Principles of Happy Living
Principle One: Nothing in the world exists for itself
When we look around we find that rivers don't drink their own water, trees do not eat their own fruits. The chair we sit on, the bed we sleep on, the hours we live in, in fact, nothing exists for itself. The heat and light of the mighty sun, the bounties of mother earth, the treasures of the ocean, nothing is meant for its own use. Human beings take in oxygen from air and exhale carbon dioxide, which is inhaled by plants. One finds inter-connectedness and inter-dependence everywhere.
Serve others and in the process, you will get served. Just as the rivers, trees and elements of nature have been sustaining and serving humanity since eternity, we also must learn to serve each other. When we give selflessly, even if we do not expect any return, we are destined to reap the reward of such an action because the law of karma stipulates that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Principle Two : You can't actually own anything; you can just use it
A little reflection will reveal the fallacy of the common belief that we can own material objects of this world. The sense of ownership, which people have on possessing, legal titles only gives illusory satisfaction. When the 'owner' leaves the body then all proof of ownership becomes worthless. The possessions that were owned by the former person are then used by others. Hence, ownership of everything, including the physical body, which we call 'mine', is an illusion. Everything that we use can never be owned but only be best used as a trustee.
The concept of ownership results in the vice of attachment. People become possessive about objects and relationships trying to control and manipulate them for their selfish needs. It becomes and obsession for some and then the very things or people whom they try to secure for happiness become a bondage and hurt both the 'owner' and the 'owned' object or person. Moreover, attachment leads to the fear of loss and consequently, sufferings. Actually, we can merely use our possessions and resources according to our entitlement as per the Law of Karma. The false notion of ownership also leads to the vice of greed and wrongful actions to acquire more and more.
Principle Three: Mere possession of material objects does not lead to happiness
It is a fact that physical or material objects can be a source of both happiness and suffering. Take for example our body. It can give us joy and happiness and also suffering, sometimes unbearable sufferings, when afflicted by some painful disease or disorder. If accumulation of money or material objects could bring happiness, then rich people with more of these things should have been proportionately happier than their less fortunate brethren. However, if we look at it deeper, the suffering of the millionaire in this case results from his desires of possessing more rather than from the diseased body.
Principle Four: Fortune and happiness depend on accumulated good karma.
Fortune is created by one's own karma. As you sow, so shall you reap. Anything or relationship in this physical world - be it your house, relation, status or health - could become the source of great joy and happiness and also of sorrow and grief, depending on the accumulated stock of good or bad karma. That's why this world is called 'karma kshetra'. One's actions decide the extent to which one enjoys life. A person's entitlement to happiness is based on how good one's actions have been.
Principle Five: Matter is a good servant but a bad master
In order to have the right relationship between the soul and matter, it is important to realize that matter can be a good servant but can never be a good master. When the soui become? a slave to raat.er. it experiences sorrow and when it exercises control over matter as a master, it experiences joy. True happiness and peace therefore come from within. When we learn to use our mind in the right way we will automatically be able to use matter for creating happiness for others and ourselves.
Dr. D. A. Biswas
Prof. & HOD
Dept. of Physiology
J.N. Medical College,