The world is full of miseries. It is natural that a man with life passes through both the phases of happiness and sorrow, relief and tension, co-operation and conflict, firmness and confusion, enmity, jealousy, sadness and friendship, pleasure and happiness while being a member of the society. Being a social animal he cannot in any case leave the society. He craves for happiness but the nature, causes and impact of that happiness differs from one individual to another. It is because of the different nature of social relationship of an individual with the society.
Happiness can be acquired temporarily by adopting falsehood, lies, deceits and other anti-social ways. But one needs permanent happiness. Though different individuals want different sorts of happiness method and strategy of acquiring happiness yet the goal is the same. Vedantic philosophy'sapproach is different from that of the western and Greek philosophers. Aristotle treats society as the core thing to attain happiness. ?Man comes into existence for the sake of life, but continues to exist for the sake of good life,? he opined. He talks of a life which is noble and believes in co-existence. But he does not tell us the way to have a good life. Bentham divides the results of interacting variables of life into pleasure and pain and based his entire philosophy on only one issue that man desires happiness. It may be permanent or temporary. Smiles in his work entitled ?How to Win Friends? indirectly hints at acquiring happiness in a normal way, but in his work on ?self culture? he stresses on the need of having self imposed discipline. Even TH Green talks of ?consciousness? which postulates liberty and retention of a state, a disciplined society.
The present work, though written by a American, is based on Vedantic society as explained by Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Dr S Radhakrishnan, Swami Yogananda and many other scholars who talked of permanent happiness. One can feel happy and then sad or vice-versa with the changing times. One changes his attitude with social and circumstantial change which would not be there if one links his life to spirituality. The challenges of modern society have multiplied with modern life. If one wants to face the challenges to modern life one should adopt the path of spirituality. The author starts with the basic issue of habit and develops it into changing through sanskaras of family. He further develops it on its interactions with feelings, beliefs and desires. Further interplay of environment and individual with habits and differentiation of helpful and unhelpful habits as practised by people have been discussed in a very simple and lucid style. The other variables, like guilt, confession embarrassment, sorrow, despair, hatered pleasure, pain and anger and the method of shunning it, have been discussed in a psychological way. He also feels that while interplaying, be objective should be pleasure to all and pain to none. Forgiveness benefits the forgive since it frees the inner self from fear and anger.? There is a need to develop scientific temper. There is a need to have a middle path between religion, materialism and superstition. Tolerance is one of the means to get permanent happiness. It is a matter of cultivating self and to find a right doctrine.
The author has analytically discussed this problem of getting permanent happiness by interacting with social variables like regionalism, religion, secularism and psychological variables like skills, methodology, sentinel temper, ego, ambition, social relationship, taboos etc. It is based on Indian cultural methods of attaining permanent happiness through spirituality. Various skills have been discussed in six parts. Various variables like habits and interactions with social changes and further with basic skills to attain permanent skills have been discussed in an excellent way. The work is based on logic, simple language and style and is understandable.
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