Skip to content

Category: happiness

Happy painting

If you had to draw happiness, what would it look like?

A lot of money? Happy people everywhere? An island paradise with clear blue waters? Lounging by the beach? No more office or work, ever?

This is what it looks like according to an interesting forward I got from WA University (yes, you know which one!). Apparently this was drawn by Turkish artist Abidin Dino. He drew a picture of a whole family. All cramped up on a broken bed, under a leaky roof in a shabby room. Still with a smile on each member’s face!

I can’t see any money or tropical beaches here. Well worth pondering over, for me.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Freuden Schaden – part 2 of 2

While schadenfreude we (now) know, it also has a happier cousin, called freudenfreud. What is this?

Enjoying someone else’s success or happiness is what is referred to as “freudenfreude” by social scientists. This term, derived from the German word for joy, refers to the happiness we experience when someone else achieves something, even if it has no direct impact on us. According to psychologists, freudenfreude acts like a social bonding agent, making relationships more enjoyable and intimate.

Some call this positive empathy, ie. the ability to feel and experience someone else’s positive emotions.

Studies have shown that experiencing freudenfreude can foster strong relationships and increase our sense of belonging. For example, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that people who experienced freudenfreude in response to their friends’ successes reported higher levels of life satisfaction and more meaningful relationships.

This is all no different from what the Gita or my Guru says. Just live for others, and dedicate our lives to helping those around us.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Avec plaisir

This is the French way of saying “with pleasure”.

“Will you be able to help me with this please?”

“Oh mais oui, avec plaisir!”

That’s all the French I know, but the word plaisir triggered a thought about what the great Swami Chinmayananda once said in response to a question.

A devotee asked him why he was unable to be happy.

Pat came Swami C’s reply, “Because you think you are happy, and looking for happiness, but actually all you are looking for is pleasure.”

Pleasure comes from ephemeral things. Happiness or the true state of Ananda is a permanent state, and cannot be linked to material temporary objects.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment


How can a comedy be a tragedy? We just need to look at our own lives and the lives of others around us. Everything we experience is a karmic cycle, or maybe even a karmic circus.

We hear or see something terrible. Somebody lost their child to an unfortunate accident, or their own limbs, or lost all their money, or their reputation. All sorts of unbelievable unimaginable things are happening around us. This is the tragedy.

Every Guru and Saint and realized master and spiritual expert realizes that everything is action = reaction. Nothing is without consequence. Today’s eaten becomes tomorrow’s eater, who then becomes day after’s eaten and so on.

Today’s alarming tragedy hence when seen from a detached vantage point, is some play of karma only. We see disasters all around us, and yet we behave like we are immune, constantly taking, taking and taking more.

When and how will be restore the karmic balance this way? What if our karmic store of goodness, runs out? We act without realizing that there is no perfect-er accountant and re-balancer that Creation. This is the tragicomedy.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Sad happiness

My neighbour’s 8 month old baby becomes incredibly happy when she sees me. Her smile is a mile-wide, each and every time!

My Guru’s smile is also a mile-wide, each time he sees me. It’s as if he was waiting all day eagerly to see me, even though I am a nobody. He does this for every single person, no matter who they are.

There is so much happiness in this that all sadness and all irritants in life are forgotten. These are cases of happiness instantly infusing happiness into others. But do we practise this ourselves?

Typically when we see happiness around us, we become sad. Really? We do? Think of a peer getting an early promotion and a solid bonus. Could have been ours, but wasn’t, and then jealousy kicks in. We may smile on the outside, but deep down the emotions are different.

As long as our happiness is linked to a material pursuit, this will always be the case. We will either want to immediately possess the same material item or else become upset.

But happiness is neither a thing nor linked to one. It is an infinite resource, and comes from celebrating eveything life has to offer. Today’s failure is a seed for tomorrow’s success, and today’s success is a seed for tomorrow’s failure. If we can accept this, we can each be forever-happy-now!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Biggie wiggie

Big is eveything. The more the merrier. The grander the better.

All of human life seems to revel in the grandiose.

More money, more fame, more partying, more socializing, more work, more bonus, more holidaying, more promotions.

But “more” is relative, and limitless. And we tie our happiness to this word.

Then how can we ever be happy?

