The secret to happiness is surprisingly simple

Happiness is not found out there in the world; it's found in your own heart and mind

Man kneeling down and praying

People often ask me, “Do you think it is possible for anyone to lead a peaceful life during these troubled times?” My reply is, “It is not only possible; it is your birthright. Yes, ananda, bliss, the peace that passeth, nay, surpasseth understanding is your birthright! You are a child of God—and He is the source of eternal bliss, unending bliss.”

The moment you realise that you are a child of God, you will let nothing affect you. All you need to do is forget yourself—and realise your true self as a child of God. When we forget this outer self and transcend the phenomenal, material world, we draw closer to the real, inner self, which is peace.

What is peace?

I may tell you what peace is in many words, but all descriptions will fail to make you understand it until you have felt peace in your heart. Like love, peace must be felt.

Many of us often ask ourselves, “Why is there no peace in our hearts?” God has blessed us abundantly; we live in comfortable homes; we eat good food; we have enough money to spend on necessities as well as a few luxuries. Why, then, does peace elude us?

A few days ago, a woman from Mumbai came to meet me. She belonged to a well-known and well-to-do family. She requested for a private meeting with me; and when I met her, she began to shed tears. She said: “Dada, there is one thing that I can’t come to terms with. I have money aplenty; there are servants to carry out my every bidding; we have several cars and bungalows; my children are very attached to me and pay attention to my every need and comfort. And yet—and yet, I know not why I am so unhappy! I feel so depressed that quite often I shut myself in my room and weep bitterly. I cry out to God in grief and frustration, ‘Lord, why is it thus with me?’ For God has given me everything—except happiness. Why, Dada, why is this so?”

All the comfort is not enough

This is the condition of many of us. We have everything we need—and we are still unhappy. What is the reason of this pervasive unhappiness in the world? Friends, the key to happiness is peace of mind. He who is blessed with peace of mind is always happy—even if he is penniless and he owns nothing in this world. Saints, great souls and renunciates have nothing to call their own; yet they are radiantly happy. Such was the dervish who said: “Nothing in the morn have I and nothing do I have at night. Yet there is none on earth happier than I!”

Lord Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: “Arjuna, ashantasya kutah sukham? If man is not at peace with himself, how can he be happy?” The key to happiness indeed, the secret of true happiness is peace of mind. There is one way of achieving peace of mind. That is to attain the realisation that all that happens, happens according to the will of God.

God’s plans are perfect

Gurudev Sadhu Vaswani used to tell us, “God upsets our plans to set up His own. And His plans are always perfect.” If I have the faith that whatever has happened to me is according to the plan of the Highest, that there is some hidden good in it for me, I will not be upset! Gurudev also used to say, “Every disappointment is His appointment. And He knows best.”

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Once you realise this, there is no more frustration, no more unhappiness. You abide in a state of tranquillity and peace. You may not be able to achieve this straight away. It is a process through which you must move. There are so many situations and circumstances in life that shatter our peace. But how long can we allow ourselves to wallow in sorrow and self-pity? The call of life is Onward, Forward, Godward! Men may come and men may go, but life goes on forever! Lives may come to an end, but life on earth must go on!


This article first appeared in the December 2015 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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