Every man wants to be happy, but few men are really happy. Why is it so? It is because we do not always get what we want. Not only so, but there may also be some wrong in our wanting too. Our knowledge is limited, and we cannot foresee everything. And so, what we think a source of pleasure today may be a source of pain tomorrow.
Some men think that wealth is the source of happiness. A wealthy man can buy enjoyment with his money. It is partially true, If the man is of ill health, he cannot take all sorts of enjoyment according to his sweet will. He may have no material wants, but he has no physical capacity to enjoy those elements. And what about a man of health and wealth? Wealth may lead him to a luxurious life. But is that all? Is luxury the goal of life? Some thoughtless people may think so. But a man with some nobler parts cannot deem it right. Once Swami Vivekananda said a perfect man is more valuable than all the wealth of the world. On the contrary, a devil with all his riches may destroy not only his human parts but his surroundings too.
Moreover, wealthy people may not enjoy peace of mind for various reasons. They always hanker after more wealth. They have worries of mind. Wealth cannot remove them. Sometimes they suffer from anxieties as regards the protection of their wealth. And sometimes this wealth may lead them to the path of vice. All these rob them of their mental peace. However, most people think that money is necessary to lead a happy life.
On the other hand, some puritans think that poor men are happy because they have not the worries and anxieties of rich men. But this is a romantic concept. In the practical world, poor men have wanted and they cannot live in comfort. They always have to think about how to properly maintain their family. Not only that, they sometimes aspire for riches though they cannot have it. And this robs them of their peace of mind, and they cannot be happy.
Thus we see neither wealth nor poverty can give us real happiness. It is contentment that gives us true happiness. A contented man does not grumble with what he has. He is not worried even if he is poor. He may have many kinds of wants, but that does not deprive him of his peace of mind. But such contented men are very rare nowadays.
Under such circumstances what should we do? Though contentment is the source of happiness, we should not live an idle life of inactivity. We are not saints or yogis. We are worldly creatures. We should try to attain a fair standard of living with a spirit of contentment. We require money, but earning money should not be the be-all and end-all of our life because money is not the only honey of life. We shall try to face sorrows and sufferings with the firm determination to overcome them. Thus we will have the satisfaction of leading a happy life within our means.