According to an Eastern tale, a king, who failed to find happiness, sought the advice of his courtiers. The wise ones advised of his courtiers. The wise ones advised him to wear the shirt of a happy man.so, soldiers were sent all over the country to fetch a happy man’s shirt. Though the man met many people who had shirts, none of these people were happy. The story concludes that finally when they managed to find a happy man, it turned out that he had no shirt. The tale, of course, is not meant to be taken literally: yet the sagacity it implies is significant.
It is hard to decide what makes a happy life for we cannot agree on a definition of happiness that is acceptable to all. One man’s idea of a happy life will be entirely different from another man’s and what a third man considers being a happy life may be acceptable neither to the first nor to the second. The attempt to decide what a happy life is reminds me of the five blind men who tried to find the shape of an elephant.
Before we try to decide what makes a happy life, we have to be quite precise and specific what type of happiness we aim to achieve or what is our ultimate goal. For example, there is a sort of happiness aimed by those who free themselves from all worldly entanglements. This kind of people believe that desire for wealth and material pleasures is the root of all discontent; they hold that as long as one runs after wealth and material pleasures one cannot achieve happiness in life. Theoretically, it stands to reason that as long as they are unfulfilled desires and thwarted ambitions there will be discontent and hence unhappiness. The mean, median and mode man will find small-scaled happiness in a life in which he has nothing that he can call his own. Besides, when you have nothing to endeavor for, then do you consider your life to be worthy? So, as far as the vastness of humanity is concerned, the “happiness” derived from a complete absence of wealth and material pleasures are no happiness at all.
When we try to find out what material conditions and pleasure can create the contentment that results in happiness, we will be forced to admit that can be on a common standard to decide this. Few of the people might consider wealth as their first priority of these conditions, but others may have different opinions. Once again, vouch-safe wealth is one of the main reasons for happiness; we will find it very much hard to reply to the question how much of it is needed to make a happy life and wonderful from every perspective. This will apply to all the others factors that one can think of. Health, fame, security in life, education and social position- all or some of these may be enumerated as factors essential to a happy life. How much of each of these is needed to make a life happy and to what extent happiness is achieved? For all these, there cannot be one universal measure. So it is fruitless to even try to give a single answer to the question: what makes a happy life?
For the reason that all the material factors that contribute to a happy life may fail to produce happiness if the individual concerned is not contented with what he has it may appear that this feeling of contentment is the most decisive factor in the making of a happy life. The story of the meeting of Alexander the Great, with the Greek philosopher Diogenes, brings out the conflict between the two views on happiness. The philosopher wanted to show the foolishness of the Great Conqueror’s soaring ambition. “After you have conquered Athens,
“asked the philosopher, “what then?”
“I will conquer Persia”
‘And after Persia?”
“I will conquer Egypt”
“And after Egypt?”
“I will conquer the world.”
“And after you have conquered the world?”
“I will take it easy and enjoy myself.”
“Then why?” asked the philosopher, “can’t you take it easy and enjoy yourself now?”
Wisdom lies in choosing a sensible mean between the two. It is namby-pamby to run away from life and live like a troglodyte. At the same time, to run ceaselessly panting after that pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow that always evades you is fill your cup with tears and sorrow. One should take life easily and at a leisurely stride. As the “Lotus Eaters” asked, “why should we work throughout our life?” this type of perspective and ego may enable one to achieve a certain measure of happiness all that is needed is that mental capacity to feel contented with one’s lot in life, whatever it be. It may be asked in the face of the harsh realities of life, when invincible obstacles shake one’s ambitions when one’s cherished hopes and desires burst like light bubbles as if by the pin-pricks of a malign fate, is it humanly possible to feel gratified and wind oneself in happy and positive thoughts? Well, I do not know; all I am certain is that nothing can make our life happy unless you know how to feel happy. To be happy is something your choice. No one is going to decide for you the ways which will lead you to the destination of happiness.