Thoughts

Whither life!

Can we stop a bit and have a critical look on the way we are leading our lives? No prizes to guess that the basic drive of our life is experience of happiness. No action is undertaken by us with an intention to invite misery. The sole driving factor of our actions is acquisition of happiness.

We rely on the understanding that happiness comes from different sources. We intuitively believe that there are numerous avenue of experience of happiness. It is also common knowledge that one can enjoy happiness only when one has that particular avenue of experience under his control. Based on these two beliefs, namely the existence of happiness embedded in different avenues and the possibility of experience thereof only after possession of that avenue, we lead ourselves to two primary endeavours in life. They are acquisition and enjoyment. We put whole lot of effort to acquire that avenue of experience and thereafter we enjoy the experience that comes from that avenue.

One lives life just like that. Busy day in and day out to gather as many avenues as possible and then enjoying the resultant experience of happiness. He acquires material objects, family, children, wealth. He does charity, helps others etc. He does religious worship etc. Underlying all these activities, there is simple principle, acquire as many avenues as possible so that you may enjoy them.

Basic presumption of life thus postulates happiness to be directly proportional to number of avenues in the control of individual and capacity to enjoy the experience resulting therefrom.

Given this general and universal way of living life, let us pause for a moment and analyse this whole endeavour of humanity. Let us dissect this entire intuitive behaviour.

No happiness comes from mere possession of avenues of happiness. Happiness comes only when there is a contact. Contact between one’s instruments and the avenues. Contact of this material body with material objects viz. delicious food for tongue, beautiful scenes for eyes, wonderful touches for the body etc. Contact of mind with wonderful emotions i.e. the contact of mind with emotions of love, charity, respect etc. Contact of intellect with wonderful intellectual theories etc.

Thus it takes no great logic to understand that the whole endeavour of life materialises only when there is a contact of instruments (body, mind, intellect) with the objects (objects, emotions, thoughts). As long as the contact remains, happiness remains. Contact goes, happiness goes. To experience that particular happiness, we have to go to the same contact-based event again and again. And thus, for our entire life, though we may seem to be doing so many different things, essentially we are doing the same thing again and again.

We notice that this contact has a particular nature. It is spatial and temporal. We saw that the experience of happiness is the effect of contact. And this contact is temporal. Therefore, it follows that the resultant experience of happiness too is temporal. It exists only for a finite time. If you want to experience it again, you need to go back to same contact-based event. And to ensure the availability of that contact, you require wealth. And hence wealth becomes the most important possession. Not because it is valuable per se, but because it ensures the availability of contact, which according to our intuitive presumption is the cause of happiness.

But is contact really a source of happiness? It is intuitively and experientially clear to one and all that yes, it is. But can we pause a bit and question this intuitive presumption?

The question is useful because it has the potential to fundamentally alter the way in which we lead our life.

Hint: Gita Chapter 5, Verse 21.

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