For happiness, less is more. Even zilch is more. The more we give the happier we become. Helping others with zero expectations, being kind to animals, conducting oneself with humility, doing one’s duty with sincerity, protecting our gift of Mother Nature, living with fellow human beings in loving togetherness – these are the simple yet essential requirements for happiness prescribed by the ancients. Not biggie wiggie, but smallie wallie.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Learning from who(m)… Part 2 of 3

Continuing the learnings of Sage Dattatreya who in turn learned from observing nature…

5. From fire, he learned austerity, as the flame of self knowledge burns away all desires

6. From the moon that waxes and wanes, he learned that the Self is complete and changeless, but seems to be transforming to the undiscerning eye

7. From the sun, he learned that like the sun is reflected in many pots of water, the atman appears as manifold displays when reflected in the mind

8. From birds, he learned of the dangers of getting attached, as the entire family of birds were trapped, no different from man being trapped in the entangling web of maya

Continued and concluded tomorrow!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Learning from who(m)… Part 1 of 3

In the Bhagavad Purana, King Yadu is perturbed by his father Yayati’s decision to renounce kingship. So Yadu goes to a forest and meets a realized soul there, an avadhuta, none other than the great Dattatreya.

What he is surprised by more than anything else is how happy this carefree man of the forest is. The Guru then proceeds to tell the King to learn from nature itself. He then explains how he got self realization by observing nature and its teachers. A quick summary follows:

1. From the earth, the quality of patience, forbearance and doing good to others

2. From air, the value of non-attachment and freedom

3. From the sky, the expansive nature of the Self, which is untouched by any object

4. From water, the quality of purity and coolness

More tomorrow…

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Short and sweet

ForeverHappyNow blogs are always short. Sweet, I don’t know. Depends on the mood I suppose, of the writer, the reader, the environment, the circumstances, you name it.

And these mood swings are common to one and all, except the Guru perhaps. We each go through so many positive and negative emotions, always with ourselves in the center. What if this, what if that, am I capable, am I good, am I liked, am I strong, will I be successful, will I be rich etc etc?

Swami Vivekananda has something short and sweet to say:

All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; do not beleive that you are half-crazy lunatics. You can do anything and everything, without even the guidance of anyone. Stand up and express the divinity within you. 

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Love and happiness?

When you see an animal that is hurt, do you feel sorry for it? Do you try to help it? Or do you pelt it with stones? Harming an innocent animal may not even occur to most of us, and yet there are people (and kids) who take pride in causing such harm. Maybe it shows some false sense of being in control?

How abnout removing stones on the path to prevent some bare feet from getting hurt? Or to remove a nail from the road to prevent a tyre puncture? This is all nothing but being sensitive, being attuned to the needs of others, as the great Jiddu Krishnamurthy would say.

This set of feelings for those around us, is not coming because these other people are ours, but because we are aware of the divinity and beauty inside everything.

Love is being sensitive to others. Doing things for others, irrespective of what others may do back, no different from what a mother does for her baby. When the heart is filled with love and affection, it becomes happy. And this happiness itself is nothing but God.

Love = happiness = God

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

ABCD people

A famous investor recounted his mother’s teaching on a podcast recently. Some parents are all about the marks and ranks for their kids. Others are a little more hands-off.

Said investor’s mother was cut from the second cloth. This was her thought process:

If A is the top ranked kid in school, and D is the bottom ranked kid, this is what will happen in (real) life.

The As work for the Bs. The Cs run companies, while the Ds have buildings dedicated to them.


Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Special generalist

The Vibhuti Yoga chapter 10 in the Gita is truly special.

It starts off with the Lord giving examples of his manifestation in Creation. He gives 54 such examples, like Om, Sri Rama, Prahalada, Kamadhenu and others.

But the best example is towards the end of the chapter, where the Lord talks about Himself as being the Ultimate Vibhuti. How so? Because there is nothing else besides him!

Those who fight over the supremacy of their God over other’s Gods, would be reminded by Krishna that there is only God and nothing but God.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Angry turd

No one likes angry people. Except the angry ones themselves, who feel great, in the heat of the moment. And these angry people aren’t other people, but rather each one of us, and specifically me. Guilty as charged folks!

It’s not necessary that angry people only show their anger outwardly. Sometimes the rage can be simmering on the inside for a very long time. One day that volcano might erupt.

What’s the opposite of being angry? One would say it is being peaceful. Maybe, but while being angry is seen as being active and assertive, being peaceful is seen as being passive and suppressed.

That can’t be further than the truth. Being peaceful is a positive and active state of consciousness. True strength is when our inner peace is completely unruffled, no matter what the external stimulus is.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Remembrance when?

Sant Kabir has this amazing couplet:

Dukh me sumiran sab kare, Sukh me kare na koi
Jo sukh sumiran kare, Dukh kahe ko hoye kabi

When do people look to the heavens? Only when things are going wrong of course.

Sant Kabir says, that if we remember God when we are happy instead, then there will be no sorrow in the first place!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

The root cause of all problems

One of the most iconic and revered money managers of all time is Charlie Munger. He is better known as the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which is the conglomerate run by another billionaire investor Warren Buffet.

