellow-humans is true religion. Those who follow humanity as religion are much nearer to the so-called religious people who ignore human suffering by immersing themselves in rituals and worships . People who act against humanity are evil, even if they believe in religion. Not only do they harm others, but they harm themselves and can never find happiness or peace of mind.If you follow human religion, no matter if you have no other achievements to your credit, you will be happy and peaceful.
Chapter 30: Meditate Every Day
Normally our mind is a busy hub of thoughts that run an endless stream; simultaneously a process of judging and pigeonholing them is going on. Meditation is relaxed state of mind that allows us to observe our thoughts in a slowed down flow and delink them from judgement.When this happens we feel relaxed and calm. Meditation is an integration of the physical, rational, emotional and spiritual aspects of our personality. It leads to self-discovery and actualization of our potential. Meditation should be done regularly every day (twice if possible) for ten to fifteen minutes in a quiet place free from any interruption. When we start meditation, the mind overflows with a jumble of thoughts. Do not get upset with unpleasant thoughts; do not try to suppress them. Observe quietly as if you are watching a movie on your mind-screen. Just be a witness of your mental activity without judging. When you practice daily with patience, your mind will slowly calm down. The turbulence of thoughts will slow down to a gentle flow. There are three main types of meditation- focussed attention; open- monitoring; and automatic self-transcending.In the focussed style we fix our attention ona particular image fo candle, flower,symbol of „Om‟. If other thoughts intrude, attention is gently redirected to the focus.Openmonitoring involves non-critical observation of breath or thoughts and feelings withholding any reaction.Automatic self-transcending meditation is effortless, repetition of a „mantra‟.With regular practice , the mantra is transcended to a „samadhi-like‟ state.
It has been scientifically observed that meditation produces alpha waves in the brain.This results in lowering the heartbeat, slows down breathing and lowers the blood pressure. Meditating person hence feels calm and peaceful.When we meditate regularly, there is a feeling of bliss that spills over our entire day.The slower alpha waves are integrated with faster beta waves to produce a coherence of brain waves . Any comfortable, relaxed position is good for meditation.Indian and Buddhist meditators use the cross-legged lotus pose.(padmasan). Follow the evening meditation with „shavasan‟, lying in a relaxed position on your back and noticing the parts of th body one by one from head to the feet. You will get a nice and relaxed sleep and wake up fresh next morning. There are several gifts that the practice of meditation brings you.Better health, longer life, self-actualization and personal transformation.It seems unbelievable but all this happens because we are what we repeatedly do.Good habits shape who we are.People always have the urge to do something and so they cannot enjoy the feeling of just ‟being‟.Meditation quietens the inner tumult and brings peace and calm. People need to go on a vacation to get the stress out of their system. But with cell-phones and internet there is no respite from the stress. With meditation, you don‟t need to go anywhere to seek retreat. It is possible to find a retreat within yourself at any hour.Meditation provides this holiday home within your soul. Meditation relieves the stress and people practising meditation could stop or reduce their antianxiety drugs and sleeping pills and enjoy a natural refreshing sleep.Often meditation releases the excess emotion around an issue and you can handle the problems better with less stress. If you believe in religion, you find it useful to pray and meditate. Do not make your prayer a wish-list before God. Prayer is gratitude, dedication and love. It is a request for guidance. You connect yourself to God ( which is your higher self ) for inspiration, self- confidence and efficiency.
Here I would like to share with you how I meditate. This might serve as a help in deciding what type of meditation may suit you.I meditate in the morning . Before meditation I do warm-up exercises for ten minutes. The I do breathing exercises „pranayam‟ for another fifteen minutes. Finally I do meditation or „dhyan‟. For meditation I sit in a lotus pose, which keeps my back straight. I express my gratitude to the Creator(God),my parents, teachers and my family members individually. “ I thank my Creator for everything He does for me.”etc.Then I ask for forgiveness from every family member and forgive them in turn. Next I assert that I love each one of them. e.g. “ I love and accept my wife as she is” etc.Then I meditate on love and acceptance of my past, present and future .I also love and accept my body, mind, „prana‟( life-breath) „prem‟ (universal love) and „atma‟ or soul. this takes another fifteen minutes. I feel good for the day and ready for the problems of life. Mahatma Gandhi followed his inner voice and evolved from an ordinary lawyer to a world-revered Mahatma.He made prayer an essential part of his daily routine.Let us all meditate and pray regularly and usher in our individual and collective happiness.
Epilogue: Parting Words.
In this little book, we pondered over thirty steps, which if practised regularly every day can give us peace and happiness. It may be difficult to act on all these suggestions at once. Take up the easy ones first and put them into action by daily practice.Any journey begins with a single step in the right direction.The road will not be easy; you will have problems and hick-ups but do not give up or panic. Continue the journey with full faith in the God within you. He will provide the solution. What if the journey remains incomplete and you cannot reach the summit? Do not worry about such eventualities; it is God‟s job to look after our well-being. Further, it is not obligatory to follow only the steps I suggested in the book to the exclusion of everything else.No, I do not claim any monopoly in regards to this knowledge. Like you all, I am a traveller along the path of happiness.I have not reached the peak. You are free to make any changes in the program to suit your nature. For nobody can claim to know you better than yourself. These pages are borne out of personal experience, some deep thinking about life and some inspiration from my „inner director‟.God always rewards sincere efforts. This much we can be sure of.You may alter the ideas and add or alter them to suit your convenience.Our aim is individual and collective happiness of all human beings-even all living beings.I end this book with a little prayer :
Request to God.
In our life, O God, alight; Make things a little more bright. Let orphans laugh with delight; Bring some sense into the elite. Nothing is hidden from your sight; From gigantic to the slight. Hold us all in thy embrace tight; Be they black, brown, yellow or white. May imaginations soar fantastic flight; And happiness become a human highlight.
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