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Affluence Cannot Bring Lasting Happiness

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by cheer, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. cheer

    cheer Silver IL'ite

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    Affluence Cannot Bring Lasting Happiness</ARTTITLE>
    Satyendra Garg

    The other day I came across an interesting report that despite earning lots of money people in affluent countries are insecure and depressed.

    Oliver James, a psychologist, during his research found that two-thirds of Britons believed that they cannot afford to buy everything they really need. Though the average income of a British citizen is nearly £23,000 per year, about 50 per cent of people who earned more than £35,000 and about 40 per cent of those who earned more than £50,000 per year felt that they did not have enough money to buy things they need.

    The psychologist went on to say that this perception promoted selfishness and left people feeling bored, empty and lonely.

    The article reminded me of the deep insight enshrined in our scriptures. In Srimad Bhagavatam we come across Yayati who was ruler of a large kingdom with all material resources at his command.

    He married Devyani, daughter of a renowned sage, Sukracharya. According to legend he was cursed for his infidelity and was made prematurely old and infirm.

    When he begged for forgiveness, he was told that if somebody willingly exchanged his youth with his old age he could regain his youth.

    When four of his sons declined to exchange their youth for their father's old age the fifth and youngest son who was aware of the inadequacy and futility of sense enjoyment obliged Yayati and agreed to his request.

    Youthful once again, Yayati continued his sense enjoyment spree for one thousand years. Still unsatisfied, he craved for more.

    Fortunately for him wisdom dawned on him and he realised that if sensual enjoyment which he had continued for thousand years could not satisfy him, how was it possible that this will be able to satisfy him in future.

    On reflection he realised the futility of material and sensual desires and he made up his mind to leave his kingdom and abjure sense enjoyments.

    He told his wife Devyani that even if one got all the material wealth of the world — food grains, gold and precious metals, and cattle — this will not satisfy the greed of even one single person who is driven by desire for sensual cravings.

    In modern parlance it could include money, electronic gadgets, land, shares and all other desirable things. So if the researcher finds that despite having £50,000 as annual income and having all modern gadgets, people are not satisfied and they feel they need more money, it is true that even if one is given the entire wealth of the world one will not be satisfied.

    Yayati goes on to explain as to why this happens. He says that with every additional sense enjoyment the desire for the same becomes more.

    The more you enjoy, the cravings become more. For the same level of satisfaction, you need more sense indulgence and because one gets satisfaction from every indulgence, one indulges more.

    And the vicious cycle goes on. Yayati quotes the example of fire and ghee. He says that with every additional pouring of clarified butter in the form of sense enjoyment the fire of sensual desire grows fiercer and fiercer.

    By indulgence one can never quench the thirst of sensual urge. Only if one realises this and gives up this insatiable sense craving, can one achieve that inner satisfaction which leads to bliss and eternal happiness.

  2. meenu

    meenu Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Cheer,
    Contentment and simplicity alone brings peace of mind and consequently happiness and relaxation
  3. kanaka

    kanaka Bronze IL'ite

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    This is applicable more to U.S than any other nation in the world.
    There was an article by an artist in "Malayalam Mathrubhumi" magazine about his trip to USA,as an invitee for a painting exhibition.During the course of his stay in US, the writer was invited by an American counterpart for a dinner session at his mansion
    :wink: But there was something unusual in that mansion. The basement of his house was full with antiques tracing the lineage of the original native inhabitants. ( This is something which would surprise any one including you and me.)
    As the writer went round looking at the various sculpture, the host started saying"Sir, consider this as an atonement for treatment meted out to our ancestors whom we considered "Barbarians" and nomads. Hardly we understood the great contributions of our ancestors. The Red Indians were far superior in culture. There is no parallel to the Mayan Civilisation in the American history. Had we not killed them, for no reason? If you think very seriously, you will admit we have no tradition of our own. We have borrowed a Mother Tongue which is alien. It is our rootlessness which has made the American society frustrated, discontented amidst the so called "Affluence".Our materialistic life gives no permanent happiness.
    As the host finished his narration( the writer says) he was choked with emotion.
    Then later on the dinner was just a ritual, for it was a silent communication of two hearts-One craving for the lost era and the other one(The Indian artist) reflecting over his GREAT NATION'S past, his ancestors,the great philosophy left by his forefathers.
    As I write this I feel proud of my country's"Lasting happiness amidst deprived materialistic affluence. kanaka "If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully develpoed some of its choicest gifts,
    Has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life,and has found solutions of some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who studied Plato and Kant- - - - - I SHOULD POINT TO INDIA". Max Muller.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2007
    1 person likes this.

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