Warren is 92 years old, while Charlie is 98, and so both these men have seen pretty much everything there is to see, from a life point of view.

In a recent speech, Charlie noted something very profound. He said that humanity’s problems do not stem from greed. Rather, they stem from envy.

We just need to think a little about this to understand it’s significance. In absolute terms, all of the world’s human beings are better off today than say a 100 years ago. Many essentials of today like gadgets and appliances and healthcare and peace so on were luxuries even just a century ago. But why are we still not happy, despite being better off?

The answer is because everyone else is also better off. We are not better off than others. The mind always wants to compare and see if we have won, if we are ahead, if we own more. Envy is the name of the game. Envy is also the thief of happiness.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

CWG – part 2

Adversity is a good thing not a bad thing. Problems aren’t bad, they’re good, because they help us grow and evolve into better human beings. We don’t need to actively seek problems out, but if they come our way, we needn’t lose our minds.

In the recent Commonwealth Games, the weightlifting gold winner in one of the categories had faced unbelievable adversity. His father died when he was 10, and the man had been a rickshaw puller – so it’s not like he left his family rich. The boy worked as a farm labourer and a part time embroidery worker, eventually getting to weightlifting gold. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard that journey would have been.

Other medalists had parents who were paan sellers, tea sellers, lorry drivers, landless farmers and the like. Such a hard upbringing.

Having too much can be a bad thing. Check out this tweet.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

The essence of Krishna

Krishna tells us to do and follow a lot of things via the Gita. But here’s how Krishna himself followed these (suggested) rules in such a cool manner:

  1. He is always cheerful. His life has been one chock a block full of problems – demons, enemies, asuras, his own people, his birth itself into a poor family etc. But he is ever smiling, even on the Kurukshetra battlefield!
  2. He has zero expectations. Why did the Pandavas fight the war? To get back their kingdom. Why did the Kauravas fight the war? To retain the kingdom they had usurped. Why did Krishna fight the war? Only for dharma, as he would have got no material possession either by winning or losing the war.
  3. He exemplified non-attachment. He was born in Mathura, raised in Vrindavan, lived later in Dwarka. He never kept cribbing that he misses his home town and that he wants to go back. So many people come and go from his life but he was always unattached.
  4. He personifies love. Never once would he not come to the rescue of his devotees.

Krishna led by example. We must only try to follow whatever little we can.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Directionless or wrong direction?

Many of us feel like we do a lot. Yet all this doing doesn’t seem to give us the mental peace and happiness we expect to find. Why is this?

Maybe it’s because we don’t have our priorities straight?

Despite knowing what is important and what isn’t (like family time needs to be balanced with work time), I’ve often found myself slipping one way or the other.

Much of the slipping probably happens because of the need for external validation. I’m unsure of what my action or decision will lead to, especially if it’s an uncommon one. And so I’d rather look at what others are saying, going to say, thinking, going to think – about me! Really? Is anyone thinking about you/me/us? How much are we thinking of others?

A lovely quote I came across is on Mahatma Gandhi’s suggestion for getting to that happy state.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

This alignment, irrespective of what the external world thinks, could be the answer to internal peace.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Water from where?

Imagine you had a bucket of the world’s purest water. Life-giving, disease-healing, magically-energizing water. And then you put just one teenie-weenie drop of toilet water into it. Would you drink this water?

Absolutely not, right?

This is the outstanding example my Guru keeps giving at every opportunity.

He says that all the bad news and bad events in our lives – like someone died, someone fell ill, you lost your job, you didn’t get the promotion or bonus you were looking for, someone spoke something harsh against you and so on and so forth – that all these would take up just maybe a few days of bad feelings at most.

What do we do though? We spend weeks, months, years and sometimes our entire lives in mental anguish, stress, regret, sorrow and worse. In an otherwise perfect life, we have introduced a few drops of toilet water.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Mental case

Troubled by stress, anxiety and tension? You are not alone.

How to keep these at bay? By not worrying about what will happen. We know this.

The only thing that differentiates each one of us, and especially those who take a lot of tension versus those who don’t, is their state of mind once a problem has been revealed to them.

Maybe you found out that you need to make a presentation in front of a 1000-people audience, and you just detest the idea. But you need to do it, because that is your job.

The chilled out guy is not worried, because he knows he anyway has to present to that large group, so why worry? Besides, he has faced several tough situations before, and he’s still alive, and so he has faith in himself and/or at least in a higher power to help guide him.

Often it’s not the fear of actually presenting that is the cause of worry, but the fear of underperformance. That people will laugh. That I’d make a fool of myself, and be relegated to YouTube’s Greatest Fools’ Hall of Fame top list. The reality is that no one cares, because everyone is too busy worrying about themselves.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment