The inspiration for the talk was that the UN has declared March 20 each year as the International Day of Happiness. Most people think that by seeking out something I consider desirable that is situated outside of myself (some object, experience, relationship, etc.,) and pulling that in close to myself, I can experience happiness. But lasting happiness is not acquired like this, it is “an inside job”. It requires our conscious participation. It doesn’t “just happen” to us.
The mad rush to endlessly consume products and experiences does not only not fulfill or satisfy us, but it also robs us of our intelligence and peace. The Vedas directly tie the experience of happiness to peace or peacefulness.
Author and Economist E. F. Schumacher concurs and states: “ I suggest that the foundations of peace cannot be laid by universal prosperity, in the modem sense, because such prosperity, if attainable at all, is attainable only by cultivating such drives of human nature as greed and envy, which destroy intelligence, happiness, serenity, and thereby the peacefulness of man.”
These were some of the verses I quoted which are really good to reflect or meditate on:
Bg. 2.70 – A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires-that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still – can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.
Bg 18.36 – O best of the Bhāratas, now please hear from Me about the three kinds of happiness by which the conditioned soul enjoys, and by which he sometimes comes to the end of all distress.
Bg 18.37 – That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.
Bg 18.38 – That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion.
Bg 18.39 – And that happiness which is blind to self-realization, which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises from sleep, laziness and illusion is said to be of the nature of ignorance.