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The pursuit of happiness

While running after ?success? we seem to have forgotten what happiness is.

india Updated: May 15, 2006 12:37 IST

Life in the fast lane has taken away the simple joy of living from us. While running after ‘success’ we seem to have forgotten what happiness is.

The accumulated wealth and the achieved ‘targets’ have failed to give man satisfaction. We do have our fleeting moments of pleasure but the sense of contentment remains elusive. In the quest for mental peace man is willing to try out new fads but often, they fail to provide lasting happiness. At best they are distractions that take your mind off the real problem temporarily.

The general perception seems to be that happiness comes from wealth and your progeny, hence we see people hankering for them. Some of us go to any length to acquire riches using fair means and foul with equal aplomb. But if we want eternal joy we have to delve deeper. The innate desire to have children may have something to do with the preservation of the species but surely the purpose is not to provide unremitting happiness.

Numerous tales of old parents will testify to this statement. Children may give a sense of fulfillment but they do not guarantee happiness. So, could it be that we are searching for joy in the wrong place? If we look again, it may appear so.

The real clue to happiness can be found in various old scriptures. For instance the Quran calls wealth and progeny Fitna (15/28) which like many Arabic words has several meanings but none of them allude to happiness or contentment even remotely. The word means trial, source of mischief, test and so on. Elsewhere, the Quran says, ‘Without doubt, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction’ (28/13).

We have to ponder over this profound statement in the light of life experiences. We will then realize that we are chasing happiness where it does not exist. Obviously it will remain a mirage. By remembering God and there are different ways to do so, you remain connected to the real Source from which flow all the bounties, including eternal bliss.